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
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?
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
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
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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.
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
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.
On 3 Jan 2005 16:13:43 -0800, email@example.com 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.
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.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Get a copy of my NEW AND IMPROVED TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter
by sending email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com
You must use your REAL email address to get a response.
Wear eye protection. Keep both hands on the saw. Do not disable the blade
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.
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!
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
Just a habit of mine. I'll never know if it pays off, but that's fine
by me anyway.
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