Knowing and Understanding Circular Blade Power Saws
There was a time when I was scared to death of a hand held circular saw! I owned one, but avoid it like it had the plague. I was always afraid that I would lose control and it would kick back and cut off a finger or run it up my leg or some other horrible bloody thing… not a pretty image at all. I would tend to use a saw that was stationary, where I would move the wood instead of the saw. I think it had to do with how much the circular saw weighed. With the invention of the smaller, lighter, battery operated ones I now cut like a pro! They are much lighter and easier for a lady to handle. I still like my stationary saws but I am no longer limited when it comes to ripping long pieces of lumber and plywood. To make those cuts even easier my husband gave me a Kerg rip cut guide as a Christmas present… I can hardly wait to try it out.
Here is a bit about three different saws with circular blades.
A circular saw is a handheld power saw, that is great for making quick cross cuts in dimensional lumber and for cutting long, rip type, cuts in plywood when you don’t have a table saw handy. With most circular saws you can adjust the depth of cut as well as the bevel.
I bought my first circular saw from sears when I was about 17, it looked a lot like the one in the picture above. These days, as I mentioned above, I like the light weight 6.5″ battery operated one that I have.
Chop saw is a generic term that refers to a stationary saw the cuts materials with a downward chopping motion. A chop saw works well for cross cutting squarely and precisely. It does not make long rip style cuts.
Most chop saws like pictured above are used for industrial purposes such as pipe cutting. More common for household and carpentry use is the miter saw.
Compound Miter Saw
Compound miter saw and Sliding compound miter saw are just fancy chop saws, and you know how we girls like fancy… The saw is attached to a hinged arm that can be set to cut various bevel and miter cuts. The sliding type pulls forward to cut wider dimensional lumber.
This type of saw is good when you have intricate angles to cut that require both a bevel and a miter. A good example would be installing crown molding in a corner or making a beveled picture frame.
In the end a circular saw is a good basic saw to have around, but if you need to make precise square or intricate cuts I recommend you invest in a compound miter saw as well.
There are other power saws that I didn’t cover today, including, table saws, radial arm saws, band saws, as well as jig saws, and demo or reciprocating saws. Those we will save for another day.
Until next time…