A circular saw is a popular and common tool for woodworking. Whether you’re a woodworking professional or just a beginner, you’ll need a good circular saw at some point. Smooth ripping capability and the affordable price tag make circular saw among the best for woodworking jobs. You can easily get a good-quality circular saw within your budget.
While pro woodworkers know to handle this sharp tool well, there are a few tips and tricks that will help beginners start with the circular saw better. You’ll come to know about all the important tips by the end of the article. But instead of directly jumping to the tips let us know some circular saw basics first.
What is a Circular Saw
From the name itself, you get a bride idea that is a saw, circular in shape. And yes, you’re right, it is indeed a portable saw that uses a circular blade. Now, this blade can be either a toothed-saw blade or an abrasive disc, depending on the type of material to be cut. You can change blades accordingly to cut different types of materials.
There are 2 major types of circular saws, electric and battery-powered. Both of them accept different blades to cut a variety of materials. Besides, many models feature onboard miter-cut adjustment, bevel adjustment, built-in fences, etc which helps beginners. All these user-friendly features along with an affordable price tag make a circular saw a must-have tool for woodworking beginners and professionals.
Also Read: 10 Best Compact Circular Saws
Circular Saw is Used For
A Circular saw is widely used for woodworking jobs. These powerful portable saws are capable of bevel cutting, miter cuts, cross-cutting, etc. If you’re planning to redo your kitchen or bathroom and looking for a reliable tool for the woodworking part then there is no doubt about buying a good circular saw with a blade. Let us dive deep and find out what things you can do with a circular saw.
- Resaw – Resawing wood is simply cutting it into thin sheets or small parts. While there is a good bandsaw out there for resawing but why buy a tall bulky unit for small resawing jobs. Your portable hand circular saw can handle resawing jobs better. Simply adjust the foot of the tool to the corresponding height and start the blade. Gently push the workpiece towards the blade with the help of a push stick.
- Straight Cuts – Cutting wood into equal haves is the most common use of a circular saw. Also, it is easy to make straight cuts using a circular handheld saw even if you’re learning to use the tool. Use clamps and set the saw foot for smooth, straight cuts every time. You can also use the rip fence guide for cutting large sheets of wood accurately in one go.
- Crosscutting – When you say to make a crosscut on the wood, it simply means to cut against the grain of the wood. Using a square set guide while crosscutting with a handsaw will provide excellent results.
- Rip Cuts – Rip cutting the wood means cutting it along the grain direction. This is the second most common type of cut necessary for many woodworking projects. Use a rip attachment for precise ripping. While rip attachment is good for making narrow cuts, you’ll need to make a cutoff guide for ripping wider pieces.
- Other cuts – You can use a circular handheld saw for other cuts such as cutting arc or circles on a wooden board. However, there are a lot of adjustments to be done to cut irregular shapes with a portable hand saw. And a bandsaw machine is perfect for making such intricate cuts rather than a circular blade machine.
How do you use a circular saw?
Ease of use makes circular saws so popular among beginners and professionals. You can easily learn to use this power tool and cut/rip material like a pro. It is good to practice basic cuts before trying miter or bevel cuts. This will help you understand the power tool better and then you can move ahead with complex cuts. And following tips will guide how to use a circular saw for a basic cut.
- Grab the material and set it on the worktable with the help of clamps.
- Now mark the cutline carefully.
- Attach the compatible blade to cut the material(wood or metal).
- Set the blade depth correctly. Adjust the circular blade in such a way that it is not too deep nor too above the material.
- Plugin the power tool, rest the saw shoe on the material edge, and lift the blade guard.
- Press the lock-on switch and pull the trigger for the blade to reach its maximum speed.
- Hold the power tool firm enough to keep the saw shoe on the material as you guide the blade towards the cutting line.
- Gently apply pressure to move the saw forward for cutting the material. Do not apply too much pressure, let the blade do its work at its pace.
- Once the cutting/ripping is done, release the trigger and wait for the blade to stop before you put the tool down.
Also Read: 10 Best Worm Drive Circular Saw with Track
Safety is important while handling such a sharp tool, especially if you’re a beginner. While a majority of electric handheld circular saws are equipped with blade guards for the safety of users, accidents still happen. And the main reason for accidents is mishandling the tool or using it the wrong way. Give your safety utmost priority as prevention is always better than cure. Keep the below safety tips in mind before using a circular handsaw.
- Take fancy strings off your shirt/top. Loose clothing is a big no while working with such sharp power tools as the cloth might get tangles into the blade resulting in serious injuries. It is a good idea to wear an apron or a fitted long sleeve top.
- Never start cutting/ripping wood without wearing safety glasses. It doesn’t matter if your portable handsaw features a blade guard, safety eyewear is important to prevent any flying debris from entering your eyes.
- Tie back long hairs.
- Remove jewelry before operating the saw.
Before/When using the saw:
- Plug the electric handsaw only into a reliable power outlet. Similarly, charge the batteries of a battery-powered circular saw on a good power outlet.
- Do not pressure the saw blade for quick cutting. Gentle pressure is okay but too much pressure increases the risk of a finger cut.
- Keep your hand away from the shape blade. Use the right tools like a push stick to cut small logs of wood or other small materials.
- Wait for the blade to stop completely before putting it down.
- Use only the blade intended to cut that material on your worktable for flawless cutting.
- Set the blade depth according to the thickness of the material. This will prevent brutal kickbacks that often lead to inaccurate cuts as well as are dangerous.
- Make sure to use a sharp blade for cutting/ripping material.
Learning to use a circular saw is the easiest of all. This is because this power tool is portable, affordable, and excellent in its job. Follow the right cutting practices and you can flawlessly cut a board of wood or ply in seconds. I hope the detailed guide on how to use a circular saw and its capabilities must have helped you to know the power tool better. If there are any other questions that should be addressed then do let me know in the section below.