How To Use a Circular Saw

Circular saws are getting more and more popular. They are not only an essential tool for carpenters but also a handy tool to have around at home. 

If you do not know how to use a circular saw, that is okay.

Go on reading this article, and I guarantee that you will get your answer along the way.

Read Also : How to Buy a Circular Saw

How To Use a Circular Saw: Adjusting 

1. Familiarize Yourself With It

Before using a circular saw, you must familiarize yourself with its parts and what they are made for. 

Indeed, there are various models to circular saws, but if you pay close attention, they all have the same basic design.

So this is what you got to do with all circular saws: you hold it by its front and rear handles, and you use the trigger on the rear handle to control the movement of the blade. 

2. Get The Right Blade

Circular saws do not have one blade; they have many. So, choosing the right blade is an essential task. To select the right blade, you need to know the sizes of the blades and what they are used for.

For example, if you are going to cut nominal lumber for construction, you got to use 6.5 in (17 cm) blades. It is advisable to use 7.25 in (18.4 cm) blades if you are going to cut lumber up to 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) thick; whereas, 8–10 in (20–25 cm) saw are often reserved for heavy-duty industrial work.

3. Be Safe

Before even coming near a circular saw -or any other power tool, you must make sure that you stay safe no matter what happens. 

You can at least wear a pair of thick, rugged work gloves and safety glasses because you will not love it when small dust gets into your eyes. You might cut your limb off in that split of a second when you are technically blind. 

Moreover, if you are going to work for a long time, it is better to wear some ear muffs as well. 

In case you have sensitive airways, wear a dust mask to prevent yourself from inhaling sawdust and having difficulty with respiration later on in life. 

Also, do yourself a favor and wear the most comfortable clothes you have and tie up your hair. 

4. Mark Your Work Material Where You Will Be Making Your Cuts

It is always good to draw a straight line where you will be making your cuts. That way, you are sure that you’ll not make any wrong cuts. 

Use a straight edge or ruler and a carpenter’s pencil, pen, or felt-tipped marker to draw a straight line. Also, make sure they are bold enough so that you do not need to make an effort to see them while you are sawing. 

5. Place Your Material On a Saw Table Or Between Two Sawhorses

Are you worried about the blade cutting through your work surface as it passes through the material? Well, until now, you have had every right to be concerned about that, but you should not anymore. 

The simplest way to prevent that from happening is by making sure that the material you are cutting is well-supported and not obstructed by anything from underneath.   

Moreover, you should never place your material directly above an ordinary table, a bench, or on the floor unless you want to damage your work surface and your blade (and there is no good reason to do that!)

6. Set The Blade To The Desired Cutting Depth

Before you turn on the saw, use the central lever to set the blade at the desired cutting depth. 

First, Pull the shoe lever in between the two handles all the way down to disengage the baseplate and allow it to move freely. Then, place the baseplate against your material and raise or lower the blade until it stops at or just below the bottom of the material you’re cutting.

Setting the blade too deep will indeed make it work harder, but it will also leave so many teeth exposed, which is very dangerous.

My advice is to choose safety over speed, no matter the situation. 

Moreover, setting the blade to the correct depth will make you produce cleaner cuts with less friction. That way, you make sure that you will stay safe, you prevent the teeth from wearing down, and avoid leaving imperfections on the surface of your material. 

It is better to only set your blade 1⁄8 in (0.32 cm)-1⁄4 in (0.64 cm) below the bottom of your material.

If you’re sawing a piece of lumber that’s 1 in (2.5 cm) thick, for example, you will set your blade to a depth of 1.125–1.25 in (2.86–3.18 cm).

7. Adjust The Pivoting Scale To Angle The Blade For Beveled Cuts

To make a beveled cut along squared edges or to get the right contouring on oddly-shaped pieces, you got to unlock the scale that sits around the blade.

Do that by twisting the knob that is on the front end of the saw in a counterclockwise direction. Doing this will allow you to slide the scale to one of the angle presets indicated on the frame. 

You can also stop it anywhere along the way if you want to do a custom cut. 

When you adjust it to your desired angle, lock the scale again by turning the knob in a clockwise direction; otherwise, the scale may move when the blade comes in contact with your material. 

How To Use a Circular Saw: Making Precise Cuts

1. Position The Line On The Baseplate Labelled “0” Over Your Cut Line

If you are making a regular cut, you should always use the line that corresponds to the position of the blade when it is set to 90 degrees. 

Where to find this line? Well, on the front edge of the baseplate, there is a small notch that has a bold line on either side. The line that is on the left-hand side of the notch is the one you are looking for. It is labeled “0”. 

However, if you want to make bevel cuts at a precise 45-degree angle, then use the line labeled “45” on the right-hand side of the notch.

2. Activate The Circular Saw

Activate the circular saw by pulling the trigger on the rear handle. 

Some circular saws have an extra safety trigger near the top of the saw. If this is the case with your circular saw, flip it, then pull the handle trigger. 

The blade will immediately get spinning once you pull the trigger. Do not start cutting before the blade reaches its full speed, or before making sure that you have double-checked your measurements, and that the baseplate is appropriately aligned. 

If you are right-handed and want to have stability while you are working, I recommend that you hold the rear handle with your right hand and place your left hand on the front handle to provide additional stability as you work. 

If you are left-handed, simply do the opposite. 

3. Push Slowly 

You have to push the saw slowly and smoothly over the material you are cutting. Moving the saw quickly will increase the probability of mistakes and will cause the blade to become jammed with debris.

It would be best if you used both hands to move the saw straight down the cut line. The right-hand side of the baseplate notch must stay aligned with your cut line the entire time. 

On most models, the blade guard will automatically retract as you move the saw forward and will lower again when you lift it off of your work surface. 

Also, when you are making angled cuts, you can pull it back manually to keep it out of the way.

4. Release The Trigger After Each Cut 

Once you are done making your cut, release the trigger and wait for the blade to stop completely. 

You should keep your finger as far away from the trigger as possible when you are done cutting to avoid potential mishaps. 

5. Unplug The Saw

After you finish using the circular saw, make sure the blade guard is locked in the down position and then unplug the cord from the electric outlet in the wall. 

6. Store Safely

The best way to store a circular saw is to place it on a flat surface on its side and make sure that the blade is facing away from any nearby objects. 

Moreover, if you have children around, make sure the circular saw is inaccessible. 

Bottom Line:

Before using a circular saw, it is essential to make sure you know how to do that safely. 

Reread this article several times until you are sure you know you can handle the process. 
For info on how to be safe while using a circular saw, click here.

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