V. Ryan © 2006 - 2023

Circular saws are used for cutting woods to size . 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 30mm thickness. They can be used to cut kitchen tops and materials for furniture and windows. 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.
The safe use of circular saws are outlined below. Remember, before operating any power tools you must receive training from a suitably qualified instructor.
1. Always plug power tools into a RCB (circuit breaker) as a safety measure against electrical faults.
2. Wear goggles to protect eyes from dust/chippings and a face/dust mask to prevent breathing in dangerous dust particles.
3. Always read the manufacturers instructions very carefully and follow them.
4. Always seek instruction / training from an appropriately qualified instructor before using any tools, especially power tools.
5. Make sure that the mains cable cannot be tripped over or that it causes a hazard in anyway.
6. G Cramp the material to be cut/shaped to a firm workbench before starting.
7. Fit an extraction bag to the circular saw if one is available. This will collect most of the dust.
8. Keep hands and fingers away from the rotating blade.
9. Before plugging in to the mains, check the condition of the blade. Do not use the saw if the blade looks damaged or worn.
A basic hand held circular saw is shown below. Most circular saws have a laser to help the operator guide the saw accurately, in the chosen direction. The retractable guard helps cover the rotating blade so that hands and fingers are relatively safe. The base plate rests on the material to be cut and can be altered to give a variety of angles (normally 90 to 45 degrees). Whilst in use, if the switch lock is pressed, the trigger finger can be removed from the ON/OFF switch and the blade will still rotate and cut. This makes the circular saw more comfortable to use.
Circular saws are possibly the most dangerous power tool of them all. Never use one until you have received proper instruction from a suitably qualified person.
1. The circular saw is normally used for heavy and substantial work where ‘thick’ materials are being used. It is advisable to use lighter tools such as jigsaws for less heavy work - this is a safer option.
2. Inspect the wood to be cut very carefully especially if the material is second hand. Remove nails and screws from the material before cutting with a circular saw. Potentially serious accidents can take place if the rotating blade of a circular saw hits a steel screw or nail.
3. Never use the circular saw with one hand and rest the other in front or at the side of the saw. A circular saw will cut through flesh and bone quickly. Keep hands and fingers well away from the blade. It is advisable to control the circular saw with both hands. This keeps the saw under control and at the same time keeps hands and fingers away from the rotating blade.