I've had to cut PVC for several galley projects and hated cutting it. Then I tried this saw. Four words say it all: HOT KNIFE THROUGH BUTTER.


I have always hated using PVC because it’s such a pain to cut with a hacksaw.  It takes forever, and then my cuts never go straight.

One of the top “article ideas” that’s been on my list almost since I began TBG was a safe way to store wine bottles, glasses and similar things.  It was a great project that Dave & I did on Que Tal.  About a year ago I bought the supplies to do another version as a demo and take photos to use here.  You can see that article here.

A year ago, huh?

Yeah.  I kept putting it off since it involved cutting several pieces of PVC.  I kept hoping that Dave would take pity on me and volunteer to do it.  But no — I married a smart man and he kept his mouth shut.  He doesn’t like cutting 4″ PVC any more than I do.

So I finally decided I might as well get to it.  And as I got the hacksaw out, I knocked another saw down.  And when I put it back, I saw it had a nice picture on the cover of someone cutting PVC with it.

So I figured I’d try it.  Heck, it couldn’t be any worse than the hacksaw.  And as I sawed, one phrase kept going through my head: hot knife through butter

And, because it cuts so easily, it was no problem to have straight cuts instead of the meandering “girly” curves I usually made.  I was using it on some thin-wall PVC for the project and wanted to be sure that it wasn’t the thinner wall that made it easier.  So I found a piece of scrap regular wall — and it worked just as well.  In fact, maybe better as it didn’t have to go through that black liner.

So what is it?  It’s a Shark Pullsaw — Dave bought it when we moved aboard Que Tal and loved it for cutting wood quickly and easily.  Neither one of us had thought to use it on PVC before today.  The package calls it a “carpentry saw” and the teeth are larger than those of a hacksaw, which I’m sure helps it cut so much more easily.  It is also a rougher cut — but a few swipes of sandpaper took care of that.

If I remember correctly, we originally bought it at Home Depot.  I just checked, and it’s apparently still made as Amazon carries the exact same saw (and of 30 reviews, 28 are 5-star and 2 are 4-star — an almost-unheard of rave!).  Whereas most saws cut on the push, this cuts on the pull — a more powerful motion for almost everyone.  And the blade is SHARP — be sure to keep the blade guard on it (we’ve had the saw for 10 years now, still with the same blade, no sharpening). If you can’t find it near you — or just prefer to order online rather than go to the store:

UPDATE: This was one of the first tools that Dave laid out to bring with us to Barefoot Gal!

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  • Bruce
    Posted at 25 July 2012 Reply

    As I recall, Japanese saws cut on the pull. Perhaps more accurate and easier to control, but I would not characterize it as ‘more powerful’ as you can’t get your weight into a pull like you can into a push. You could test this yourself using a bigger saw on a small hardwood log or something similar. Have a good day.

  • tami
    Posted at 25 March 2013 Reply

    I’ll second Bruce on the Japanese saw info… they cut on the pull. The ‘cut on the pull’ is easier for me. I use my Japanese saw as a yard saw, cutting branches etc. Cuts like buttah!

  • RichC
    Posted at 25 March 2013 Reply

    A sailor’s toolbox is not complete without a wire saw. They are perfect for cutting nice and straight thru PVC pipe … ask any plumber who works in tight places. http://www.generaltools.com/858–PVC-PIPE-CABLE-SAW_p_121.html

  • Dawna Bate
    Posted at 25 March 2013 Reply

    Here’s another type that is well-liked up here (in Canada). The advantage of this one is that it is so flexible, so it works well in tight spaces.


  • Arion Patrick
    Posted at 28 July 2015 Reply

    I discovered Pull saws about 5 years ago, they are great

  • Iain Fraser
    Posted at 28 July 2015 Reply

    I used to do lots of woodwork when I lived on land and discovered the joy of pullsaws some years ago…never go to sea without one now and when we throw off the lines forever I’ll make sure I’ve got a good stock of them!!

  • Kristine Henson
    Posted at 10 September 2015 Reply

    Great saws……. I cut a whole 5 step stair stringer x 2 with one. Also great for tree-trimming.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 11 September 2015 Reply

      I was just amazed at how fast it cut. Dave loves it!

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 11 October 2016 Reply

    more importantly…can we get back to the wine bottle part? Recently purchasing a sailboat, I’m very interested in tips to keep these bottles safe and secure. What area of the boat to keep them?

  • RON
    Posted at 20 November 2016 Reply

    A good way to mark PVC for cutting is to get a strip of paper (newspaper is ok) and wrap it around the circumference of the pipe so that it is tight and aligns and then mark the pipe along the edge of the paper with a “Sharpie” pen. Cut along the line. Clean and simple.

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