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Forum topic by hondo13 posted 12-23-2016 10:53 PM 1116 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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hondo13

7 posts in 359 days


12-23-2016 10:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: circular saw tips fear safety

Hi everyone,
So I’m 15 years old and I’ve just started woodworking, I just thought it would be a good hobby for me and so far it has been, except for one thing, the circular saw. We have a really old circular saw that I have never used and plan to never use as it’s really old and I don’t trust it. But about 2 months ago I bought myself a new Dewalt one, the Dewalt DWE575. It is still in the box, I didn’t even take of the plastic packaging it came in. I’ve done some research on circular saws and from what I’ve seen I’m extremely scared to use it, I don’t want at such a young age or really at any age but especially so young to have an accident and leave me crippled or without a finger to two. Is my fear irrational? If it is could you please provide me with some tips as to how to safely use a circular saw like where to stand how to hold it and anything else I need to know, also I mainly will be using it to rip plywood as I don’t have a table saw! Thanks!


29 replies so far

View BulldogLouisiana's profile

BulldogLouisiana

325 posts in 979 days


#1 posted 12-23-2016 10:56 PM

Duplicate

-- There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

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BulldogLouisiana

325 posts in 979 days


#2 posted 12-23-2016 10:56 PM



I don t know your financial situation, but encourage your desire for woodworking and respect for safety. I believe track saws are much safer, and probably a wise investment if you plan to work with plywood often.

- BulldogLouisiana


-- There are 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

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MrUnix

6010 posts in 2037 days


#3 posted 12-23-2016 11:08 PM

The only way is to use the thing… see if someone around (family, neighbor, shop teacher at school, etc…) can give you some hands on guidance. Circular saws are pretty safe as far as fingers are concerned. Keeping stuff out from the path of the blade UNDER what you are cutting is probably the most important aspect of it’s use.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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xwingace

228 posts in 2427 days


#4 posted 12-23-2016 11:14 PM

Two hands on that thing at all times
Worry about your leg more than your fingers
Always keep in mind where you are going with it
After you finish a cut, let it come to a COMPLETE STOP before you do anything else
And second getting someone with some experience to show you how! It’s a safe tool to use if you do it right.

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1011 posts in 1834 days


#5 posted 12-23-2016 11:15 PM

DOn’t get over your fear. You need to be respectful of the tool so you pay attention to it and use it properly. If you are so afraid of it you can’t safely use it because you are shaking or unable to focus on the task, then find a new hobby.

A circular saw is not particularly dangerous compared to other saws. The nice thing is your hand is always in the same spot relative to the blade, vs. a table saw where you hand moves toward the blade, even if you use push sticks. The down side is you can’t see the blade.

Couple of tips in no particular order
1. Support your work on saw horses or something sacrificial like those big foam insulation boards
2. Reduce your depth of cut so it will go fully through the material, but not much more.
3. Keep the power cord behind the saw. Never cut towards the cord.
4. Keep your legs, arms, knees, thighs, shins, etc. above the table. That is where the blade ISNT
5. Build yourself a straight line jig. It makes it like a track saw in that you can line up your jig with marks on your material, and it helps you cut a straight line. Super easy to make out of plywood. YouTube it and you’ll see.

Track saws are nice, but a lot of them are meant mainly for sheet goods, which means they don’t have enough depth of cut for 2×4s or other things. You can get them that go deeper, but you pay more too. Your circular saw will work great for lots of things once you figure it out.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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JCamp

476 posts in 389 days


#6 posted 12-23-2016 11:35 PM

There’s a fine line between between fear and a heathy respect for a saw. Personally when I was ur age I went a long time without a table saw. I used my dads 30year old (at that time) craftsman circular saw. I now hav and lov my table saw. That being said a circular saw is easier to handle for me to cut large sheets.
Here is some tips
1:If u just need plywood turned into a couple 2ftX8ft sheets (or something similar) the lumber store will generally do it for little to no charge
2:if your cutting a 3/4inch board u don’t need the blade sticking out from the saw over 7/8s of an inch. That way it gives a clean cut and if u saw over a leg or tailgate/bedrail (I’ve done that a lot) then u only leave a 1/8inch cut
3: when u get ur saw in a bind don’t try to cut through it just stop, reposition whatever ur working on An go again
4:use a sharp blade An cut slow
5:get some nice clear safety glasses and cut resistant gloves
Also a jig saw will do much of what a circular saw will it will just take a lot longer

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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hotbyte

989 posts in 2814 days


#7 posted 12-24-2016 12:01 AM

Much of this is already mentioned, be sure what you are cutting is well supported and held in place where it won’t move as you are cutting. As someone new to circ saws, you need both hands on the saw…so, you won’t have free hand to hold material being cut.

