Here’s the continuation of our blog series 10 tips novices should know before using circular saws.
What is a Rip cut? A rip cut is a cut that runs parallel with the grain of the wood, as opposed to a crosscut, which goes around the wood grain. Most circular saws comes with a metal rip guide that attaches to the saw’s base plate. This type of guide works, but limited to rips only about 6 inches wide. A better choice is to clamp an 8ft long board in place as a straightedge guide.
When a saw blade enters the bottom of the board and exits through the top, splintering is often seen on the top surface. To avoid wood splintering, place a board or panel with its best surface facing down. In that way any splintering will occur on the top or back side. When trimming doors down to size, you might want to eliminate splintering from both sides. Here’s what you should do: Place the best side face down, meaning the side of the door that will be most visible once it is hung. Then score along the edge of the cut line with a sharp utility knife. Now make the cut, you’ll see that the wood fibers will break off cleanly at the scored line, leaving a smooth, splinter free cut.
Stack and Clamp
There’s a technique called stack, clamp and cut which allows you to cut more than one piece of plywood. Stack four or five sheets on top of each other and make sure that the edges are aligned. Clamp the pieces, then adjust the saw blade to its maximum depth of cut and saw through all the sheets at the same time.
All circular saws can be adjusted to make a bevel cut up to 45 degrees. However when the base plate is tilted all the way over, the lower blade guard has a tendency to catch on the edge of the board. If this happens, don’t force the saw to cut instead release the trigger, raise the blade guard and make the cut. Once the blade has cut the material by an inch or so, you can release the guard.
Gravity Feed Sawing
When cutting long, straight, vertical cut into a wall, then using the circular saw is the right choice. Just remember to start cutting at the top to the bottom, in that way the gravity will simply working in your favor and will allow the weight of the saw to advance the blade through the cut.