How to Use a Circular Saw

A circular saw, or power saw, is great for cutting short and straight cuts in wood, or longer cuts with a track. Circular saws can be either right or left handed, and corded or cordless.

When operating a circular saw, it is very important to keep all safety protocol in mind; tie back long hair, remove dangling jewelry, don't wear baggy clothing, wear close-toed shoes, and always wear safety glasses. If you are working with a circular saw for a long period of time, ear protection might also be useful.

***Disclaimer: This Instructable is not intended to serve as a substitute for hands-on training. Always follow proper safety protocol in the shop and tool specific safety instructions***

Step 1: Set Up the Saw

Before you begin cutting, make sure to set up the depth of the saw blade and the angle of the cut. Always have the saw unplugged, or the battery removed, as you adjust the settings.

To adjust the blade depth, flip the lever on the side opposite of the battery, and adjust the foot to the appropriate depth. The blade depth should be set so that the blade reaches approximately 1/8-1/4" below the bottom of your material. This will ensure that you can cut completely through your material, but also that there will be less friction and exposed teeth.

To adjust the angle of the cut for beveled edges, turn the knob on the foot by the front of the saw counterclockwise to unscrew it. Slide the scale to the angle you are trying to achieve, and retighten the knob by rotating clockwise.

Step 2: Set Up the Material

Make sure you have properly marked where you want to cut your material with a pencil, and securely clamp the piece to either a sawhorse or the edge of a table. Make sure that the piece is set up in such a way that you will not run into any obstacles or the table with the saw as you cut.

Step 3: Make Your Cut

Once your saw and material are set up properly, line the blade of the saw up with the line that you plan on cutting.

Do not start cutting with the blade on the material; hold down the trigger on the rear handle with the blade a few inches off the material, and once the blade has fully accelerated, slowly push forward. If you try to start cutting before the saw has fully accelerated, you may experience kick back from the saw.

As you begin cutting, the material should naturally force the blade guard upwards. If this doesn't happen easily, you can manually raise the guard to keep it out of the way. This might be more necessary when making angled cuts.

Keep the blade on the waste side of the line as you cut, and make sure to watch the blade on your mark instead of the guide on the foot. The guide mark on the foot is less reliable and can be knocked slightly out of place, so watching the blade is the best way to make sure you are making the correct cut. If your saw has a front handle, use it to make sure you maintain even pressure on the foot as you cut; this will help make straight cuts.

Make sure to maintain speed until you have made it all of the way through the material. Let the blade come to a complete stop before setting the saw down.

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