Learning to use a circular saw safely and effectively gives you a useful and interesting hobby. The circular saw is a sophisticated and effective instrument that will help you build a range of beautiful products, from shelves to pieces of art. For beginners, a circular saw may seem more complicated and less comfortable compared to a puzzle, but do not worry! We will help you learn how to cut with confidence, safety and enjoy your skills.
First, let’s see what a circular saw is. Actually, it is a blade with a safety protection around it, driven by a motor, which creates a circular movement to cut. Broadly speaking, circular saws can be divided into two types, side saws and helical saws. The sidewinder has a compact shape and the motor is located along the blade.
Due to its smaller size, this type of saw is less powerful compared to larger models. For the same reason, it is less durable, therefore, if you are picking up an instrument for intensive use, this is not the type you need. Buy a sidewinder in case you need a light and simple instrument for occasional use.
The worm saw is larger and the motor is located behind the blade. This saw can handle hard materials without overheating. Overheating should be avoided for safety reasons: when the saw slows down during hard work and warms up, the blade dulls quickly and the quality of the cut decreases drastically. In the end, the sheet can kick and hurt you.
Quick start checklist
Is this the first time you’re going to do carpentry? If so, it means that you still do not have the necessary tools. We recommend trying a universal and affordable tool that feels comfortable in your hands. It will help you gain some experience and then you can select a specific model or models according to your own needs and requirements.
When you are a beginner, it is best to start with simple wood jobs and proceed to more complicated tasks when you feel more secure. Once you have your tool at hand and are ready to start, the best way to overcome your fear is to perform some tests to feel how it works. After that, you can proceed to your first job.
It is very important to follow the safety rules when using a circular saw, so here is a small checklist for you to read:
- There are two critical points that you should keep in mind: safety and protection. Although modern saws are designed to be compact and safe, this is still an instrument that requires your full attention.
- Before each use, inspect the saw to make sure it is not damaged. Do a safety check of the blade and replace it if you see any broken or chipped teeth.
- Inspect the cable and, please, do not forget to unplug it before performing any operation on the blade, such as cleaning or replacement.
- The quality and speed of the cut depend on the condition of the blade. For best results, make sure the sheet extends less than? Inches beyond the edge of the board. Adjusting the blade too deep can force the saw link and kick back.
- Never use a rusty or damaged blade! The selection of the sheet is important and you will find more information on how to select a good sheet for your carpentry below.
- Check if your blade is sharp enough and sharpen if necessary. A sharp blade is safer and works more effectively. On the other hand, a dull blade could join the wood and overheat.
- Make sure the blade is well seated and that the safety guard moves easily to cover the blade when not in use.
- Be sure to place the saw in a secure position. There is no strict rule regarding the cutting direction, but you must keep the saw motor oriented towards the larger part of the board; This will provide the best support for the saw plate.
- Make sure the blade is turned correctly.
- Check your sheet or board to see if there are nails or knots before cutting.
- Remove all cables from the cutting area and make sure they are not damaged.
- Put on a mask or safety glasses to protect your skin and eyes from damage.
- Long sleeves in addition to gloves (gloves are necessary) will give your hands extra protection.
- There is a risk of inhaling the dust, so using a respirator or mask can be useful.
- Hearing protection can be considered, as some jobs may not be as quiet.
Tips and tricks that help achieve the best results.
When you gain some experience and are good enough to proceed to a more complicated and sophisticated job, it’s time to start learning secrets that will help you improve your skills and create masterpieces of wood art. For a safe teacher, a good circular saw can go through any material: foam, plywood, PVC. With a diamond disk you can even cut the stone! Circular saws can be configured for composite or beveled cutting and can even replace a table saw in many jobs.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Start again if the line of cut was lost. Do not try to get back on the line since this will be difficult, especially if you are a beginner. Remove the blade and start again. After some attempts, you will cut beautiful straight lines without much effort.
- Do not use easels when cutting heavy boards – With heavy pieces, it is easier to cut them when they are in place instead of cutting into easels. Place the board on your toe and lean on it, but make sure you are cutting more than 10 inches from your foot.
- Avoid pinching to cut leaves, it is necessary to provide support to avoid recoil, which usually happens if the saw blade gets stuck in the cut. When cutting on trestles, be sure to place the saw outside the pair of ridge. Position the board or sheet so that the longest part does not fall when cut.
- Continue cutting to a safe level and avoid cutting to a level higher than your chest. Otherwise, you will not be able to hold the saw safely. For tasks that require cutting at a higher level, you must raise a hand saw.
- Beware of splinters – This can occur on the top surface of the board or sheet, and can be unpleasant if you drive expensive woods. To avoid this, place the table with the visible surface facing down. In this way, in this case, if fragmentation occurs, it will affect the back. You can also mark a cut line with the help of a utility knife, which will help you make a smooth cut. For a more pleasant appearance, support the board all the way, so that it does not allow the falling piece to attract a splinter of wood.
- Cut the same pieces together – When you need to cut several pieces of the same size, place the sheets one on top of the other and make sure all the edges are aligned. Then hold or fix the stack to prevent it from moving and cut all the sheets at the same time.
- When you need to cut a straight line, you can use a metal ruler or a wooden strip as a guide
Important features when selecting the correct blade.
If you are a beginner and do not have the guidance of an expert in circular saws, selecting the right blade can be a bit difficult. There are different types of saw blades designed for different materials, types of cutting and for saws of different powers. Then, one of the most important characteristics when selecting, is the diameter and type of the blade. You just need to make sure it is compatible with your circular saw model.
