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I have some wood left over from building a patio, mainly some planks. Normally when I'm creating firewood, I just use an axe a split the wood, but these are too long for that. I really don't want to try and cut them with a wood saw or an Axe. The only tools I can think that make sense are a Jig Saw or a chain saw.

So what I'll probably do is cut them down with the jig Saw (and maybe split them with the axe)

What other alternative are there? Should be something hand held, I don't think a band saw or a circular saw would make sense.

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What do you want to do with the scrap? You don't want to burn pressure-treated wood. –  Steve Jackson Dec 6 '11 at 16:54
    
A sawzall with a 6" to 10" inch wood blade goes through 2x4s pretty quick. –  Jon Raynor Dec 6 '11 at 17:10
    
This isn't pressure-treated lumber, is it? –  Gabe Dec 7 '11 at 0:41
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Regardless of the method used to treat it, it produces toxic smoke and ashes. They don't use arsenic anymore (where a tablespoon of ash could kill you), but the huge amounts of copper are still hazardous. If it's planks for a deck it's almost certainly pressure treated. –  Steve Jackson Dec 7 '11 at 13:23
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@Steve: very good to know! Will have to come up with an alternative plan for wood disposal, and fire fuelling!! –  AidanO Dec 8 '11 at 8:51
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4 Answers 4

up vote 65 down vote accepted

Reciprocating Saw

Most fun.

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Miter Saw

Fastest.

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Circular Saw

Most likely to have on hand.

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Jig Saw

Slow.

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Hand Saw

Slower.

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Butter knife

Slowest.

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Pruning Saw

Longest reach.

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Fire

Cut right to the chase

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Beaver

Requires lots of training, food, and cleanup (thanks @SteveJackson for pointing this method out).

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Chain saw

By popular demand (don't use on PT wood)

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No affinity to Ridgid, just the first brand in the list when searching for reciprocating saw.

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+1 for Reciprocating Saw. Commonly referred to as a sawzall (although that's technically a brand name of Reciprocating Saw), a Reciprocating Saw is probably the most versatile, and FUN! –  Zach Dec 6 '11 at 17:47
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+1 This is arguably the best StackExchange answer I have ever seen. –  msanford Dec 6 '11 at 19:56
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Oh man. A beaver! I need one of those. It's like a wood chipper without the noise! –  DA01 Dec 6 '11 at 21:50
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Does the beaver plug in or does it have batteries, and are they included? And if you use the beaver do you have to use wood chucks to chuck the would? +1 for originality!!! –  lqlarry Dec 7 '11 at 2:18
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You shouldn't use the beaver on PT wood either. –  BMitch Dec 8 '11 at 23:03
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Bow Saw

A bow saw is a hand saw that's designed for cutting through branches and other fairly light outdoor tasks, where a chainsaw would be overkill. The teeth are much deeper than those on a typical woodworking-oriented crosscut saw (so they cut faster), and shaped to cut on both the push and pull stroke (so they cut even faster). Also, the blade is much narrower, so it is less likely to bind when cutting wood that isn't necessarily well-supported or clamped in place. A good bow saw can cut through sticky, sappy, green branches in seconds, so seasoned lumber will be no problem.

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A reciprocating saw (sawzall) is perfect for this job. Get the right blade, one that can handle an occasional nail if there is one, or use a pure wood cutting blade if that is not a worry. These saws will cut through anything. In fact, I once used one in lieu of a chain saw for a huge amount of fallen wood after an ice storm.

My second choice is a small, hand held circular saw, the battery driven kind. Small, easy to maneuver. You can cut a surprising amount of wood on a charge with one of these. Use a good carbide blade.

Third choice is a hand saw. If sharp, they can do a lot of work, and get your heart going - a good thing. Ok, maybe this should have been the first choice.

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I used a battery-powered circular saw to cut some 1x scrap this morning. It's very convenient. –  Jay Bazuzi Dec 7 '11 at 20:10
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Depending on how much left over wood you have, you may consider checking to see if your community has a building supply recycling center. I live in a relatively small town and we have a non-profit organization here that takes donations of left over building supplies and used (but usable) materials that have been removed as part of a remodel (faucets, doors, etc). I'd be surprised if there aren't similar organizations all over the country.

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