Early American saws can be classified into two different categories; Frame and open saws. Open saws in the 1850's were much the same as its modern counterpart, although previous open saws had a handle that was more like that of a knife and it was long enough to use with two hands. Wood was a popular material used for tools as metal was sometimes hard to come by, frame saws had the advantage of only needing the narrowest of blades because it was support by the frame. The buck saw (which can be found here at the Backus-Page House Museum among our barn collection) is a type of bow frame. Bow frames are characterized by a thin blade stretched between two arms by a twisted cord, the saw blade could be turned by twisting the handles making it easy to saw curved pieces.
In a buck saw, the blade is stationary and heavier and long handle has been added to one side. The name comes from the term for cutting logs to the proper length or "buck" logs. Buck saws were also collapsible making it for easy storage.