Circular saw safety

To the novice user, a circular saw can be intimidating. Here are some tips to help you use your circular saw in a safe and confident manner.

 

By Roelof Strydom

 

First-things-first

The first one is pretty obvious because it goes along with many other power tools and that is safety equipment. 

Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying chunks of wood and saw dust which always poses a threat. People lose their eyes everyday simply because they didn’t wear eye protection. 

 

The other vital piece of safety gear is ear protection. Circular saws are one the loudest power tools on the planet; therefore invest in a decent set of ear plugs or ear muffs.

 

The tool itself

Always keep your hands out of the blades path. The safest way to do this is to simply keep both hands on the circular saw at all times.

 

Never place one hand behind the circular saw while you push the tool with the other. There is always a chance that the saw may jump out of the cut and land on your hand, shredding it to pieces.

 

*Guard

Every circular saw must have a blade guard. It’s your first line of defence, so make sure it’s working properly. Sometimes a chunk of wood gets caught between the blade and the guard.

 

When this happens, switch the saw off immediately and unplug the machines power cord. Now you can safely remove the chunk of wood.

 

The guard of a circular saw encloses the blade when it’s not in use. Only when the saw is used to make a cut, does the guard push against the wood and then expose the blade to the wood. The further you cut, the further the guard opens until it reaches the position where the blade is fully exposed.

 

If the guard does not move smoothly, remove the saw blade (after you’ve unplugged the machine) and spray the pivot point with some lubricant. Fine saw dust might clog the pivot point preventing it from moving as it’s supposed to.

 

Cutting

Before making a cut, set the blade depth so that only one tooth of the saw blade extends past the bottom of the wood. This reduces the amount of blade buried in the wood and reduces the chance of the saw binding to the wood or kicking back.

 

Never support a piece of wood on both ends, like across saw horses for example, and then saw in the middle. The wood will sag at the end of the cut and cause the saw blade to stick and possible kickback. Rather leave the part you intend to cut-off unsupported as this will allow it to fall free.

 

By following these rules, you’ll feel much more confident knowing that the chances of getting hurt are at a minimal.