Tips on using a circular saw


For those who have never used a circular saw before, getting over the 'fear factor' is simply a matter of unpacking the power tool, reading the instructions manual, and performing a few test runs.


A hand-held circular saw is a useful power tool to own. With a circular saw you can perform straight cuts in almost any kind of timber and board - quickly and accurately. Many beginner DIY enthusiasts tend to steer clear from buying a circular saw, but when used properly and within the recommended guidelines, a circular saw saves time and money on DIY projects in and around the home.


Safety first

  • It is very easy to become careless when using a circular saw, so it's important to keep in mind that, while today's circular saws are compact and designed to be easy to use, they still require your full attention when in use.
  • Make sure you understand the safety instructions that come with the tool, and follow them carefully whenever you are working.
  • Wear safety goggles


Tips for using a circular saw

  • Always ensure that the blade it is properly seated and tightened and that the safety guard moves freely to cover the blade when not in use.
  • Never use dull blades as they will bind to the wood and overheat.
  • Ensure that the wood is sufficiently supported on both sides and ends and clamp smaller pieces if you have to.
  • Check for knots or nails before cutting any piece.
  • When using a circular saw, switch on and start the blade before it meets the wood. Be comfortable when holding the unit - don't over-reach. Don't push the saw, simply guide the unit along the cutting line.
  • Electrical cables and cords should be positioned safetly out of the way.






When cutting straight lines, a straightedge, steel rule or strip of wood can be used as a guide. Securely clamp both edges of the straightedge to the work piece.



Rip cut

When project instructions refer to a 'rip cut', this is generally a term used to indicate a cut along the grain of the wood to cut large sections to the required size.




Cross cut

When cutting timber across the grain this is referred to as a cross cut. 


Plunge cut

When you need to cut out a section within timber or board, such as when cutting out for a kitchen sink, a plunge cut is performed. The shoe [base plate] of the circular saw is set against the surface, the circular saw turned on, and the blade slowly lowered into the material to be cut.


 Janice Anderssen

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