As I read the OP comment, my first thought was I wonder if the blade
was put in backwards. It would still cut but very slowly and
eventually could burn up the brushes. The teeth need to be pointed up
from the bottom at the front of the blade. When cutting with a
circular saw, the cutting action is done on the bottom of the wood,
which pulls the saw down onto the top of th wood surface.
Now that all the suggestions are in, I'll add the one that will really
work, although might be out side of your budget.
If your Skil is like mine, you may want to blow it out with some
compressed air. I had some gunk stuck in the upper guard (old trex
shavings) and as soon as I cleaned it out the saw ran much better. On
the initial cut, I thought it was time to replace the blade, but on the
final cut there was no doubt that it was ok.
Interestingly, it looked like the size of the sawdust particles decreased
as well. Maybe the blade was running at speed and taking smaller bites?
For the 80th post in this thread, I can report that the job was
completed without incident. I used the 24 tooth blade in the 7-1/4"
Skil, with the depth set to just expose the "gullets" (I learned another
new word!). I used the aluminum guide I mentioned upthread, and
painter's tape. The cut was nice and smooth, with no splintering to
speak of and the saw and brushes performed without complaint.
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