Circular saws are used for straight cuts in wood. They are extremely powerful and dangerous if used incorrectly. They are ideal for cutting manmade boards such as plywood and MDF and natural woods up to a size of approximately 60mm thickness. They are a necessary piece of equipment for heavy joinery work. They must be used safely as an accident with this type of equipment can be very serious.
- Robert Copcutt
- Mat Greenwood
- Hidde-Jan Lemstra
Health and Safety
- Power supply to be disconnected when changing blades.
- Be aware of were the blade is in relation to body parts.
- Wait for the blade to stop moving before putting the tool down.
- All cutting blades to be kept in their holders until they are required.
Slips, Trips and Falls
- Waste material/offcuts to be kept clear of work area.
- Equipment will be checked for defects before each use to minimise the risk of possible electrical faults or fire.
- Carbon Dioxide extinguisher to be available for any electrical fires
- The equipment will be checked before each use to ensure that there are no defects in the casing, battery or cutting head.
- Goggles, to be worn when using the equipment. Ear defenders and dust mask recommended.
- Fatigue contributes to most accidents so be sure to rest before it becomes a problem.
To get trained on the mitre saw and be added to the qualified user list, you will need to arrange for a training session with one of the circular saw owners.
Please watch these videos before coming to the training. How to Use a Circular Saw (Video). It covers the subject well, but he does 2 things we do not recommend. He is wearing gloves which could get caught and pull his hand into the blade. He also holds the saw with just 1 hand - OK with his small battery powered saw, but not with the Makespace mains powered one. Please always use 2 hands.
This short video shows the use of straight edge, but we recommend using a G clamp to hold it in place, not one hand as shown. circular saw basics (Video).
This is a gory video that illustrates how serious a kickback can be. Circular Saw Safety (Kickback)- Graphic Content! It it shows the cause as being trying to correct the direction of a cut that has gone off course. Another cause is incorrect mounting of the work which is a particular problem when there is a lot of wood on both sides of the cut. Clamp one side of the cut and make sure the other side is free to move away from the blade. For instance, to cut a large sheet of wood in half put 4 planks of wood on the floor. Use 2 to support the sheet on each side of the cut - one near the cut and the other near the end of the sheet. Clamp a straight edge to the sheet in the perfect position to guide the cut and then stand on one side of the sheet. As you walk along with the saw the other side will be free to move away enough to avoid pinching the blade.
Please also read the product manual; File:CircularSawManual.pdf
After removing the saw from its case the first check to make is that the electrical cable is in a save condition, and then that the blade guard is moving freely. It should spring back in place as soon as you lift the saw off the work. It should slide up smoothly as you push onto the work. Make sure it's in the DOWN position before you put the saw down on the bench. Be conscious that the tool is rather spherical in shape and it can easily roll around on the bench. Place it well away from the edge of the bench so that it does not roll off.
Support the material you are going to cut so that the blade will not hit anything underneath the cut as it is made. For example, do not lay a board on a floor or concrete slab for cutting. Sawhorses or a saw table are normally used for this purpose.
Mark the lumber you are going to cut to length, using a measuring tape, scaled rule, or stick rule, then use a square (either a steel square, tri-square, or angle square) to mark the path of the blade travel for the length of your cut.
Set the saw for the proper depth of cut. There is a lever for releasing the base plate. Don't have much more of the blade showing than you really need for the job you are doing. So to cut 40mm thick timber, set your blade to about 45mm or 50mm. This helps to minimize kickback.
The base plate can be tilted to make angled cuts (bevels). There are 2 thumbscrews for this adjustment and there is a scale which indicates the blade angle. Please reset to 0 degrees when finished.
If the position of the cut is not critical there are guide notches on the base plate that show you where the blade will cut. The right hand one is a guide for cutting with the blade set in the normal position, and the other one is for when the base is angled at 45 deg. Line the notch up to the pencil line. If the cut is more critical take the time to position a straight edge in exactly the right place using a pair of G clamps.
Before turning on the motor to start a cut be sure to pull the blade a bit away from the wood so that the motor is up to full speed before the blade touches the wood.
When cutting, after a quick check to the front of the blade, keep your eye on the guide all the time. This puts you in a natural position looking forward along the pencil line, and out of the way of any sawdust.
Keep the base of the circular saw flat on the timber when cutting. Very little force should be used while cutting, but a firm grip with 2 hands must be maintained to make sure you do not lose control of the saw if kickback occurs. Do not stand directly behind the cut, but to the side, so that if kickback does happen the saw will go past you, not into you.
Push the saw into the material with enough force to keep the blade cutting, but avoid pushing so hard the motor speed seems to decrease, or binding occurs on the blade. A sharp blade should pass through any but the hardest materials with minimal effort.
Be sure the lower blade guard returns to its position when you exit the cut. Even a blade guard in good condition will occasionally bind if a piece of debris from the cut becomes lodged in its mechanism.
Clean up all the dust when finished.
Tips & Tricks
- Be aware of the location of any power cords when operating a saw, keeping them behind the path of the cut at all times.
- Be aware of where cut off pieces of lumber will fall, to avoid injuries.
- Our saw is designed for right handed use, so your right hand operates the switch.
- When you place your wood before cutting, make sure the excess wood (the smaller piece) is free to fall away once cut. If you cut between two points of pressure, the wood is likely to squeeze the blade once cut, and your more likely to get a kickback.
- A circular saw will almost always kick straight back. Watch your body position. Keep slightly to the side, and never keep a hand behind the blade.
Every month inspect for damage and general wear and tear and asses state of stock blades and replace as needed.
Every six months the carbon motor brushes should be inspected for wear, and replaced as necessary.