Wood can be cut for a variety of purposes with any one of a great number of tools. The type of project and the relative hardness of your chosen wood will significantly affect your choice of tools. The introduction of electric cutting tools has made working with wood in almost any capacity a much more efficient process.
The basic tool in the wood cutting toolbox is a handsaw, which serve many purposes and are available in great variety. A two-person crosscut saw can stretch 7 feet across and makes cutting through trees a job for couples, whereas a dovetail saw, used for cutting very fine joints, can be shorter than 10 inches. Other types of handsaws include bow saws, coping saws, keyhole saws and hacksaws.
Chisels have metal blades protruding from a wooden or plastic handle. This tool is used to cut through wood in a precisely controlled manner. The blade shaves away slices of wood, often for the purpose of fitting two pieces of wood together. Chisels, often used in conjunction with a mallet, are available in an array of sizes and shapes.
Power saws allow a significant amount of wood to be cut in a short period of time. A variety of power saws are available. The circular saw can be fitted with different types of blades to allow it to make crosscuts, rip cuts and miter cuts. Other power saws include radial arm saws and reciprocating saws.
Planes, used for smoothing out rough surfaces, slice through wood with a very sharp blade. Many different types of planes are available, but the bench plane and smoothing plane are the most common. A compass plane is effective for working on a curved surface. Shoulder planes are engaged for forming tenon and rabbet joints.
The router is a high-powered tool that is useful for rounding off edges of piece of wood. The router can also be used for making grooves and slots in the wood. The attachment of specific router bits allows this tool to be used to shape wood and to create many different types of joints.
Using chisels of different shapes and sizes with a machine known as a lathe allows you to cut into blocks of wood and end up with cylindrical objects. With a lathe, you can take a piece of wood and cut it in a process known as turning, until you end up with a decorative table spindle or even a bowl.