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Circular Saws

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, etc.
  • 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 is paramount.
  • 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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