As you make cut, guide saw as straight as possible. Going crooked will bind up and try to kick saw backwards. Mark a straight line to follow or use a guide. For long longs, a straight board clamped to material will work. For cross cutting lumber, a speed square works great.

Be sure to wear safety glasses, ear protection and if in confined a space dust mask/respiratory.

A jigsaw is less intimidating and might help you over fear of power saws. It will not cut near as straight but they are useful for cutting curves into plywood, etc.

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OSB

147 posts in 364 days


#8 posted 12-24-2016 12:09 AM

Fear is a healthy thing.

I assume you are talking about a “Skill saw”. I haven’t heard of them causing a tremendous number of injuries. Table saws, angle grinders, belt sanders, lathes and other tools seem to cause more.

What you should do is look at what goes in to a safe cut and what can go wrong, then concentrate on developing safe habits.

I think the Skill saw is pretty safe because it has a spring loaded blade guard, if it gets away from you, the guard will close and greatly reduce the chance of injury. Some cuts require holding the guard back by hand to start but as long as you don’t disable the guard somehow, it will work as intended.

The amount of strength required to hold the saw securely is not too bad, it’s not like trying to hang on to a Hole Hawg. They just don’t have a ton of torque. A couple years ago I was making some big cuts with a beam saw which is a 14” version of a Skill saw. It was pretty easy to control so if you are using standard size, it’s like nothing.

One thing a lot of Skill saws are used for is cutting 2×4 and other dimensional lumber for framing. You are not going to get confident with the tool by talking so find a 2×4 with no nails and use the saw to cut it in to 6” lengths. That is a very easy cut, it won’t pinch on the blade and the cut is almost over as soon as you begin.

After you are comfortable with that, find some plywood to cut. Don’t start with a whole sheet, try to start with a 12-18” cut. The important thing is once you start you are pretty much committed to finish, don’t try to stop in the middle of a cut (you can do that but skip it for now). Don’t be too anxious and try to push the saw faster than it will cut. A little slow is better than too fast but the saw will cut pretty fast. One thing the saw won’t like is twisting it sideways in the cut so keep it pretty straight.

Once you get comfortable with that, you should have developed some feel for the tool.

While a track saw is a better tool for cutting full sheets of plywood, lots of plywood sheets get freehand cut with a Skill saw. That is a cut that is too long to do in one continuous motion, you are going to have to move yourself during the cut. You will still do it in one cut, you just have to learn to keep the saw still in the cut while you adjust your position, then keep going.

If you have a healthy fear and respect for the tool you can use it safely.

If you convince yourself that the tool is going to hurt you, it surely will. I see some people hold a tool like it is a dirty diaper, that will get you hurt.

These days I suggest watching YouTube videos of what you want to do and always have a plan before you cut.

You can learn just about any hand power tool that way.

So concentrate on safety, have a healthy fear but be confident and have a plan for every cut.

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DirtyMike

637 posts in 740 days


#9 posted 12-24-2016 12:29 AM



Fear is a healthy thing.

I assume you are talking about a “Skill saw”. I haven t heard of them causing a tremendous number of injuries. Table saws, angle grinders, belt sanders, lathes and other tools seem to cause more.

What you should do is look at what goes in to a safe cut and what can go wrong, then concentrate on developing safe habits.

I think the Skill saw is pretty safe because it has a spring loaded blade guard, if it gets away from you, the guard will close and greatly reduce the chance of injury. Some cuts require holding the guard back by hand to start but as long as you don t disable the guard somehow, it will work as intended.

The amount of strength required to hold the saw securely is not too bad, it s not like trying to hang on to a Hole Hawg. They just don t have a ton of torque. A couple years ago I was making some big cuts with a beam saw which is a 14” version of a Skill saw. It was pretty easy to control so if you are using standard size, it s like nothing.

One thing a lot of Skill saws are used for is cutting 2×4 and other dimensional lumber for framing. You are not going to get confident with the tool by talking so find a 2×4 with no nails and use the saw to cut it in to 6” lengths. That is a very easy cut, it won t pinch on the blade and the cut is almost over as soon as you begin.

After you are comfortable with that, find some plywood to cut. Don t start with a whole sheet, try to start with a 12-18” cut. The important thing is once you start you are pretty much committed to finish, don t try to stop in the middle of a cut (you can do that but skip it for now). Don t be too anxious and try to push the saw faster than it will cut. A little slow is better than too fast but the saw will cut pretty fast. One thing the saw won t like is twisting it sideways in the cut so keep it pretty straight.

Once you get comfortable with that, you should have developed some feel for the tool.

