Using a Circular Saw
Using a Circular Saw
The Circular Saw is a powerful tool in the workshop, at a construction site, and for any do-it-yourself home project. Learn what you should and should not be doing with the saw. Never let yourself forget that the power of the circular saw should be proportional to the care you give towards safety when handing the tool.
A circular saw is an essential tool for woodworking and home do-it-yourself projects. A versatile tool, circular saws can be used to cut through wood, metal, tile, concrete and plaster by simply switching out the blades. Cordless and corded circular saws are available from a variety of manufacturers. The cordless circular saws provide you with the added freedom of using it when electricity is not available or easily accessed. Plus, they eliminate the worry of keeping the cord out of the way when cutting.
Here's a great tip for beginning woodworkers with limited tools and big ambitions. Measure the distance from the edge of your base to the blade. Use this measurement to help setup the guide.
Here in the Eastern half of the country, sidewinder circular saws are the workhorse tools of most construction jobs. We do our framing with them, and unlike our Western cousins with their worm-drive saws, we use our sidewinders for everything from form work to trim. As a result, during the past 30 years of building, I've probably run more kilowatts through circular saws than through all my other power tools combined.
Most cuts start at one edge of a board or panel and go all the way to the other edge. A plunge cut, also called a stopped cut, starts (and usually ends) in the middle of the workpiece. Plunge cuts are also commonly used to cut into flooring, say, to add a heating register. To make a plunge cut safely, start by resting the front edge of the saw's base on the workpiece, as shown in the animation. Then, line up the saw blade with the cut line. Raise the blade guard, start the saw and slowly lower the back of the saw base so that the blade plunges straight down into the wood. Once the base is flat on the surface, proceed with the cut. To avoid sawing beyond the corner of a cutout, allow the blade to stop, lift the saw, and finish off the cut with a jigsaw or handsaw.
When you use your worm-drive or circular saw (sidewinder), have you ever wondered how these portable saws came about? Well, I have, so I spent some time turning over stones looking for the answers. It's both intriguing and interesting at the same time. In fact, I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at that time to have seen the whole event come together.
You can make your own straight-edge jig for cutting panels, but many cabinetmakers and installers recommend buying a specialized tool. What is the cheapest and easiest way to cut sheet goods? All I have is a portable table saw, etc. I need something to do the occasional outdoor kitchen and built-ins, etc. Looking to purchase something to rip and cross cut the boxes accurately and efficiently without getting into too much.