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I Forge Iron

Justin’s Smithing progression. [PIC heavy]

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Look what followed me home today. 14” Racine power hacksaw. It’s a wet saw rated for up to 6” square stock. All the bells and whistles. At 750lbs according to a manual it’s no fun to move haha. I’ll be taking it off the casters once I figure out where I want it came with 20 replacement blades. 




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I’m super excited. Not sure if I can mention them or not but Yes msc industrial supply carries starrett blades from I believe 2 - 14 tpi. In several lengths. The saw works perfectly. Just needs a small motor for the coolant pump to function but that’s easy enough. And a cleaning. But it runs great and cuts nicely and very straight. Puts my little China special 4x6 bandsaw to shame. In the limited tests I saw before bringing it home it preforms about as well as my Bandsaw in speed. Maybe even a bit faster. But also leaves a far better cut. I will do more testing 

hammer will get a bit more rounding once I clean true face up before I fit the handle on. 

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I was using 3 tpi blades! 1.75” forklift tine.
Going to get it off the casters and onto a couple chunks of railroad ties so it’s more stable and doesn’t roll around. 

I have no regrets on this purchase. Especially with the price of 300$ compared to a bandsaw with similar capabilities 

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the blades are specially made for the power hacksaws..  I have blades that cut 100's of feet of stock that were still cutting well when taken out of service when i closed shop. 

My Johnson  cutoff saw on the other hand has to have blades replaced about once a week depending. 

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Good idea haha. Anyways after using it for a week I’ve gotta say the hacksaw is wonderful. Haven’t used my bandsaw once because honestly the hacksaw is as fast as my cheap 4x6 bandsaw haha. It cuts everything from 3/16” square wrought iron to hardened forklift tines without a single complaint. All while being a perfect cut. I’m thinking I may just get rid of my bandsaw. And just use this hacksaw 

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Maybe I don't have enough experience with power hacksaws but from what I have seen they have a much wider kerf than a band saw or a hand hacksaw.  If you are just cutting something off that is not going to make any difference but if you are splitting something, e.g. a Frederick's cross or tines for a small fork, the width of the kerf may be important.  So, every tool does something better than an alternative tool.  If it were me, I'd keep both and use each for what each does best.

"By hammer and hand al arts do stand."

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2 totally different cutting tools..  

an abrasive cutoff saw typically is used for alloy or high alloy or hardened materials.  Loud/noisy, dust everywhere, wheels get used up quickly.  Not a high accuracy way of cutting without major tool adjustments. 

A cutoff bandsaw and a cutoff Hacksaw of this type usually to the same job.  (Non hardened ferrous metals and non ferrous)

The hacksaw is the older of the 2 design wise..  Also it really does seem like the blades are heavier duty so last a really long time..  The blades are or were also cheaper per cut.

Hacksaw.. Set it and forget it as it will stop when cut is finished so can do other things. Can cut large stock and bundles of stock accurately, little if any mess as the chips can be caught. 

The main disadvantage of this type of saw is the time it takes to cut something is slower than a cutoff bandsaw.. 

But the advantage is they are usually very accurate, good blade life and many of the functions on the production saws was automated. 

by the way, they make carbide tipped blades now for bandsaws and hacksaws that will cut both hardened and alloys.  Just still expensive. 

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Jennifer:  Thanks.  I am usually cutting smaller stock and will use a hot cut, a hand hacksaw, a cut off saw, or a metal cutting band saw.  I agree that a cut off saw is not very precise unless you are really careful with it.  I rarely have to cut anything so large that a power hacksaw that you can set up and forget would be worth the investment or the space.  That said, the reciprocating action is cool to watch.  If I had the opportunity to get one at a low price I probably would but I don't feel my shop is incomplete without one.

A friend of mine had one that had an oil bath cooling system and it could be kind of messy.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I’ll get some Video soon of it.


 Yes it has an adjustable 6 speed hydraulic down feed, auto raises the saw at the end of the cut which is nice because it’s not the lightest thing ever haha. There’s a lever to push down manually if you need to quickly stop and raise the saw, also allows you to adjust when it lifts ip after the cut. It lifts on the push and lowers to cut on the pull. So only wearing the blade when it needs to. And there is liquid coolant. Although I’ve just been using oil for now as I haven’t had a chance to replace the belt on the coolant pump and clean it all out. And probably one of my favorite parts is  it has a clutch so once it’s done it stops the saw and raises but the motor stays on so you can get your next cut going easier and faster  unlike some that stop by shutting the motor off  

Pros and cons


Cuts super square. Faster than my cheap bandsaw when cutting a thing larger than about 1/2” stock. It’s fun to watch. It’s fairly quiet. Can cut anything up to 6” square solid stock. Cuts up to a 45 degree angle. Very solid cast iron construction. No risk of damaging it. It’s just a neat piece of history. Cost per cut is very cheap. Great for heavy stock or a lot of stock tied together. Blade swaps take ~30 seconds unlike bandsaws that take much longer usually. 

cons- it’s only good for Cutting off stock, it’s large and heavy (750 lbs approx 2’x4’ base) it prefers cutting large stock although it will cut thin stuff just not as happily as a bandsaw.  Slower than a quality bandsaw would be. Kerf can be somewhat large especially when using a 3 tpi blade. 

Overall I like it and I think it was well worth the cost. And if you see one cheap (as long as it doesn’t use normal hand hacksaw blades) I would recommend buying a power hacksaw. But if you only cut small stock I might not buy one. I cut a lot of fairly heavy steel so it is a great tool for that. Fastest tool in the shop to cut things like forklift tines.

My power hacksaw cuts hardened steel without too much trouble.  I’m sure the blades aren’t too happy with it but they seem just as sharp as before I cut leaf springs and files. For thick very hard steel I can’t say yet but for thinner stuff it works if I let it go slowly.

a useful but not necessary tool. 

apologies if that didn’t make sense or if I got rambling. I’ll clarify anything if need be

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Have this picture that shows my blacksmith shop pretty well. I’m in the process of cleaning so it’s a kinda messy but you can see the basics of what I work with. I will be installing power to keep my wiring out of the way of being a tripping Hazzard 


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