Consider the kind of work you’ll be doing. Even the wimpiest saw may be sufficient for building the occasional birdhouse, but more ambitious construction projects require more power.
Circular saws are one of the most common power tools in use today. With the appropriate blade, circular saws are capable of cutting wood, steel, masonry, and ceramic tile.
- Plug-in or battery: A cordless saw leaves you unfettered by a power cord. Some of the latest perform far better than earlier models–at least until the battery runs down. But some are far less powerful and cut far more slowly. A weak saw can bog down on tough jobs such as thick hardwood. And a slow-cutting saw is frustrating when you have lots of wood to cut. Speed also affects safety. You’re more likely to push a slow saw, dulling the blade quickly and overheating the motor, or making the saw jam or kick back. That’s why we think most serious do-it-ourselves would be happier with a corded saw or even both corded and cordless versions. Expect to pay anywhere from about $100 to $150 for the best homeowner models.
- Try before you buy: Look for design points that make a saw easy to live with. These include good balance, a comfortable handle, a clearly visible blade and cutting guide, easy blade adjustment for depth and angle, and a handy on/off switch. Quality of construction can be harder to evaluate at the store, but it contributes to long, trouble-free performance. Look for a saw with durable roller or ball bearings, motor brushes that are accessible for servicing or replacement, and heavy-duty hardware.
- Safety counts: All the saws are loud enough when cutting to warrant hearing protection. And all kick up a lot of chips and dust, so wear safety glasses or goggles. Also, a circular saw blade can’t tell wood from fingers.
TYPES OF BLADES
- Plywood Blades: For cutting plywood. Has numerous fine teeth for a better, cleaner cut.
- Ripping Blades: or cutting parallel to the wood grain. Has fewer teeth and a large gullet.
- Crosscutting Blades: For cutting across the wood grain. Has more teeth and a small gullet for smoother cuts.
- Combination/All-Purpose Blades: For cutting across or parallel to the wood grain. Great for all-purpose wood cutting. If you need a blade for general use, this is the best blade for you as it can be used for a majority of woodworking applications.
- Fine-Tooth Finish Blades: For making extra smooth cuts.
- Hollow Ground Blades: For making smooth cuts across the wood grain.
- Dado Blades: For making grooves, dadoes and rabbet cuts in lumber.
- Thin Kerf Blades: For cutting dimensional lumber.
- Finish/Paneling Blades: For cutting paneling, veneer, plywood, laminates and plastics.
The features that count most make a saw safer and easier to use. Here are the circular saw features to look for.
- Carbide-tipped blade: Most saws now come with a carbide-tipped blade, which cuts faster and lasts longer than a plain steel blade. Fortunately, you can replace steel blades with carbide-tipped versions. Be sure to match the number of teeth to the material you cut: A blade with two dozen large teeth cuts quickly, but it can splinter the wood, while one with 40 or more fine teeth gives a slower but cleaner cut. The thinner the blade–referred to as its kerf–the faster the cut and the less wasted wood.
- Blade brake: This feature stops the blade quickly when you release the trigger, providing an extra margin of safety.
- Visible blade: For right-handed users, a blade mounted to the left of the motor helps you to see the blade and your cutting mark without leaning over the saw. (Lefties may want to look for a saw with the opposite configuration.) A notch in the upper blade guard also helps you to see the blade; a wide notch is less likely to clog with sawdust.
- Rugged base plate: A thick reinforced-steel or composite base is better than one made of thin, stamped steel.
- Long power cord: A 9- or 10-foot cord may make an extension cord unnecessary. Even if you need an extension cord, the extra length of the saw cord helps keep the cord junction away from your work.
- Easy blade changing: On some models, pressing a spindle lock button keeps the blade from turning, making it easier to change the blade. Without a blade lock, you have to hold the blade with a piece of wood or a gloved hand. Some models let you change blades without a wrench.
- Safety interlock: The safety interlock prevents accidental start-ups by requiring you to press a second switch to turn on the motor. Most corded saws and some cordless models have this interlock.
