A quality hand saw is an essential tool for woodworking, construction, and home repair projects both big and small. While power saws are useful for heavy cutting duties, sometimes nothing beats a simple hand saw for precise cuts and work in tight spaces. The CRAFTSMAN CMHT20138 12-Inch Crosscut Hand Saw aims to deliver reliable, affordable performance for all kinds of crosscutting tasks. In this extensive review, we will evaluate the key features and capabilities of this saw.
Design and Construction
Right off the bat, the solid construction of the CRAFTSMAN hand saw is apparent. The blade is made from high carbon steel with sharp triple-chip teeth ground for efficient crosscutting. At 12 inches, it provides a good blend of control and cutting capacity for typical household projects. The blade is firmly riveted to a sturdy hardwood handle with deeply scolloped indentations for a sure grip with either hand.
The handle has a comfortable pitch to it that lines up the wrist naturally during cutting strokes. A metal back helps prevent the blade from flexing or twisting under pressure. The saw also comes equipped with an integrated cork blade guard and hanging hole for convenient storage. Overall the quality materials and assembly feel robust enough for heavy use over the long run.
To thoroughly evaluate the saw's performance, I began with test cuts through 1x pine boards of various widths. Right away I could tell the triple-chip teeth effectively gripped and sliced through wood fibers with very little perceived resistance. Straight cuts were effortless and the 12-inch blade helped minimize the number of required kerf corrections versus a smaller saw.
Moving on to hardwoods like oak and maple, the carbon steel blade maintained its edge admirably with no signs of dulling after multiple crosscuts. This allowed clean cuts without having to exert much pressure on the saw. Jointing pieces was simplified thanks to the convenient handle pitch and comfort.
The CRAFTSMAN saw really shone when tackling angled miter cuts. The sturdy hardwood handle provided excellent control and torque transmission to the blade. Clean miter cuts of up to 45 degrees presented no issues. Crosscutting larger dimensional lumber like 2x4s also posed no real challenges.
Value and Durability
Priced at around $25, the CRAFTSMAN CMHT20138 represents an outstanding value. It delivered cutting performance on par with hand saws in the $40-50 range without consideration for its lower cost. Simple maintenance like occasional lubrication of the blade has kept it running smoothly after heavy project use spanning several months. The plywood handle shows no visible signs of wear despite copious amounts of sweat from extended cutting sessions on hot days.
Even the standard cork blade guard holds up well to daily use safeguarding the blade without pinching fingers. This basic but well-designed saw is sure to last for years of woodworking tasks both indoors and out. For the money, it's tough to find a more capable hand saw without spending significantly more.
Some competitors worth considering at similar price points include models from Irwin, Bahco, and Stanley. The Irwin saw offered comparable cutting ability but with a smaller and less comfortable-to-grip plastic handle. The Bahco featured a metal back like CRAFTSMAN but cost nearly $10 more for questionable gain in value.
The Stanley saw, coming in at $20, was the closest match but still felt less robustly assembled than the CRAFTSMAN. Ultimately none of these competitors matched the blend of performance, comfort, and durability provided by the CRAFTSMAN saw at its affordable $25 MSRP. Pricier woodworking brands failed to justify their premium unless top-tier cutting was a high priority.
In summary, the CRAFTSMAN CMHT20138 12-Inch Crosscut Hand Saw strikes an incredible balance between performance, features, build quality, and price. Quality materials like the carbon steel blade and wooden handle feel built to last through years of mainstream woodworking and construction tasks both indoors and out. Clean and precise cuts in a variety of materials were effortless thanks to thoughtful tooth design and solid construction preventing binding.
For only $25, it's nearly impossible to find a more complete and dependable hand saw package without spending significantly more. Beginning woodworkers on a budget or seasoned DIYers after a versatile backup saw need look no further for extraordinary utility and value. The CRAFTSMAN CMHT20138 easily earns its place as a superb all-purpose crosscut saw.