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Tips and tricks for proper handling of cordless circular saws

When you're building a new wooden deck, carport or other DIY project out of wood and you want to make clean, straight cuts through panels, beams or other pieces of wood, a portable circular saw is the tool for the job!

Of course, there are a few things you need to look out for when using your circular saw in order to work safely and ensure clean cuts without tear-out. In this post we offer some tips and tricks which you might find useful.

We offer some tips and tricks to achieve clean cuts with your handheld circular saw.

Circular saws and plunge cut saws – What's the difference?

Circular saws and plunge saws are similar in appearance, but they are used in different ways and have different operating principles. Circular saws typically use a retracting guard design, where the saw blade is fixed in position and the protective guard retracts, or swings upwards, when the saw is held against the workpiece. With a plunge cut saw, the protective guard doesn't move; instead the blade is "plunged" into the workpiece, covered by the housing.

Because of their different ways of working, the two types of hand-held circular saw are used in different ways. With a traditional circular saw, you align the saw at the edge of the piece of wood, switch it on, and then push it through the workpiece. A cut with a plunge saw, on the other hand, does not need to start at the edge, so it can be used to make cutouts in a slab, such as for a kitchen worktop. You simply position the plunge saw on the slab and switch it on, then plunge the blade into the workpiece where you want to start the cutout.

A retracting-guard circular saw always has to start from the workpiece's edge.
The blade of the plunge saw is "plunged" into the workpiece from above.

What is the correct way to use a handheld circular saw?

In order to achieve clean, precise and tear-free cuts in the wood, there are a couple of things you should pay attention to when working with a circular saw.

  • Blade and cutting depth: Before you start the job, you should find a suitable blade for the material and set your circular saw to the desired cutting depth. You will obtain the best cuts if you use the scale on the tool to set a cutting depth corresponding to the thickness of the material plus an extra 5 mm.
  • Position the tool correctly: Generally speaking, you should set the tool against the workpiece when it is switched off, and only start to push it through the material when the blade is fully up to speed. You then push your circular saw carefully through the material without applying too much pressure. This will help ensure you achieve a clean cut.
  • Long, straight cuts: A rip fence is very helpful when making straight cuts, sawing several strips of wood or cutting a piece to length. For precise cuts, however, you should always position it against a straight edge that you then guide the circular saw along. If you keep the rip fence setting, you can quickly cut several strips of wood of the same width.
  • Mitre cuts: For the perfect mitre cut, you first have to set the correct cutting angle on your circular saw. For Einhell saws, you can do this very easily in just a few steps without needing any additional tools. You can read off the exact cutting angle from the integrated scale.

Using a guide rail for clean cuts

One accessory that comes in handy for long, straight cuts is the guide rail. The best way to find out exactly how to mount and fix the guide rail is to refer to the instruction manual that came with the accessory. In any case, it is important to securely fasten the guide rail to the workpiece using screw clamps, and ensure it is as straight as the cut should be. Obviously, the workpiece should also be clamped in place.

Depending on the design of the circular saw, the cutting depth will also need to be adjusted, as the thickness of the rails should also be added to the thickness of the material, to ensure that the saw cuts all the way through the material. The hand-held circular saw is guided along the workpiece by the rails, while the rubber lips that surround the blade minimise tear-out and avoid fraying of the cut edge.

Guide rails are useful for long, straight cuts and prevent the wood from fraying.

Proper care and protection of your portable circular saw

As this is one power tool you probably want to enjoy for as long as possible, you should protect you circular saw from damage. If you are using a circular saw with a cable, you should always run the cable to the nearest socket, making sure that you keep it as far away as possible from the saw's blade, to ensure you don't accidentally cut through the cable.

Always check the condition of your saw blade! Precise cuts can only be achieved with a sharp blade!

You should not carry on using a blade if it has become blunt or broken, or is missing teeth – you can only obtain precise cuts when you use a sharp blade! You should check the instruction manual beforehand to find out how to change the saw blade of your circular saw. In any case, you should disconnect the power from the circular saw, i.e. by removing the plug from the socket if it is current-bound, or by removing the battery for cordless models. You should also wear gloves when changing the saw blade to avoid injuring yourself.

Clean cuts can only be obtained when the circular saw's blade is sharp. Dull blades should be replaced immediately.

Tips for safe handling of portable circular saws

You should always be careful when working with portable circular saws to avoid injury. One hazard that poses a high risk of injury is loose clothing that can become caught in the blade. Therefore, it is recommended to wear close-fitting clothing when working with cutting tools. To protect the eyes and airways from splinters and sawdust, you should also use protective eyewear and a dust mask if neccessary. Alternatively, you can attach a suitable vacuum cleaner or wet/dry shop vaccum to the circular saw's extraction adapter, which will also help you see the workpiece more clearly and ensure a clean work area. Obviously, a circular saw produces a lot of noise. Ear defenders will protect your ears from exposure to excessive noise levels.

To protect yourself and your equipment, you should never make your own modifications to the tool, for example by removing the blade cover or retractable guard. Under certain circumstances, this can affect the operation of your circular saw or lead to injuries during use.