Circular Saw-which side?

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Forum topic by DragonLady posted 01-09-2011 04:05 AM 5371 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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298 posts in 3242 days

01-09-2011 04:05 AM

When you use a circular saw to cut sheet goods, which side of the saw do you stand on?

I’ve always stood on the motor side, with the blade away from me. But now I’ve got a guide rail system that seems to force me to stand on the blade side, which means I reach over the blade, and I’m right in the path of the sawdust coming off the blade.

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

20 replies so far

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3371 days

#1 posted 01-09-2011 05:00 AM

I like being on the blade side…

I like to see where I’m cutting…

Not bent over trying to see where I’m trying to cut…

I’m right handed…

also ambidextrous …

-- Rick

View patron's profile


13641 posts in 3576 days

#2 posted 01-09-2011 05:06 AM

just slightly to the left of the blade
pushing almost 45 deg. to the fence and forward

that way i have a hand on both pieces
when they finish cutting
and the outboard wants to fall on the floor
push the cut board forward and let it go
raise and pull back your hand
and turn off the saw
then get your pieces worked out

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3271 days

#3 posted 01-09-2011 05:55 AM

Left of the blade.

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3310 days

#4 posted 01-09-2011 03:32 PM

As a right handed person I want the saw in my right hand. On.most saws that means the motor side.

However, my cordless circular saw (DeWalt) has the blade on the left side. I really like that because I have such a clear view of the blade.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3294 days

#5 posted 01-09-2011 03:43 PM

For me, it depends on the cut. Obviously, if cutting freehand, without a guide (usually only for rough construction projects) I want to be able see the blade, but that may still vary depending on the type of cut. If running a rip cut down the edge of a piece, I can easily stand slightly ahead of the saw and still see the front of the blade. I can even place my hand on the front edge of the shoe (well clear of the blade) and use it almost as a guide fence in these cases. However, if crosscutting a full sheet where I have to reach across, I may have to stand more to the right in order to see where I am going. If using a fence, I really am not watching the blade so much as watching to see that the shoe of the saw stays against my fence/guide. In this case, my main goal is to ge my guide set correctly from the start and then to stay our of the way of the saw dust.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3219 days

#6 posted 01-09-2011 05:03 PM

I never thought about someone being right handed having a problem with a circular saw before. Being dominantly left handed I always assumed that it was just me who felt uncomfortable about how I operated a tool generally designed for right handed people.
One suggestion might be instead of using the guide on the saw, use a straight edge clamped down for the saw base to ride against while making the cut so your not reaching over the blade. Which is what I do to be standing on the motor side of the saw.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View brtech's profile


1054 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 01-09-2011 06:59 PM

I’m not standing any more.

I tried the 1” Styrofoam on the floor idea and won’t go back to standing.

It is SO much easier to get a good cut all the way.

I’ve done cross cuts with the saw moving right to left against a guide placed farther away from me, and both rips and cross cuts with the saw moving away from me with the guide on the left. I was on the left of the saw.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11138 posts in 3664 days

#8 posted 01-09-2011 09:34 PM

My worm drive is blade left. I use a guide under the saw where the blade is right against the edge of the guide. Limits the flying sawdust somewhat.
I also cut on a 1” sheet of Styrofoam, but at 70 years of age, I cut on a bench….standing. If I got down on the floor, I’d be there until some one came looking for me and helped me up.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3062 days

#9 posted 01-09-2011 09:59 PM

It really depends for me.

I am right handed, but I swear that I am amidextrous, with only a small handi-cap..

It really depends for me.. I like the saw in my right hand, but have no issue using it with my left.

The only thing I don’t like about being on the blade side, is its easy to get hit with shrapnel…

So for me: Either side.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3310 days

#10 posted 01-09-2011 10:44 PM

I don’t want to go to far off subject, but I want to make a point about circular saws.

I’ve lived in California twice and I have lived in 4 different states on the east side of the Rockies (MI VT, FL, IA). It seemed like worn drive circular saws were very popular in California and it seems like they are not very popular in any other state I have lived in.

I’ve often wondered about this. Is it just coincidence that I saw so many worm drives in CA and not elsewhere or is there something to this. If so – why would worm drives be popular in CA and not elsewhere?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View john's profile


2376 posts in 4617 days

#11 posted 01-09-2011 10:55 PM

I am left handed using a right handed saw so the blade is always close to me thus giving a super straight cut every time , Just watch out for kick back :-)

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4128 days

#12 posted 01-10-2011 04:29 AM

I have the Porter Cable model with the blade on the left. I am right handed and the blade on the left lets me see the cut line better. It also feel like I have better control since I am standing to the left and pushing with my right hand.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View jack1's profile


2117 posts in 4263 days

#13 posted 01-10-2011 07:34 AM

blade side down works for me… ;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 2603 days

#14 posted 12-03-2011 04:41 PM

Quick anwser… being right handed…i have two porter cable saws…a right hand an a left hand..i use the left saw hand in my right hand most of the time… is that hard to under stand or what! LOL even confused me when i read over what i just wrote.


View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3304 days

#15 posted 12-03-2011 05:46 PM

As a lefty, I’ve always used a circular saw in my left hand which gives me an excellent view of the blade. My cordless circular saw, however, gets used in my right hand because of my preference for seeing the blade. I guess 60+ years of living in a right handed world has had it’s good points. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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