Except for being more careful, are there any tips or tricks for preventing the final splitting when using a handsaw?

  • 2
    Can you describe how you're currently doing it, like are you not supporting the waste piece at all at the end of a cut? I presume you're referring to the tearing out that occurs during cross-cutting? If you're also having the problem when ripping please specify.
    – Graphus
    Mar 3, 2019 at 18:20
  • 1
    Yes, details like the saw you are using, its relative condition (as far as you can tell) and the type and direction (cross or rip) you are sawing along with method will make this question answerable. It is currently not answerable.
    – user5572
    Mar 4, 2019 at 14:51
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    @jdv, to be fair I think this is answerwable as you can list all the various tips that help prevent it without it becoming a TL;DR essay. Regardless of when/if the OP returns to clarify I expected to have to list every possible preventive measure anyway some of which are just minor tweaks, others involve doing the cuts in a completely different way. I wanted details of what the OP had tried so far that hadn't been of benefit mostly to see if it amounted to doing nothing, to give a starting point, e.g. if he can't support to offcut with the other hand because it's holding the board down.
    – Graphus
    Mar 5, 2019 at 7:54

2 Answers 2


The simplest is simply to put some masking tape on the exit area. This will (more or less) hold the wood fibers in place and prevent the saw teeth from splitting them off the body of the wood.

However, this will work best for tough woods and sharp, fast saws, since the less stress you put on the fibers the better, and the smaller the cut per tooth the better.

So, depending on your tools and wood, you may need to clamp a piece of scrap backing wood to the exit area. Then the cut at the real piece will be smooth, but you may have tearout on the sacrificial piece - which doesn't matter.

EDIT. There is a third way, but I don't recommend it.

Start a normal cut, and go nearly all the way.

Stop, reverse the wood, and use the kerf to guide the saw in the opposite direction. Continue the cut until partway through the exposed edge.

Now flip the board and make another cut like the second but finish the cut.

In theory, all cuts are made with the surface fibers being pushed into the surface of the wood, and tearout will not occur.

However, there will be opportunities for the edges of the cuts to not line up exactly, leaving an end which is not a smooth surface and which shows the three cuts. This might not be a problem for ends which will not be exposed, but the whole technique is fiddly and I don't recommend it.


When you mark out your cut, sever the fibers with a scratch awl, then chisel a small groove into the waste piece ending at your cut line. If you follow your line, your saw will come out in the groove without tearing out.

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