Back saws have different names depending on the length of the blade; tenon saw is often used as a generic name for all the sizes of woodworking backsaw.
Some examples are: A long band welded into a circle, with teeth on one side.
The teeth protrude to the left and right, so that the saw cut (kerf) is wider than the blade width.
Egyptian saws were at first serrated, hardened copper which cut on both pull and push strokes.
As the saw developed, teeth were raked to cut only on the pull stroke and set with the teeth projecting only on one side, rather than in the modern fashion with an alternating set. In the Iron Age, frame saws were developed holding the thin blades in tension. In archeological reality, saws date back to prehistory and most probably evolved from Neolithic stone or bone tools.
The pit saw was "a strong steel cutting-plate, of great breadth, with large teeth, highly polished and thoroughly wrought, some eight or ten feet in length" Hand saws typically have a relatively thick blade to make them stiff enough to cut through material.
(The pull stroke also reduces the amount of stiffness required.) Thin-bladed handsaws are made stiff enough either by holding them in tension in a frame, or by backing them with a folded strip of steel (formerly iron) or brass (on account of which the latter are called "back saws.") Some examples of hand saws are: "Back saws," so called because they have a thinner blade backed with steel or brass to maintain rigidity, are a subset of hand saws.
Some dado blades can be adjusted to make different-width grooves.
A "stacked" dado blade, consisting of chipper blades between two dado blades, can make different-width grooves by adding or removing chipper blades.
A large measure of hand finishing remains to this day for quality saws by the very few specialist makers reproducing the 19th century designs. In parts of early colonial North America, it was one of the principal tools used in shipyards and other industries where water-powered sawmills were not available.
It was so-named because it was typically operated over a saw pit, either at ground level or on trestles across which logs that were to be cut into boards.
By the end of the 17th century European manufacture centred on Germany (the Bergisches Land) and in London and the Midlands of England.
Most blades were made of steel (iron carbonised and re-forged by different methods).
The kerf may be sometimes be wider than the set, depending on wobble and other factors.