The circular saw is often the best tool when working with heavy or unwieldy stock. It is not a precision tool, compared with stationary saws, the cuts will be relatively inaccurate. But for the early stages of a woodworking project it is generally the fastest solution. Here is a short circular saw guide. Note that the term circular saw can be used for a wide range of saws. Here we are only discussing portable electric circular saws.
First of all, circular saws are powerful tools that can create a lot of damage and injuries if not carefully operated. Here are a few basic safety tips. Make sure that the power cord is not in the cutting path. Circular saws produce a lot of wood chips, always wear safety goggles. Always keep both hands on the saw throughout the cutting operation. Make sure that the blade has come to full speed before it makes contact with the workpiece.
There are two types of portable electric circular saws. The powerful worm drive saw has the motor parallel with the blade. This makes it possible to use gears which increase the torque. The inline saw has the motor perpendicular to the blade and has no gears. It is cheaper but not as powerful at the worm drive saw. Many smaller circular saws are cordless, which makes them very portable and you don’t need to worry about cutting the power cord. Larger circular saws generally corded, they need more power.
Circular saws come in a lot of sizes, but the most popular sizes for home workshops are 5.5 and 6 inch saws. They are lighter, cheaper and easier to use than the more powerful 7.25 and 8.25 inch saws, which are popular with professional woodworkers.
Carbide-tipped blades will be more economical than steel blades. Steel blades are cheaper but don’t last as long as carbide-tipped blades. They can be sharpened dozens of times. But you need to make sure that you are using the right blade for the material you are cutting, otherwise your blades will wear out quickly.
The combination blade is good for most ripping and crosscutting tasks. But for crosscuts, a crosscut blade will do a better job. The same goes for the rip blade, it will be a better choice for cutting along the grain than a combination blade. For cuts in plywood or veneered stock, you need a plywood blade. A combination blade will splinter the wood. For smooth crosscuts and rip cuts, a hollow ground planer blade is the best choice.
Always clamp the stock to a work surface. This increases safety and accuracy. An edge guide is often necessary if you want to cut with precision. Since circular saws cut on the upstroke, splintering occurs on the visible side of the workpiece, make sure that the good side is face down.