Circular Saw 101- Safety First
Safety is one of the most important aspects to consider when you begin working with any sort of power tool. Cutting tools like circular saws can be some of the most dangerous of all household tools. The first thing you will need to do when beginning a job with a circular saw is gathered your safety equipment.
Safety glasses are a priority when cutting wood or metal. Safety glasses should be the first thing that you put on before beginning your work. If you are wearing loose clothing, remember that sleeves and shirt-tails should be taped or tucked before you operate any type of saw. Getting clothing caught in a circular saw can cause injury. Protecting your eyes and your hands will make your sawing experience much more pleasant.
Clamps and sawhorses are also important safety equipment when working with a circular saw. Remember that you never want to cut wood or metal against any surface that could damage your saw blade, cause sparking or even cause your saw blade to bounce. Using clamps to hold your project steady will help to protect your hands and arms from the fast-moving saw blade. Sawhorses allow you to raise your working area to a height that is comfortable for your body. Using a circular saw on the ground is definitely a good way to invite trouble. Sand and other debris can fly up while your blade is turning, causing splinters to hit your face and body.
Choosing the correct blade for your project is also an important safety consideration. A blade designed for wood can shatter tile or masonry. Flying shards of concrete can damage you and your project. A blade that is incorrectly balanced can cause your circular saw to shudder or jerk in your hands. This can also add danger to the job.
Circular Saws and Guide Use – How to Correctly Use a Saw Guide
A circular saw generally has a guide attached to the saw itself. This guide moves as you use the saw and should spring back into place when the saw is removed from a cutting surface. It is important never to remove the guard from your circular saw. Set your saw for the proper cut depth before using the saw. This way you will not need to adjust the saw while you are working. Mark the lumber before beginning your cuts. Use your guide to line the blade up with the markings that you have made of the wood. Looking closely at the guide while you are working also minimizes the chances that you will place anything in front of the moving saw blade.
The guide on the blade will protect your hands from the open side of the circular saw. Even though you have a guide, remember to keep your hands at least 3-4 inches from any cut that you are making. Many people have lost fingers to circular saws, so this is definitely a priority. Your circular saw cutting guide should have 2 notches in the front of the guide. The notch to the right side of the guide is used to line up the blade for normal flat cuts. The notch to the left side of the guide is used for angled cuts such as 45-degree cuts. Using the correct guide notch is important as it will make your cuts cleaner and steadier.
Circular Saw Usage Tips for the Beginner
- Always use your safety equipment. Remember that safety glasses are a number 1 priority when it comes to using a circular saw.
- Keep your hands away from the blade, especially when in operation. A saw blade can rotate at 3,700 rpm or more. It is very important that you keep all body parts away from moving blades.
- No loose clothing. Clothing that is hanging can become snagged in a spinning saw blade.
- Use your blade guide to line up your cutting area. Following the guide is the best way to ensure that cuts are clean and accurate.
- Keep your guide well lubricated. A guide that snaps back into place when you are finished using it will be ready to go when you want to make your next cut.
- Choose the right circular saw blade for your project. Masonry blades should be used for concrete, wood blades should be used for wood, there is a reason that these blades come in different styles.
- If you are holding the circular saw with your right hand, the blade should be on the left side of the saw. If you are holding the saw with your left hand, make sure the blade is to the right of the saw.
- Keep your fingers off of the start switch until you are ready to make your first cut. Do not remove the moving blade from the work area until the blade has come to a stop.
- If you need to adjust the saw blade, unplug your circular saw. This is the only way to be sure that you will not hit the start switch while you are moving the blade. If you have a cordless circular saw, take the battery out of the saw.
- Make sure that the saw blade is only 1/4 of an inch below the surface that you are cutting. The further the blade comes out below the cutting area, the more dangerous it becomes. Never use your body or hands to hold the wood that you cut. Sawhorses are the perfect rest of wood.