Jeff C
Jeff C
  • Hometalker
  • Broadview Heights, OH
Asked on Jan 30, 2012

What are some tips or advice to get over the nervousness or intimidation of using a circular saw?

Hamtil Construction LLCKMS WoodworksMiriam I
+10

Answered

Would love to add this tool to my arsenal of skills but for whatever reason, I am very intimidated by it and have yet to cut a piece of wood with it. I'm big on safety and don't want to cut my leg off
13 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jan 30, 2012

    As with any power tool, you need to wear protective gear...safety glasses, ear plugs etc. You also need to be familiar with the built in safety features, or lack of them. An understanding of how the tool works will also come into play. Circular saws normally have a blade guard that retracts as the tool is pushed into the stock. When the cut is complete the blade guard should retract. Circular saws are prone to "kick back" if the blade becomes "bound" this can be from off angle cuts, or the stock not being fully supported. I never set mine down until I have visually confirmed the blade comes to a full stop. As with sports and most activities practice and experience will improve your skill. buy a 2 dollar 2 x4 and practice some basic cross cuts...after a few of these try your hand at some angled cuts. Once you are comfortable with these you can move on to sheet goods. Keep in mind the angles and "binding" With sheet goods the off cut needs to supported for the entire cut...or held in place by an assistant .

  • I cannot add much more to what KMS said except to be sure that the quality of the wood support is important. If it moves it will bind the blade making it harder for the saw to do its job. So be sure that you properly support the board as you cut. When supporting and cutting. Never cut the board in middle of two supports it will bind the blade. Place the board so it hangs over the edge of the support so the cut side will drop off. You can put another support that is lower on the cut off board side so it does not fall onto the ground if you like. Last suggestion. You can set the depth of the saw. It should be set so the blade only sticks out about half the width of the tooth length. There is no reason to have it stick out any further. This makes the saw work safer as there is a less likelihood for it to hit something below the board that your cutting. As you gain experience using this tool, you will find that you will be able to make much harder cuts with much less effort. Also be sure to stand on the back left side of the saw. Not on the right side facing the blade. If its a plug in saw be sure to have enough wire available when cutting large plywood boards so it does not bind in the cut. last point is if for what ever reason the cord gets bound by getting stuck on something. Do not panic. Simply hold the saw still and release the trigger and let stop. Do not pull back on saw it will pop out or ruin you cut. Just turn it off and wait for it to stop turning. Leave it in the cut and correct the binding cord. pull back about half inch turn saw back on and continue with cutting until complete. In any case the newer saws tend to be a bit intimidating but really are pretty easy to operate. Is there any local night classes for woodworking in your area? Our local college and trade school has classes just for type of work. There you learn about shop safety and using power tools properly as well as safely.

  • ToolSelect.com
    on Jan 30, 2012

    Jeff, there are always risks with using a saw of any kind, but there are definitely some that are geared more towards beginners than professionals. We have a lot of reviews on circular saws, and every reviewer has tips and tricks that they use on the jobsite to avoid getting injured. You can also see the reviews on safety that people have left on our site. http://www.toolselect.com/search/category/Circular-Saws Always err on the side of caution, thinking safety first, and we think that you'll soon be able to consider yourself a saw expert. Perhaps you might start with a VersaCut from Rockwell? It will be a much easier transition for you. http://www.toolselect.com/videos/video/Rockwell-RK3440K-VersaCut-Circular-Saw-4.0-Amp-Real-User-Review

  • Clay B
    on Jan 30, 2012

    I too do not like these saws, I have a chop saw that can do a lot of jobs, so I only have to use the circular saw when I have to. Just always watch your cords, what's underneath, let the saw do the work, don't force it forward. If the saw blade ever binds, focus on controlling the saw, nothing else; then unplug it, then unbind it.

  • Can't add much more myself except to say that common causes of the blade getting bound up and/or kickback is that the board you are cutting is not properly supported. As you cut along the board with then begin to collapse on itself (for lack of a better way to explain it) and pinch the blade. Another one is trying to cut through knots in the wood.

  • Jeff C
    on Jan 30, 2012

    Thank you all for the advice and safety suggestions. I got the brand new rigid circular saw out and made my first two cuts, right on the pencil line! It's an exhilarating feeling to have finally accomplished this.

  • Faidra at CA Global Inc
    on Jan 30, 2012

    have someone else use it :)!

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc.
    on Jan 31, 2012

    Way to go dude! Keep a good blade on it. A builder friend almost had an accident using a dull blade. He was having to push through some harder wood when he hit a soft place in the board, advancing the saw quickly toward his hand. I feel the same about a table saw. Best, Chas.

  • Miriam I
    on Jan 31, 2012

    That's so awesome, Jeff! I know the feeling :)

  • Jeff C
    on Jan 31, 2012

    Here's a picture of my first two circular saw cuts. Soon after, I accomplished my goal of cutting an 8 foot book case in half. We are using the top half as a TV stand and the bottom half as a book case. It worked out well!

    q what are some tips or advice to get over the nervousness or intimidation of using a, tools, woodworking projects, My first two cuts with a circular saw I plan on inscribing the date and staining the piece of wood for histories sake
  • Miriam I
    on Jan 31, 2012

    Looks great!

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jan 31, 2012

    Welcome to the world of woodworking. You have earned your first merit badge.

  • Hamtil Construction LLC
    on Jan 28, 2013

    Way to go! It's perfectly natural to be intimidated. Power tools demand a healthy respect. Without respect and sensibility, accidents can happen! Biggest tip I can add is to just be sure to never start the saw with the blade in a bind and to support the workpiece fully.

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