Compass saws are typically used to cut curved shapes in plywood, plasterboard and pressed wood. They can also be useful for cutting materials such as plastic and non-ferrous metals in confined spaces that are not suitable for conventional saws.
The compass saw is small in size and features a narrow tapered blade that allows for initial penetration without the need for pre-drilled pilot holes. The blade can be retractable and set to an optimal length that is appropriate for the type of material in use. Most blades include teeth that limit the cutting to the pull stroke, preventing binding of blades.