A circular saw is a very useful, important, versatile and easiest to use hand-held power tool for you if you are engaged in DIY work or any kind of woodworking. You need this tool for making any kinds of wood works. Mastering this tool will make you an expert in woodworking. To master this saw, at first, you need the knowledge of how to use a circular saw. This is why I am writing this article giving you an in-depth guide about the using process of a circular saw.
A circular saw could be one of the easiest and safest electric power tools but still, it is an electric power tool. Make one mistake and you will regret it for the rest of your life. This is why extreme caution is to be maintained not only for using a circular saw but for any other kind of electric power tools.
Here are some of the important safety measures that should be strictly maintained before, during and after using a circular saw:
- Always wear safety goggles and hearing protection and gloves.
- Do not wear loose clothing while working with the saw.
- Remember to tie long hair to prevent from getting inside the moving saw.
- Always stand beside the saw, never behind. If you find someone behind the saw, move the person from the back of the saw immediately.
- Use a dust mask to prevent the sawdust from getting inside your body via breathing. This may also disturb you in cutting accurately.
- Check your blade guard
- Blades with more teeth cut smoothly. So, choose your blade wisely before making cut.
- Mark the line of your cut before cutting.
- Cut a bit away from the mark.
- Keep your hands away from the saw blade and always put your fingers off the trigger to avoid unpleasant accidents.
- Check your measurements carefully. Even check multiple times to ensure correct measurements.
Use sawhorse for supporting your material for cutting. A sawhorse is made with two pairs of legs and a beam on top of them. They are to be used as a pair in the least. But you are free to use more than two sawhorses for the convenience of your work. To continue your work without trouble, you will need at least two sawhorses.
If you can master the trick then you can even use your own feet as a sawhorse or instead of the sawhorse. This will save you a lot of time and effort. Balance the lumber on your foot keeping the other end resting on the ground. Tilt it up and let the saw do the rest. But do not forget to keep the feet away for at least 12inch form the blade.
Choosing the right blade for the right saw and the right work is very important. Keep your blade sharp and clean and free of pitch to get the best out it. A sharp blade will cut smoothly and neatly without using much force. But a blunt blade will jerk and need much force and even cause irregular cuts or it might even become unsuitable for use.
When you buy a circular saw, the usual size of the blade you will find is a 24 teeth blade. These are good for normal cutting of wood. But if you want a smoother cut then you will need a blade with more teeth. And a blade with fewer teeth will give a rough cutting result. This is why you have to choose the right blade for the right work for your saw wisely.
Depth of the blade
Depth of the blade is a very crucial issue for knowing how to use a circular saw. When making a cut, make sure to set the depth of the blade is not more than 1/4- inch below the cutting material. Trust me, you won’t want too much of the blade out. Because, if too much of the blade is exposed out then it might catch something beneath and this will not be good for you. And also, too much blade beneath will give you an unsatisfying cut.
Cutting through stones
To cut substances other than woods, you must have a different blade other than the ones used for wood cutting. To cut stones with a circular saw you will need a diamond blade. Diamond blades have dropped price over the years and easily available now. To cut stone, you will need an extra hand to hold a small water hose on the blade and area it is cutting. Stones are very hard substances. So it will take much effort from the saw to cut. Using water while cutting will keep the blade and the saw from getting heated and will eliminate the dust on the area of the cut. So, it will be much easier for you to make cuts on the hard stone easily.
Cutting plastics and metals
Yes, a circular saw can also be used for cutting plastics and metals. But again, you will need a separate blade for these different materials. To cut metallic substances you have to use a metal cutting blade. You can use the same type of blade to cut steel also.
To cut plastic substances you can use carbide blades or copper blades depending on the type of plastic material.
Always use claps before cutting to get your desired cut. Sometimes both of your hands will be occupied holding the saw and blade guard or in balancing one side. But times may come when you might not be able to cut accurately because of lack of balancing your cutting material. So, clamping the wood board so that it would not travel around is the best option for you.
Marking the accurate line
If you want to get the best result out of your work then you will always make correct markings on your workpiece. Check twice or even thrice if there is need be to make sure accuracy. You can use chalk powder and strings to make the marks easier to follow.
Never follow the mark with the marks of the saw foot. Follow the blade and the area it is cutting instead. And also beware to start your cut a bit away from the mark. Because a little of the wood will vanish as sawdust after cutting. This will depend on the girth of the blade. The thicker the blade, the wider the cut will be.
Another useful trick for marking would be to light the path of the cut. Add a laser light in your saw which will mark the exact place with a laser beam where the blade will cut.
When you need to use the saw, do not start cutting in hurry. Start the blade on and let it go on to full speed. Only then you should start cutting. The same is applicable when you are done cutting with the saw. Pull off your finger from the trigger and let the blade stop fully. Then steadily remove the saw away. Hurrying when the blade is not in perfect speed might be the cause of a damaged or faulty project.
When you are cutting a block of wood with dark color or which is laminated then marking becomes difficult. Don’t worry. This problem also has a very easy solution. Just use a painter’s tape on the wood board and mark upon the tape. Using such tapes will also prevent spreading the sawdust.
Compound and bevel cuts
Compound cuts by a circular saw need an extra effort. You have to pull off the blade guard before making compound or bevel cuts.
When you want bevel cuts of more than 45o, you need some extra calculations. Usually, circular saws support bevel cut up to 45o. To cut more than that you have to subtract the unit of bevel you want to cut form 90o and set your saw bevel at that unit. Suppose, you need a 60o cut. So subtract 60o from 90o and set the result that is 30o at the saw bevel.
Whenever you need to cut a board of large area, use a foam pad grounding the board. Put the pad on the ground and the board on top of it and work at ease. Kneeling on your knees will give you better sight and at the cut and obviously, it will be much comfortable. When you are finished cutting, tape the area of the pad which was cut at the time of using the saw. This will produce joints on the pad which will give you the opportunity of storing it away.
A circular saw is a very handy and easily operational tool. You can use one saw for multiple purposes if you know how to use a circular saw correctly. Just keep in mind about the safety factors and use a guide before using. You do not need to work too hard since it is a very easy tool to use. Preferring a circular saw would be a wise idea for any DIY work.