Saws and Sanders

No deck can be built without good quality saws and sanders to give it a clean finished look.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the kinds of saws and sanders available to make your final deck look great. And of course, all of these tools are useful for a ton of other household projects for the future.

Saws and Sanders For Building Decks

Miter Saw (Chop Saw)

These saws are expensive items but a dream to work with if you plan to do a lot of building over the coming years. They used to be truly just a chop saw because they cut only up and down, limiting their usefulness.

Now they are more properly called Miter Saws because they can rotate multiple angles and very accurately. Building decks requires all kinds of cross cutting so it is used all the time.

This is an essential tool for any builder. Buy a decent one with preferably a 12" blade and you will be able to cut right through 4x4s. You will own this saw forever and use it more than any other power tool in your shop.

Circular Saw

Circular saw

These saws are also a must for deck building. The 7 1/4" blades are not bad so long as they are sharp but an 8 1/2" blade is better. You will find that the quality of the saw is usually better once you get in the larger blade sizes.

The base should be wide, thick and just feel solid. It should sound smooth too. Cheap circular saws break down, over heat and wobble over time. So you are always compensating for the tool.

A saw with about 12-13 amps will give you good power for sustained cutting and ripping. Get a decent saw.


A router is very useful when building a deck because it can be used to soften edges of deck boards, top rails, stair stringers. It just gives you deck and related components a very finished look and smooth feel.

You don't necessarily need the full on 3hp multi speed plunge router, although they are awesome for other jobs too. Even a small single hand held router can do wonders.


Hand saw

Cheap and entirely useful when you least expect it. Get a handsaw. You never know when you will need to just make a quick cut and you don't feel like plugging in or hearing the noise or untangling plugs.

But learn how to use a handsaw properly. They work great when you keep the blade sharp and let the saw do the work for you.

Orbital Hand Sander

An orbital palm sander is a great tool for quickly smoothing larger areas like hand rails. These sanders are much faster than a block sander and muscle. A nice little extra to put on your wishlist.

Saber Saw

A saber saw is sometimes referred to as a jig saw. It's a very useful saw for building a deck when you have to create curves, either a radius corner on the decking or something like that.

Reciprocating Saw (Sawzall)

This kind of a saw is great for cutting protruding beams below the joists and deck structure. It's really difficult to get a circular saw in that area and hold it firm in an awkward position. The same goes for a handsaw unless you are skilled with it.

Belt Sander

Powerful sanders like this can really smooth the deck boards quickly. But be careful because if you fall asleep at the wheel it can also cause a lot of damage quickly. Let the sander do the work. Not your muscles.

Sanding Block

Good old fashioned hard work is what is required to make this sander work. But a sanding block is indisensible. You will need it for all kinds of little jobs.

That is a fairly comprehensive list of what is required from the cutting, sawing and sanding perspective.

© 2004-2016 By Rich Bergman, All Rights Reserved.