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How to use a circular saw safely

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Skill Level: Beginner

Introduction

Generally speaking, an electrical saw will cut faster and more accurately than a hand saw. Although circular saw attachments can be still be bought for electrical power drills, many handymen will have a circular power saw in their toolkit – along with a jig saw – both important pieces of equipment for the serious DIY enthusiast.  

 

Safety first

Power saws can save a lot of time, especially on bigger projects where there is a lot of cutting to do. Apart from learning how a power circular saw, or jig saw operates, you must also consider the safety factor. This equipment operates at extremely fast speeds so there are several important points to keep in mind before starting.
 
When using a power saw always make sure your work surface is stable and will not tilt, slide, or trip over when you are cutting! Keep electrical cables away from the saw blade and the line of cut when the saw is plugged in. Work comfortably – try not to use power saws when working at height if you can avoid it – and always wear eye protection. Cutting wood using a power saw can generate a lot of dust, so wear a dust mask and overalls. If you are working indoors…then use plenty of dust sheets as the dust will get everywhere.

Portable circular saws

Unlike a traditional hand saw, the blade of a power saw cuts on the up stroke, not the down stroke. When sawing through veneered or laminated wood make sure you lay this surface away from you, face down on the work bench otherwise you may chip and spoilt the decorative finish side. To do this, mark your cutting guide line on the underside of the board, the side that is not seen.
 
Power saw blades are designed to cut most efficiently when run at maximum speed, if you try and force the cut – you’ll only slow the blade down and put excessive pressure on the motor.

Using the circular saw

 

A good habit to adopt when using power saws, of any type, is to make your initial settings and adjustments before you pug the equipment into the socket, most certainly before you flick the switch!
 
The depth of cut you want is dependent on the thickness of board or timber. This is achieved by adjusting the sole plate to protrude about 3-4mm more than whatever thickness you’re sawing through.
 
Make sure before you start that there is clearance along the line you are cutting, you don’t want to blindly bring the blade into contact with any metal objects – this can cause mishaps – at the very least you may break or bend the saw blade.

 

Follow the guide

When cutting, use the sighting guide to ensure a straight, clean cut. Let the blade do the cutting, don’t try and push it too hard; always cut at full speed, you will find it so much easier.
 
If you are cutting a narrow strip from a piece of board or timber then you may be able to use the “fence guide”, if so there’s no need to mark a continuous line down the full length to be cut. In this instance simply measure and adjust the guide piece to the desired dimension, tighten the guide up – and your ready. However, this will only ensure a straight cut if the edge of the board or timber along which the guide is running is straight. The guide follows the edge, whatever its shape.

Cutting through wide boards

On wider boards it’s a good idea to pin or cramp a batten guide in order to provide a line to follow. This is easily done using a tape measure and pencil. It’s just a matter of measuring and marking accurately, making sure you end up with a parallel line to the outside edge of board.

Keep it tidy and safe

Circular power saws are quite an expensive piece of kit, but like most things, will last for a long time if handled and stored correctly. When you are finished with your saw give it a clean off, pack it up correctly, cables etc, and put it away in the box it came in. Stored like this there’s no chance of mice nibbling the cable making the tool dangerous the next time you want to use it.

Keep it tidy and safe

Circular power saws are quite an expensive piece of kit, but like most things, will last for a long time if handled and stored correctly. When you are finished with your saw give it a clean off, pack it up correctly, cables etc, and put it away in the box it came in. Stored like this there’s no chance of mice nibbling the cable making the tool dangerous the next time you want to use it.

Tools you will need:
DeWalt D23650K 65mm Circular Saw
DeWalt D23650K 65mm Circular Saw
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