Norm's Circular Saw Basics

Safety First
Circular saws can be dangerous. Always wear safety glasses and follow the safety instructions printed in your saw's owner's manual

Setting Blade Depth
Set the blade so that its bottommost tooth is 1/8 to ¼ inch below the work piece. Always make sure the power source is unplugged before making any adjustments to the saw.

Setup
Support the material on a bench or two strong sawhorses, overhanging enough so that the cut piece will fall. Never prop up this off-cut, or the material will buckle and bind the blade, causing a dangerous kickback.

Cross-Cutting
For an accurate cut, mark the side of the material that will become waste, then line up the blade to just leave the pencil line on the keep side. To make the cut, support the front of the saw shoe on the work piece, but keep the blade about an inch from the material. Then start the saw, letting it come up to full speed before pushing it steadily through the wood.

TIP: For 90-degree cross-cuts, use a speed square to guide the saw (below).

Ripping*
Place large sheets of plywood on 2x4s laid across sawhorses and positioned to support both sides of the cut. Clamp a strip of plywood or other straight material to the work piece at the right distance to guide the saw shoe while cutting the line. Walk alongside the plywood as you cut, holding the cord to make sure it doesn't get snagged.

*sawing with the grain



TIP: For narrow rips, keep the saw straight by holding the shoe with your free hand and bracing your forefinger on the wood's edge. You can also use a pair of locking pliers (below) or a rip-fence accessory.



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