When butchering or cutting your own meat at home, bone is most likely the hardest material you will have to cut through. A saw blade can make quick work of that job.

The best saw blade for cutting bone is an unpainted, stainless steel, 12-inch-long blade that can be used with a reciprocating saw.

There are also manual, non-power tool-related methods for butchering larger cuts of meat, such as meat cleavers and knives made for butchering meat and cutting bones.

What to Use for Cutting Bone

There are two kinds of saw blades you can use to cut bone: power-tool bone saw blades in reciprocating saws and manual bone saws.

When buying a power tool for this use, you should research the tool you need first, as some places, such as Ace Hardware, have a strict policy on tool returns.

Manual Bone Saws

Manual bone saws are similar to your household kitchen hacksaw, but they have deeper teeth spaced farther apart to aid in easily cutting bone. 

Outdoor Edge 4.5” Flip N’ Zip SawHunting saw and cutting bone or wood
Satterlee Bone 13” Bone SawSurgical bone cutting

If you need a speedier cut, maybe a reciprocating saw blade is what you need.

Reciprocating Bone Saws

It is hard to beat the speed of a reciprocating bone saw. 

A 12” stainless steel blade can cut through almost anything a typical home cook can throw at it. 

There are also longer reciprocating bone saw blades available. For the avid hunter or amateur butcher, there is something for every use.

Caliastro 12” Reciprocating Bone Saw BladeHome butchering
Weston 16” Butcher Saws BladeLarge butchering jobs

The more teeth on a blade typically means a smoother cut but more spaced out teeth allow for a faster cut.

Why Use a Saw Blade to Cut Bone?

There are a few reasons that using a saw blade to cut bone instead of a knife is more beneficial:

  • It can be much quicker for larger bones than using a manual knife and cutting board. 
  • It can also be safer as a saw can cut through bone much easier than a knife. Leading to fewer injuries in the kitchen.

Even though there are benefits, using a saw isn’t practical for many people. So, what are some good alternatives to using a saw to cut bone?

Alternatives to Using a Saw to Cut Bone

Another method to cut through frozen meat and bone is to use what butchers have been using for thousands of years, knives.

A good, thick-spined, sharp knife can be almost as quick as a reciprocating saw when cutting through bone. There is a reason it has been used for so long.

Boning Knives

There are a ton of different knives on the market that are suitable for cutting through bone. However, some may yield better results than others.

There are hunting knives, super-sharp fishing knives, regular kitchen knives, and even specialty butcher knives that you can use to get the job done.

Depending on if you are separating bones at home with medium-sized bones or small bones, a different knife can yield a different result. Also, if you want to separate the meat from the bone.

Here are the top boning knives of each type listed above from Amazon: 

Different types and styles of knives are good for different applications. You should choose the knife that best fits your particular needs.

KnifeBest Use
Outdoor Edge WildBone 4-Piece Field to Freezer Hunting KnifeField dressing game
KastKing Fillet KnifeCleaning fish and cutting through small bones
Mercer Culinary Boning KnifeGeneral kitchen use
UltraSource Breaking Butcher’s KnifeHeavy-duty and general kitchen use

You want to remember to hold the knife well when cutting meat and bone. A pinch grip on the spine and applying pressure properly will quickly get through the connective tissue.

Many companies, such as BladeWorks and Coolina Store, have both high-quality and custom kitchen knives available.

Meat Cleavers

Meat cleavers are great for people who will often be butchering, but for the occasional meat and bone cutting, it may be a little overkill and not quite necessary.

A good meat cleaver with a heavy spine is a great tool and can make quick work of bone in the right hands, but it may not be the best tool for the amateur home cook.

What to Look for in a Blade to Cut Bone

No matter the blade works you choose to do your butchering, the main thing you want is an unpainted blade that is both food-safe and made of stainless steel, preferably.

You don’t want to attack your food with any old saw blade. Many saw blades have brands painted on them that could contain harmful chemicals if ingested.

It is also useful when cutting bone to find blades, both for saws and manuals, that have hardened edge blades. You don’t want your method of boning to get dull quickly.

You also want to ensure that you protect your hands while working.


If you are looking for speed, nothing is quicker than a powered reciprocating saw equipped with a food-safe, stainless steel reciprocating saw blade.

If time isn’t of the essence, a boning knife or butcher’s knife to cut can be a great addition to any set of home kitchen tools. You don’t need a hammer swing to butcher your own meat.