I have a piece of red oak i need to cut some of the width off for the head stock what is the best electric hand saw to use for this?

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Do you have one now? do you have, or have access to a table saw? That would be the best. If using a hand held saw, you need a way to clamp it down so it will not move, and be stable. Please be careful, this can be dangerous!

Anne,

Sorry for chiming in late, work has been eating me up.

If you are cutting short pieces (less than a foot or so) to glue on to the headstock, DO NOT try to use an electric saw.  Short workpieces and electric power are a recipe for emergency room visits.

However, if I am misunderstanding, here is my long answer for cutting longer pieces:

mtfallsmikey is correct in his comment, the best bet for ripping a red oak plank would be a friend with a table saw who knows how to use it (never take kickback lightly!)

If you don't have such a friend (and I am assuming you don't have a tablesaw, or you would just use it), I would suggest getting an inexpensive Japanese-style pull saw from the hardware store.  Use the ripping side of the blade (plain triangles, not the fancy-shaped crosscut teeth on the other side.)  Go slow, and cut outside the line; you can always sand or rasp to the line if your board is still too wide.

However, oak of any sort is no joke to cut with hand tools, so I understand the question about a power saw.

If you insist on an electric hand saw for this task, there are two options, and here are the tradeoffs:

1. Jigsaw (also known as sabre saw)

It will cut slower, but it will be much easier to correct your line as you go.  If it starts to get harder to cut, your blade may be getting dull.  Yes, it is possible to wear out a cheap jigsaw blade in one cut.

2. Circular saw

It will cut much faster, maybe even too fast, and it is very difficult and dangerous to try to correct your line as you cut, especially if you haven't used this saw before.

If it sounds like I am steering you to a jigsaw, you are right.  It can make most cuts a circular saw can, but slower.  It can make some cuts a circular saw never could.  And it is harder to hurt yourself seriously with a jigsaw.  It's a good place to begin.

-Tommy

Thank you guys for the advice... :)

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