While a track saw is a better tool for cutting full sheets of plywood, lots of plywood sheets get freehand cut with a Skill saw. That is a cut that is too long to do in one continuous motion, you are going to have to move yourself during the cut. You will still do it in one cut, you just have to learn to keep the saw still in the cut while you adjust your position, then keep going.

If you have a healthy fear and respect for the tool you can use it safely.

If you convince yourself that the tool is going to hurt you, it surely will. I see some people hold a tool like it is a dirty diaper, that will get you hurt.

These days I suggest watching YouTube videos of what you want to do and always have a plan before you cut.

You can learn just about any hand power tool that way.

So concentrate on safety, have a healthy fear but be confident and have a plan for every cut.

- OSB

I think you are referring to a circular saw, skil is a brand , skill is something you need to prevent injuries with a circular saw. There is no way you can compare the injuries of a belt sander to a circular saw. Circular saw injuries are very common, most of the time do to a pinched blade or someone wiring/taping the blade guard open. the blade guard can stick open by itself if a spring is wore out.

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JCamp

476 posts in 389 days


#10 posted 12-24-2016 12:36 AM

One other thing. When using ANY tool make sure the tool, cord or outlet has a good ground so that if u cut into the cord it’ll trip a breaker an not zap u.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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OSB

147 posts in 364 days


#11 posted 12-24-2016 02:03 AM

Well a beam saw is a circular saw as is a radial arm saw, this is a tissue/kleenex argument and evidently my auto correct makes Skil in to Skill.

If you say “I have a Skil saw”, people will know what you mean even if the saw is a DeWalt.

Personally, I have never been injured by a Skil saw but I have lost some knuckle flesh and fingerprints to a belt sander. I have had a belt sander throw pieces half way across a shop too. Not that belt sanders are particularly dangerous, it is just moving that abrasive much closer to your hands than a saw blade should ever be.

I must have missed all of those common Skil saw injuries because I have never heard a first or second hand account of one.

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Hammerthumb

2796 posts in 1814 days


#12 posted 12-24-2016 02:37 AM

I watched some cutting plywood have the cut bind and the saw went backwards right up his leg. Kind of like a kickback on a tablesaw, but with a hand held saw, the saw moves into the work instead of the work moving into the saw.
I recommend someone that has experience show you how to use the saw. Two hands, and keeping the cord out of the way is good advise. Also, never being directly behind the cut is also good advise.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

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papadan

3584 posts in 3207 days


#13 posted 12-24-2016 03:07 AM

Hondo, where are you? You need to find someone to show you hands on how to use the saw. You also need a sheet goods frame to lay panels on and support them when cutting.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 759 days


#14 posted 12-24-2016 03:08 AM

hondo13,

I applaud to interest in woodworking. I find it a very persoannly gratifying hobby and with the right skills and experience, it could probably provide a decent living.

I would say your fear of the circular saw is irrational if you are paralized by fear. The tool is dangerous when improperly used for sure, but it can definitely be operated safely.

My first tip is to keep the new Dewalt in the plastic bag until you have read through and understood the manual that came with the saw. It includes safety, operation, and maintenance information, all of which should be taken literally and seriously. If you are like me, it may take several readings before it is fully understood. Also, having the tool nearby when reading the manual allows you to look at the tool and thus understand the manual a little better.

As mentioned, there are a number of YouTube videos regarding circular saw safety. I only looked at one, which I found authoritative, understandable, and comprehensive. I highly recommend viewing this video several times. It throws a lot of info at you during its 25 minute run time. It is produced by the Power Tool Institute.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=yfp-t&p=circular+saw+safety+video#id=1&vid=84ef9fb42b6e7e2d4ef4d9db9e27a8a3&action=click

When you get around to using the saw to cut plywood, some use a 1” or 2” thick by 4’ x 8’ Styrofoam board available at the Home Center for support of the plywood. The foam board can be placed on the floor and the plywood on the foam board. After the depth of cut on the saw is set, the plywood can be cut. The saw blade will lightly score the foam board as the cut is made. This method provides complete support of the plywood during and after the cut. It also allows you to stand or kneel on the plywood to make the cut and thereby over-reaching to finish the cut. Overreaching during a cut puts you off balance and invites Mr. Trouble into your life.

View Matt's profile

Matt

159 posts in 790 days


#15 posted 12-24-2016 03:11 AM

Hammer Thumb said – “I recommend someone that has experience show you how to use the saw.”

I third, fourth, and fifth this, really. It’s a pretty safe tool, but it does have a spinning blade and getting some basic instruction from someone experienced with the tool is a great idea. Since I don’t know anything about your experience level with any tools or related skills, this would be my only recommendation as a result of you having a healthy fear/respect (not a bad thing) of the tool.

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.

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