Here are some of the mandatory safety precautions you should take before every operation. It’s strongly recommended that you follow these guidelines or else you’ll significantly increase the chances of injury.
Ear protection, safety goggles, and thick clothes are the three most important elements you should pay attention to when it comes to safety measures. Regardless of what type of circular saw you own, ear protection is mandatory. Some people decide not to wear earplugs because the lack of them doesn’t show results immediately, or even after a couple of months. However, hearing can be damaged gradually and almost unnoticeably. Once you find out that something is wrong with your hearing, more often than not it’s already too late.
Goggles are a pretty self-explanatory item. Sawdust seems pretty harmless, but you can rest assured that it can be an incredible nuisance, especially if it gets in your eyes. Not only do you risk infection, but sawdust can also cause irritation. Having it on your skin isn’t a big deal, but getting it in your eyes is a serious issue.
Thick clothes are recommended because they can prevent severe injuries caused by the blade. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing several layers, make sure you find something that is reliable and thick enough to repel a sudden contact with the blade. For example, a pair of old denim jeans would be a decent start. Needless to say, if you own professional outfit, don’t hesitate to wear it.
Choosing the Right Blade
There are several types of blades available on the market. The important thing you should remember is that there is no “right one,” it all depends on the application or what you want to cut with it.
If you’re using your circular saw occasionally in the backyard or to cut a piece of wood from time to time, there is no need to invest in specialty blades. They usually cost more than the general ones, and they have a pre-determined purpose. On the other hand, the combination blades are ideal for DIYers and beginners. Those blades are designed to cut through various type of wood without too many limitations.
Combination blades do a pretty good job of cutting just about any type of wood, but having a specialized blade is usually a much better option if you’re aiming to tackle a specific project. In simpler words, if you’re only planning on cutting plywood and nothing else, it’s recommended that you opt for a specialized blade instead of going with the combination type.
How Many Teeth Should My Blade Have?
One of the most frequent questions asked by novices is – How many TPI should I aim for? TPI stands for teeth-per-inch, and the story is similar to our previous advice related to choosing a proper blade. In other words, there is no perfect or desirable TPI, it all comes down to what you want to cut.
The general rule of thumb here is – the more teeth, the smoother the cut. However, it’s not always the best option to go with, by any means. The problem with too many teeth on a blade is the fact that high concentration causes less aggressiveness and speed. The more teeth a blade has, the slower and less aggressive the cut will be.
When it comes to the smaller number of teeth, it’s a great solution for people who aren’t looking for high precision or smoothness. If you decide to use a blade with low TPI, you can expect quicker results but with questionable precision.
The best advice one can give you is to have a couple of different blades by your side at all times. That way, in case you want to make a smoother cut but have a low TPI blade mounted on the saw, all you have to do is replace the disk, and that’s it. You can imagine how stressful it can be not to have a proper blade handy, especially if you live far away from a hardware store. The key is in thinking about multiple solutions with minimal effort involved.
Dust Can be Dangerous
While it seems pretty irrelevant, dust and debris can cause serious issues, even if you’re wearing the necessary equipment such as protective glasses. If you can’t afford to invest in an extractor or a vacuum that can be mounted on the saw itself, make sure you take a break between cuts and eliminate the accumulated sawdust and debris.
The high number of rotations per minute causes a swirl of air around the machine at all times. It’s usually a good thing because it can act as a dust eliminator, but it can also pose a threat for the same reasons. As we already mentioned, getting sawdust in your eyes is always a bad thing. Also, every time you finish a particular project, make sure you blow or vacuum the dust from the unit and clean it thoroughly. That way, the next time you decide to utilize the saw, you won’t have to hassle with debris that got stuck after the previous project.
Use Additional Equipment
Things like clamps, measuring instruments, and squares can make the cutting experience much better, safer, and easier. For example, a pair of clamps can come in handy if you don’t have the necessary tools to keep a piece of wood in place during the cut. As you can assume, working on a wobbly surface is a severe violation of safety rules which can consequently lead to injuries and even death. It doesn’t matter how big or robust your circular saw is, you should never underestimate its power. Most people that do that usually end up with a nasty cut or a missing finger.
Measure Everything Twice
The old saying “Measure twice, cut once” is the thing you should keep in mind while utilizing a power tool. Many people think that this rule indicates that you should not waste material, but that’s not all. Make sure you double-check the surface, blade, and everything else before you decide to make the final cut. Double-checking is a great method for injury prevention, and of course, material saving.
Make sure there are no tangled cables or anything that could prevent you from reacting fast to an unplanned occurrence. A significant percentage of woodworking injuries are caused by the user’s negligence and unpreparedness.
Accuracy is not easily achieved
Instead of cutting a piece of wood immediately, make sure you’ve fine-tuned the machine and have set it up correctly. That means you should be aware of the cutting depth and bevel angle on the unit at all times. Going slightly off on either of these settings can result in underwhelming accuracy and precision. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, working with the wrong settings will always yield unfavorable results.
As you can tell, there are plenty of things you should be aware of when handling a power tool such as a circular saw. These units might not look intimidating and dangerous, but you can rest assured that the high RPM blade will not forgive any mistakes. In fact, even the slightest oversight can cause severe consequences, and you should aim to prevent such scenarios by double-checking and properly handling the machine at all times.
People get relaxed after a couple of cuts, and most of them lose focus only a couple of minutes after turning the unit on. As you can assume, it’s dangerous to lose concentration in any moment let alone during the cut. Make sure you stay on point and avoid listening to music while working. It’s not a bad thing per se, but it can definitely be a concerning safety factor, especially if you’re prone to losing focus easily.
This particular guide doesn’t contain everything you should ever think about when utilizing a circular saw. However, the things we have mentioned can be considered fundamental and crucial. There are other techniques and ways to prevent bad things from happening, and we strongly encourage you to conduct research on the matter and get more familiar with the risks and possible outcomes on different occasions.