We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Whipsaw?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A whipsaw is a type of crosscut saw which is designed to be utilized by two people. Crosscut saws have special teeth which are engineered to make horizontal cuts, such as the cut required to fell a tree safely. For certain applications, crosscut saws are safer, especially when they are used by experienced operators. Some hardware stores stock whipsaws, and they can also be obtained from timber supply companies.

You have probably seen a picture of a whipsaw; it's the classic long, thin blade with two handles which was used historically by lumberjacks. Once lumberjacks selected a tree to cut down, they would prepare the tree and the surrounding area and then get to work with the whipsaw, with the men standing on either side of the tree and moving the saw in a back and forth motion.

Using a whipsaw successfully does require some skill, and coordination with your partner. A well-trained and experienced team can establish a smooth rhythm which accomplishes felling tasks quickly and safely. It also requires a fair amount of strength, as a whipsaw typically has teeth which are sharpened on both sides, meaning that the tree is cut on both the push and pull strokes, so lumberjacks must put a fair amount of force into the use of the saw.

As one might imagine, a whipsaw can be extremely dangerous. Both users need to keep a firm grip on the saw, as relaxation by one lumberjack could cause the saw to bounce off course, potentially resulting in a serious injury. If a lumberjack pulls on a saw which is not supported from the other side, it is possible to pull the whipsaw out of the tree, and it may whip around, dealing damage along the way.

Whipsaws are still used to harvest timber in some regions of the world, and they are also utilized to cut and trim lumber. Some examples of massive whipsaws used historically can be seen at logging museums, and they are sometimes demonstrated at logging contests for people who want to see them in action.

The term “whipsaw” is also used in the financial world, to describe violent movements in the market, in a reference to the sometimes frenetic back and forth movement of a whipsaw team. For investors, whipsawing in the market can be quite stressful, as fortunes can change very quickly. Experienced investors are familiar with the phenomenon and they may choose to ride it out or pick the right moment to dump whipsawing stocks, but inexperienced individuals can lose a substantial amount of money through these violent fluctuations.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.