If there’s one tool that’s likely to impress visitors to your home workshop, it’s the circular saw. Coming with a serrated metal disc that spins thousands of times every minute, it’ll make fast, accurate cuts in a range of materials. Companies like Mars Supply can help you ensure that your circular saw gets the job done properly with powerful saw blades and other metal cutting tools.
But there’s a reason that many DIYer’s hesitate before taking the plunge with the circular saw, and that’s the danger involved. Anything that can slice through wood so easily, after all, will do the same thing to fingers and thumbs. Along with ladders, it’s among the most dangerous DIY tools available. This caution is worth listening to, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of you using the circular saw, as it can add real value to your workflow, and it’s perfectly safe if you know what you’re doing. SGS Engineering have penned a fantastic breakdown of the device and how to safely use it – and the Health and Safety Executive provides great advice for woodworking in general.
If you’re just looking for an at-a-glance guide, there are a few rules to follow.
Keep your Eye on the Blade
The number one rule of the circular saw is that you need to keep your eye on what you’re cutting. The most powerful piece of safety equipment you have is your brain, so be sure to engage it. Whenever you’re cutting, you should be looking at what you’re doing.
Stand to One Side
Many circular saws will kick back slightly (or, significantly) when they first bite into the workpiece. Stand slightly to one side of the device to prevent it from kicking back into your body. You can also clamp the workpiece so that you can keep both hands on your tool.
Check the Blade Guard
When it’s working correctly, your blade guard will automatically spring back into position, covering the teeth of the blade. Check that it’s working correctly before you do anything with the saw.
Adjust the Depth
The more you’re taking off an item in one go, the greater the risk of the blade binding with the wood and kicking back. Adjust it to match the depth of the wood you’re cutting, and then go just a few millimetres further.
Keep Cables Tidy
Trailing cables are a hazard in any workshop. Spend some time consolidating your leads in a single space, and make sure they can’t be tripped over by installing covers. That way, you’ll be able to wheel supplies over the top of them without fear of breaking them, too.
Personal Protective Equipment isn’t just for limiting the spread of deadly diseases – it’s also for keeping sawdust out of your eyes and mouth. That means goggles and a facemask.
Support the piece
Whatever you’re cutting should be adequately supported. This will prevent it from falling away after you’re done cutting. If it does that, it’ll tend to happen before you’re done, causing unsightly tears in the timber. This is not only dangerous – it’ll mean your work is ruined.
Check for Nails
There’s nothing quite as likely to damage your saw blade than contact with a stray piece of metal. This often occurs when nails, or pieces of nail, remain embedded in the timber. Check carefully, and remove any nails you find manually, before you start cutting. You’ll not only reduce the chance of a kickback, you’ll also extend the lifespan of the blade.