Here is a brief guide that will help you find the correct sheet:
- Hand saws accept smaller diameter blades, usually 4 to 7 inches;
- a tile saw will require a diamond blade with a diameter of 7-10 inches;
- table saws require 10 or 12 inches and the blades for table saws must have a carbide tip;
- Metal cutting saws usually use 14-inch blades.
Another important feature is the RPM (or rotation per minute). For example, smaller sheets have higher RPMs, while larger sheets have lower RPMs. The recommended RPM of the saw must be lower than the recommended RPM for the blade. Note that the RPM of the saw does not directly indicate its cutting speed, so a higher RPM does not mean it will cut faster.
The diameter of the blade will affect the speed because the edge of the larger blade will move faster compared to the edge of the smaller blade, since it covers a greater amount of distance at the same time. On the other hand, do not rush to pick up a larger blade, since you should also consider the desired cutting quality. Therefore, when looking for the appropriate RPM indicator, consider the material on which you will be working.
To do this, you must calculate the SFM figure, which is “Surface feet per minute”. The formula is the following:
SFM = (diameter / 12) * O * RPM
Generally, for wood material you will need an SFM of approximately 5000 to 8000, while for metals it will be less than 1000.
Also, pay attention to the cut line indicator when selecting a tool. This is designed to help you see where your sheet is going while you are cutting. Without it, it will be more difficult for you to cut a straight line. The cut indicator can usually be found on the motherboard and looks like two small notches. However, there are some cases where you will not be able to see the cut indicator. For such cases, a small window that shows you where the sheet is would be useful, so look it up. Do not hesitate to grab the tool and check if it seems convenient.
Next, take a look at the motherboard. What material is it made of? Magnesium base plates are more resistant, but can break if you drop the saw. On the other hand, an aluminum base plate can bend when you need it most, while the plastic base plates are resistant and shock resistant.
Regardless of the material, the base plate must be flat along its length and width and must have a straight edge. At the end, take a quick look at the guard. Protections with sharp or rough edges can get stuck on wooden surfaces during cutting and will have difficulty lifting.
When it comes to what you are going to cut, you should also pay attention to the type of blade. Different types of material work better with different types of blades. For example, there are blades designed to cut wood, plastic and acrylic, metal and multiple materials. Here are some types you may need:
- Rip Cut is cutting along the wood grain; consequently, the cut blades are designed to cut along the grain: these blades have a smaller number of teeth specially designed to cut aggressively;
- The cross cut blade is for cutting the grain and has around 40 to 80 teeth that are designed to provide a clean cut;
- The combined blades are used to make cuts both crossed and torn, as they have groups of teeth separated by throats.
Since the teeth make the cut more than the disc itself, you have to take into account its shape and number. This is another aspect of the blade that will impact your cutting work. The greater the number of teeth, the more precise the cut will be. In addition, the shape of the teeth defines the quality of your cut. For example, the alternative top bevel type is good for fast cuts of rough wood found along the grain. Multi-material blades are good for cross-section and the blades of the radial arms have a negative angle to avoid automatic feeding.
How to care for your blade
No matter what type of blade you choose, it will require the right attention to give you a precise result and allow you to work safely. Here are some rules to follow:
- To protect teeth from splinters or breaks, you should try to avoid contact while the blade is stored.
- Sharpen the blade regularly and ideally, you must have an additional blade on hand to make sure you can replace a blunt blade immediately when necessary.
- When doing wood work, always place your saw on a flat surface between the cuts; Never put it on the ground.
- Never remove a chain saw from the board and never try to back it up while running. Always stop the blade before lifting it.
Cleaning is very important to keep the blade in good condition and give it a longer life. Do not use aggressive materials for cleaning, such as metal brushes or steel scrapers. The blades withstand tremendous force and the use of materials like that can compromise the integrity of the blade. If necessary, use better plastic cleaners or a brass bristle brush.
Why is cleaning so important? In the case of a saw blade, this is not just a matter of hygiene. When in use, the blade is contaminated with pieces of sap, pitch, dirt and dust, which adhere to the body of the blade. If they are not removed, they add more friction, which, in turn, makes the heat of the blade easier during use. In addition, the dirty blades cool more slowly, which leads to a more rapid dulling and, eventually, distortion of the blades.
Keep in mind that even the sharpest blade would be sharp enough to cut human flesh, so take all appropriate measures during cleaning.
Useful cleaning products.
To clean the blade effectively and safely, you can consider a special fluid designed to clean the blades. You can also try a household cleaner (those that are not aggressive), but for extreme impurities, it may not be enough or require additional cleaning.
To scrub, use a cleaning pad made of nylon. If you are the happy owner of a coated blade, always make sure that your cleaning product and cleaning material are friendly to the blade layer. It does not matter if you use an aerosol cleaner, liquid or just soap and water, it is very important to dry the blade after cleaning it. And, of course, the last important parameter of cleanliness is regularity. It will help you keep your blade sharp and safe for longer.
Among the other instruments in his shop, the circular saw is not the easiest, but it is tough, economical and can be used for a variety of applications. It will take some time to get the experience and confidence of a teacher, but in the end, the circular saw will become one of your devotees helpers in carpentry. From plywood to stone, no material will be impossible for you. Follow the safety rules and carpentry will become your favorite hobby.