The circular saw is designed for ripping
or crosscutting (using different blades)
wood. Use it for cutting plywood, fiberboard,
or other flat sheets of wood material, or
for trimming 2x4's or other dimensional lumber.
With an attachment called a "fence,"
circular saws can make a straight and accurate
cut; without a fence or some other guide,
the straightness of the cut depends on the
material and the skill of the user.
Here are some tips on what to
look for when
buying a circular saw:
- blade size: the standard use to be 7 1/4"
blades, but newer models, particularly battery
powered ones, use smaller blades because
the motors have less horsepower. Smaller
blades mean that you cannot cut as thick
of material. Unless you are never going to
cut anything but plywoods and other flat
sheets not to exceed an inch, stick with
a minimum of a 6" blade. And, as with
any cutting tool, be sure to use the right
blade for the cut: rip, crosscut, fine tooth,
- power: in general higher horsepower means
smoother cuts, so shy away from anything
but a corded circular saw except for rougher
cuts, thin materials, or where saw portability
- laser guide: a potentially useful item if
you are doing freehand cuts and can accept
some waver. Our preference is to use a fence
to get a straight edge.
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