Things to Know Before Buying a Circular Saw
Alongside the drill and driver, circular saws are the workhorses of the building site. Whether you’re ripping planks, cross cutting timber or making bevelled cuts, you’ll be reaching for a circular saw every working day.
The Benefits of Owning A Circular Saw
Cutting timber with a handsaw is slow, tiring and hard to do well. If you want to avoid waving cut lines and repetitive strain injury, you should try out a good circular saw. With a bit of practice and a little know-how, you can set up your circular saw to cut through the hardest woods, plastics and even mild steel making precise cuts accurately and in seconds, without breaking a sweat.
You can spend hundreds of pounds on an ultra-reliable and accurate circular saw if you plan on doing a lot of work. Alternatively you can save money and buy a thoroughly decent budget machine if you’re just a DIYer. But whatever circular saw you choose, it’ll be much easier to make fast and precise cuts than with a hand saw.
If you think a full-size circular saw is too big for the job, or you need to get into tighter spaces, take a look at my guide to the best mini circular saws. They’re one of the handiest tools you’ve probably not thought about adding to your tool kit.
Corded or Battery Powered?
The quality and reliability of battery powered tools have come a long way in the last few years. As battery life has improved, more and more professionals and savvy DIYers have switched to cordless circular saws, drills, and even table saws. They’re convenient, incredibly portable and you can use them just about anywhere, as long as your batteries are charged up.
But if you’re the sort of person who wants to know that your power tool is ready to go at the flick of a switch, or you don’t need to work off-site, then corded saws are the way to go. Corded circular saws are generally less expensive and offer more power than battery powered tools as well. It’s all about how you plan to use your circular saw.
Getting the Most out of Your Circular Saw
One of the biggest problems that novice users of circular saws have is getting the most out of the tool itself. When set up properly, the circular saw will make quick and accurate cuts and be comfortable and easy to use. Always set your cutting depth to just below the material you’re cutting so the blade teeth have less work to do, and always clamp down your workpiece.
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Circular Saw FAQs
What’s a circular saw used for?
Whatever job you would associate a traditional hand saw with, circular saws can do it in a fraction of the time, and with a whole lot less effort. A circular saw is designed to make straight cuts in a variety of materials, using a powerful motor to spin a cutting blade at thousands of revolutions per minute.
How do I change my circular saw blade?
Check your user manual for the precise steps, but the common way to change a circular saw blade goes like this: Make sure your saw is unplugged or the battery is removed. Then, press and hold the spindle lock to stop the blade from spinning and use the included Allen key to undo the nut that holds the blade on. Then you can swap the blade out and replace the nut. Make sure you properly tighten the blade to stop it from slipping.
What type of circular saw blades are available?
One of the best ways to get the most out of your circular saw is to choose the correct blade for the job. Most blades are tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) and usually, the higher the number of teeth, the finer the cut it makes. Multi-material blades are available if you need to cut through plastics, metals and other materials besides timber.
Do I need any accessories for my circular saw?
For fast and accurate cuts in timber, the ultimate companion to the circular saw is a roofing square or speed square. A simple metal triangle with a stop on one end, you can hold it on a piece of timber as a guide and guarantee a 90° or 45° cut every time. Along with a decent set of clamps, you can replace a whole toolbox worth of other tools with a circular saw.
Do I need to wear any special safety gear?
You should wear the correct personal protective equipment whenever operating power tools. Even though most circular saws have basic safety features such as a blade guard, and are relatively quiet, you should wear appropriate ear and eye protection. It’s not usually a good idea to wear gloves when operating rotating equipment though.
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