Circular Saw Safety Advice

I just bought my first circular saw and would love to hear some safety advice from the seasoned pros. I have enough fear of the tool to treat it with the utmost respect, but words from the wise would be highly prized.
-Fleemo
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

don't stick your tongue on the spinning blade ;)
(or any other body part)
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First, pay attention to your surroundings. Solid non-slick surface to stand on. Nothing to catch the cord on (if it's corded). No distractions. Goggles or face sheild. Hearing protection. Next, take no action likely to bind the blade in the wood, causes kickbacks. Like trying to cut a curve, or cutting unsupported wood. What you are cutting needs to be supported on both sides of the cut, such that the cutoff doesn't tip after the cut either. A good method for plywood is to set up saw horses or saw on the ground if you're limber, with either several boards under, or boards and a layer of foam insulation. You can cut slightly into the foam many times before replacing it. A saw guide, as in long stiff straight edge you can clamp to your wood is helpful for accurate cuts. Never remove or disable the blade guard. That's all I can think of off hand. Anything I missed, guys?
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I have to disagree with the part about supported wood. It is common and very safe to cut off pieces. In fact it is better than your suggestion which is more likely to create kickback. Beyond that, a usenet forum is a bad place to get this level of advice. You really need to spend a short amount of time with someone who uses circular saws a bit and get the one on one, first hand coaching you need. I credit the OP with asking, but he's better off hooking up with a carpenter for a weekend and learning the right way.
--

-Mike-
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On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 20:22:48 -0500, "Mike Marlow"

Wouldn't that depend on what you are cutting ?
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wrote:

Perhaps, but the post I responded to made a blanket statement that cutoffs were dangerous. That is patently untrue.
--

-Mike-
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Make sure you know where BOTH hands and all ten fingers are at all times. Don't forget about your legs, feet, whatever is close to what you're cutting. Look before you cut. Think where the saw is going to go, and make sure it can't saw into any part of you.
Don't try to plow through the cut faster than the saw wants to work. Take it at a smooth, steady pace.
If you do feel it starting to kick back, or you hear it making straining, binding noises, do NOT press on! STOP immediately, take a step back, and re-evaluate the situation. Figure out what's causing the trouble, such as a kerf that wants to close behind you due to wood movement, improper work support, nails, etc.
I think perhaps most of all: be afraid. You're holding a pit viper just behind it's head. It can't bite you if you handle it right, but if you screw up, it can maim or kill you. Never forget that it's a pit viper. I'm a firm believer in keeping visions of severed fingers and femoral arteries firmly in mind before squeezing the trigger. Think twice, cut once, carefully.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Hey Fleemo - I replied to another poster's reply, but I thought I'd also reply directly to you. Usenet is a bad place to start out with this type of need. There is a lot of wisdom in this group but some things just can't be learned properly without a guiding hand right there by your side. I'd strongly urge you to hook up with a friend, a relative, a neighbor, a carpenter - anyone who has been using tools like this for a while and spend a few hours with him. If you stopped by the first house you find under construction, I'd almost guarantee the carpenters on the site would be happy to show you the basics of safe circular saw operations - for free. Much better than trying to discern differing advice, opinions, etc. that will come your way in a forum like this, and certainly better because you'd have a skilled hand right by your side. Sorta helps if you're on your way to one of those major catastrophe things.
--

-Mike-
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Fleemo,
To acquire the needed proficiency in using any dangerous tool can be maximized with soliciting all possible forms of input regarding the topic. First start of with the one that most do not advocate. It is called reading. Read books from your library about wood working and the tool, second and should be first read the manual that came with the tool it is very thorough. Why is it thorough? The company does not want to get sued.
Once you have acquired the need syntactical information, ask questions in a forum and you can compare your answers. In no way does working someone reveal proper safety when working with dangerous tools. People are erroneous, lazy and complacent. To decrease you chances of serve physical and emotional harm due to loosing an extremity requires the antithesis of human nature.
Lex

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sued.
a
You stand right by your PC Lex and catch him as he's about to make a mistake. Discouraging this fellow from seeking a guiding hand is one of the stupidist things I've seen here yet.
--

-Mike-
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Its easy to be so focused on the spinning blade that you forget where the cord is and end up cutting it off. Some people drape the cord over their shoulder to keep it out of the way. Also be sure that the cord is not going to get hung on the back edge of the board, if you are cutting sheet goods. There's nothing more disconcerting than to be 2/3 way through a cut and feel the jerk of the cord as the plug hangs up on the board edge.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net writes:

I'd put it a bit differently, be cautious and be very, very respectful of what it is capable of doing which is maiming the user. That might translate the same as be afraid.
Glenna
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On 3 Jan 2005 16:13:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

A while back i posted an account of a builder who went up a ladder with a circ saw to cut some birdsmouths. He tied the cover back so he could lean out with one hand with the trigger locked on....
By now you have probably guessed that he slipped and the saw fell square on his chest, carving his heart out.
'Nuff said.
Greg
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

In addition to the other advice you've received (mostly excellent), I'd like to add this:
The tool has two handles for a *reason*. You can't possibly amputate one of your hands if they're both on the tool handles where they belong. And it's much easier to guide accurately with both hands. Use a cutting platform on sawhorses, and clamp the workpiece down to it, so you don't need to use one hand to hold the work while the other hand holds the saw.
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Wear eye protection. Keep both hands on the saw. Do not disable the blade guard.
Never have any part of your body behind the saw (ie don't stand directly behind what you are cutting). When a circular saw binds and kicks back, it travels backwards quickly.
Frank
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Dont stop blade with testicles!

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Thank you all for your input on this topic. Some excellent advice and I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond. When it comes to safety, ya just can't have too much information. I've just become too fond of all my fingers, I guess. :)
Happy new year!
-Fleemo
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Also, I didn't see in the responses, forgive if I missed it -- If you make a cut and then leave the area (maybe to try the fit in the house) -- unplug the saw in case of curious kids (your own or neighbors). Just a habit of mine. I'll never know if it pays off, but that's fine by me anyway. snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

and
too
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