- Laser guide: Some corded and cordless saws project a laser line to highlight where you want to cut. Though manufacturers tout this feature, it’s only marginally useful. You still have to draw a line and keep a steady hand. And lasers are useless outdoors in bright sunlight.
Circular saws square measure a good tool for all types of home comes. however after you do not use one properly, this workshop essential will be dangerous. Circular saws accounted for quite fourteen,000 serious injuries in 2007, per the U.S client Product Safety Commission.
Use these commonsensical tips to form positive you employ your saw safely:
- Follow the fundamentals: Always use safety eyeglasses and hearing protection, and do not wear loose garments and jewellery. looking on what you are cutting, you’ll additionally want a respirator or dirt mask. And, remember, a saw isn’t a substitute for a series saw, and like any saw, you wish to put in the right blade for your specific cutting task.
- Use the proper blade: The general rule is to put in a cacophonous blade for cutting with the wood grain and a crosscut blade for cutting against the grain in dimensional lumber. further wood-cutting-blade styles address distinctive tasks like clean cuts in end trim or just cutting ply board. There are specialized blades to chop materials like concrete, metal, and tile. following time you wish to buy for a replacement blade, note the diameter of your current blade and its arbor form. If you are unsure that blade to induce for a specific job, elicit facilitate at the shop or check the manufacturer’s computer. Whichever blade you purchase, keep it clean and sharp. and also the blade ought to be flat with no bent or broken teeth. A uninteresting blade and bent teeth square measure potential causes of bribe, a jerking of the saw from your grip that may result once the fabric you are cutting binds the blade. bribe may also send the wood flying towards you.
- Adjust the saw: Whatever you are cutting, modify the saw beforehand so no quite concerning the peak of a saw tooth protrudes below concerning 1/8 of an in.. Use solely the maximum amount blade you wish to clear the fabric being cut, reducing the chance of bribe. must you have to be compelled to wait and see the guard to start a cut, keep yourself balanced, hold the guard open by hand (never secure it open), and unharness it as presently as you are past the purpose at that the guard would have interfered.
- Cut it straight: A cut will simply go awry if you are attempting to complete going off the cutting mark. limit a hand tool like associate metallic element bar and leave enough offset for the kerf of the blade–its thickness enumeration the additional clearance the teeth can want.
Be careful with the ability. Keep the ability wire off from the trail of the saw. Any cord you employ in ought to be rated for the electrical phenomenon of the saw. And if you are operating in your garage, outdoors, in a very damp or wet place, or close to any supply of wet, plug the saw into a GFCI-protected receptacle.
- Support what you narrow: Never cut something that may not supported below. higher still, having 2 supports on either aspect of the blade’s path–more if the lumber is long and skinny, like 2x4s or molding–helps make sure that the wood will not pinch the blade within the middle of a cut and cause bribe. limit something which may shift within the middle of a cut. Not having each hands on the saw is taking needless risks.
- Don’t force a cut” Should the blade begin to bind or block, do not force it although you are close to the tip. (You may hear a screech of warning.) Stop cutting right away, however wait till the blade stops spinning to drag the saw away. modify the fabric you are cutting or its supports to alleviate the imbalance, and check out once more.
- Be patient: Wait for the blade to prevent spinning fully before you set down the saw.
It’s necessary to recollect that every blade sort is intended to form bound varieties of cuts for a reason. they’re designed specifically for that specific cut and should not work well to form different kinds of cuts in different varieties of material. for example, a crosscutting blade shouldn’t be accustomed create rip cuts. It will be unsafe to use the wrong blade sure enough tasks, because the blade teeth and thickness might not be enough to chop bound materials and will cause issues throughout the cut. forever use the suitable blade for every variety of material.
BEFORE YOU BUY
There square measure many things to think about before shopping for a craft saw blade. continually think about the diameter required, and therefore the arbor size. the kind of wood is additionally vital (see the categories of blades list above). conjointly consider if you wish any type of coating on your blade. several blades square measure coated to stop corrosion and wear whereas increasing blade performance.