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Circular Saw


Circular saws are used a great deal in the construction industry simply because they give the operator flexibility. Capable of being held in one hand even while making cuts, a circular saw can easily adapt to a wide variety of materials like wood, plastic, composite board and aluminum soffit with a quick change of a blade.

A circular saw is also at the top of the list for dangerous saws because it has a nasty kickback that is directed backwards and towards the operator. There are some specific things to keep in mind when operating a circular saw.

  1. Make sure the piece of wood you are cutting is held securely in place. If the wood is moving while making a cut is dramatically increases the chance of kickback.

  2. ALWAYS make sure the waste piece of wood is free to fall after the cut is made. If you support a board across two saw horses this means making the cut "outside" of the two horses, not in the middle of them. This is GUARENTEED to cause a kickback as the board binds the blade.

  3. Always push forward while making the cut. If you stop or back up it is likely that you may have a binding situation.

  4. Make sure the blade guard it in proper working order. If it sticks in the up position an injury can result from setting the saw down before the blade comes to a stop.

This is by no means a complete safety list for a circular saw but it does cover some of the bigger DON'Ts. Read the manual that comes with your tools for full operating instructions.

For all the precautions that should be considered while operating a circular saw it is a wonder that people still use them. The truth is that if, like every other tool, it is operated in the intended manner it is quite safe and the benefits it gives makes it a great tool.

Circular saws also have a functional purpose in the shop. When used with a guide fence that is clamped onto the piece of wood it can make an otherwise unmanageable job simple and quick. Trim saw, which are smaller versions of circular saws are designed specifically for these purposes.

A variation to the circular saw is the panel saw. A panel saw is a basic saw mounted onto a carriage that enables it to cut perfectly square panels. Wood is place into the panel saw in the standing or vertical position and the saw makes the cuts using a downward direction of travel and takes advantage of gravity to move the saw through the cut. Panel saw kits are becoming quite popular since they are a less expensive option then buying one from the factory.

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