If you are a beginner or even a seasoned user, there are always ways to improve your skills being safe knowing how to operate a circular saw. Circular saws are a must-have for professional contractors, master carpenters, new carpenters, and home users for new-build projects and home improvement jobs.
Hand tools and power tools are the life’s blood for everyone doing projects and building with wood. If you don’t use hand-held power tools with their own motors, you will need a compressor to power up hand tools.
Below is an overview about circular saws and how to safely use them.
1. What You Should Know About Circular Saws
Before using any power tool to include a circular saw, you should not wear loose clothing, jewelry, and tie long hair back.
Always wear side-shield safety glasses to prevent wood bits, slivers, and chips getting into your eyes or on your face.
Wear a dust mask to keep wood dust out of your nostrils and lungs.
If your circular saw is corded-electric, be sure to put the cord out of your way so not to cut it or trip over it. With battery-powered cordless circular saws you have no cord worries.
Be sure to check for chipped teeth or a broken blade each time you start using your saw.
2. Circular Saw Highlights
Your circular saw will have many features for safety and ease in using. A miter saw is a useful tool for angles such as joining molding corners.
Whether you use a hand-held circular saw or a table saw for large sheet materials, be safe. These are ideal for framers, builders, masons and siding contractors.
Features to consider when buying a regular size or small compact circular saw:
The compact saw weighs 50% less than a traditional 7-1/4-inch circular saw. It will cut wood, metal, tile or plastic with ease.
The small compact circular saws are substantial enough to cut through nominal 2-inch lumber.
- The more teeth in the blade, the smoother the cut.
- A blade guard is a must and is usually made of plastic being a shield that covers the blade for safety. When not in use, the blade withdraws.
- Get a circular saw with a built-in dust blower to clear the line of cut for greater accuracy.
- Centrifugal fan and baffle system for efficient cooling of the motor.
- Large and easy-to-read markings on depth and bevel scales.
- Flat motor housing design to increase stability when changing blades.
- Depth adjustment for different blade depths.
- Built-in LED lights to illuminate the line of cut for increased accuracy.
- Laser guide for a beam of light when you pull the trigger to see your cutting surface for making a straight cut.
- Bevel adjustment for cuts 0- to 45-degrees for the most common angles.
- Conveniently located shaft lock for easy blade replacement.
- Foot plate/shoe flat piece through which the blade runs, laying on the work surface as the blade is in motion.
3. Tips Using Circular Saws
Secure what you are cutting with clamps and adjust and tighten the bevel lock knob for different angles of cuts.
Before starting your circular saw, set the shoe on the wood to be cut with the blade against the wood to see where it sits. The blade should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch past the bottom. It can be dangerous if the blade extends too far.
Let the free end fall when cutting lumber to prevent binding. If you cut between supports when framing, it will cause bowing at the cut and the pinch will cause the blade to kick back. This is dangerous!
Be sure to support the whole piece of plywood when cutting by laying two 2 x 4s across your saw horses and setting the plywood on top.
It’s best to do a rip cut with a table saw. This is a cut that goes with the grain rather than across the grain of the wood. It’s like cutting a steak the wrong way to eat.
To secure the board, drive a nail into it to secure it to the sawhorse; a rip cut can be done with a hand-held circular saw as well.
Learn how to use the notch feature on your circular saw and to set for bevel or 90-degree angle cuts. Properly aligning the saw with the cutline will take some practice, and you will master it in no time.
Use a chainsaw for trees, not a circular saw.
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