The circular saw is one of the ten most popular power tools . It speeds up carpentry and joinery work at times. The “circular” is designed for working with wood, but can also be used for cutting plastic.
Circular saw device
The design of the circular saw is simple: the toothed disc is mounted on the motor shaft. The unit is housed in a housing with two handles so that you can hold the tool with both hands. The operator moves the tool along the workpiece (or vice versa, if the saw is a table-top saw); the teeth of the rotating disc cut the material. For safety, the blade is covered with a cover that automatically opens during sawing.
To figure out which circular saw is better, you need to understand how they differ and what additional functions the tool may have, depending on the type and model.
Classification of circular saws
Household and professional
A professional tool differs from a household one in the first place by its resource and the possibility of long-term continuous use. Household models overheat in this mode of operation, they need regular breaks in operation to cool down.
Also, professional power tools are supplemented with some special functions that will not be useful to the hobbyist.
In addition, professional models are much more expensive than household ones.
The division into professional and household (amateur) is conditional. Some models may have professional functionality, but their design does not hold up in durability. Don’t put too much emphasis on classification. Be guided by purely practical considerations.
Hand and stationary saws
These tools differ significantly. The hand-held circular saw is compact; the operator holds it in his hands and moves it along the workpiece along the cutting line. It is a portable tool, it is easy to carry it to the place of work. Stationary machines are a different matter. This tool is ideal for work in the workshop or workshop. The electric motor is mounted under an extensive work platform. Its length may exceed one meter; the machine is installed on legs. During work, the operator moves the workpiece along the platform and feeds it to the cutting disc.
A stationary machine or table circular saw is convenient for performing volumetric work of the same type. For example, if you want to cut narrow pieces of the same size from a wide board .
But the hand-held circular saw makes it possible to work “on site”, as well as with large-sized workpieces that cannot be sawed on a stationary machine. A typical use for this is cutting plywood sheets . Some models of hand-held circular saws can be fixed to the work table using special clamps. In this position, the workpieces are cut in the same way as on a stationary circular saw. This expands the capabilities of the tool, but due to the small dimensions of the platform, it does not completely replace the stationary saw.
If portability and versatility are important, choose a hand-held circular saw. If you have a workshop and require high productivity, a stationary circular is your option.
Main technical characteristics
The passport for the device indicates many characteristics, but not all of them are equally important for the correct choice.
The larger the diameter of the saw blade, the thicker the bar or other piece that it can cut. However, it would be a big mistake to strive at all costs to buy a tool with the largest disc of 210 mm. For a large disc you need a powerful motor. And this increases the weight of the device and its dimensions. Working with such a tool requires great physical strength and quickly tires. It is much more convenient to work with models with a disc diameter of 160-190 mm.
Choose the diameter of the circular saw blade based on the size of the workpieces that you have to process. Here “big” does not mean “good”.
All things being equal, a more powerful electric motor will cut faster.
However, power is an indirect characteristic of a power tool. Firstly, the actual power of a particular device may differ from that declared in the passport. Secondly, the cutting speed depends not only on power, but also on the number and shape of sharpening of teeth, wood moisture and other factors.
When choosing a tool, do not consider power as the main criterion. The functionality is more important.
Some features are present in each model, but there are also specific options.
Adjusting the cutting depth and blade tilt
In most cases, during operation, the disc is adjusted to its maximum depth and set at a 90 ° angle to the plane of the part. However, there are times when you need to limit the cutting depth or cut at a different angle. For example, for some joinery products, it may be necessary to saw a board exactly half its thickness.
These adjustments are found in all models of circular saws. Just pay attention to how convenient it is to use them: do you need special keys for this or handles are provided, are there graduated scales for accurate reading.
All tools are completed with this device. It makes it very easy to cut the part in a straight line parallel to the edge. In this way, you can reduce the width of the workpiece or cut several identical strips from a wide board.
This option is usually only available for professional models. It accomplishes two important tasks.
First, it limits the starting current of the electric motor. In the first milliseconds after starting, while the motor is picking up speed, it consumes a current several times higher than the nominal value. This overloads the power grid and can trigger the circuit breakers, especially if the motor is powerful. The soft starter reduces the starting current to a safe level.
Secondly, the engine speed increases smoothly at the start. For stationary instruments, this does not really matter, but for hand instruments it can be useful. Rapid acceleration of the motor causes kickback: when turned on, the tool jerks sharply in the hands, which adversely affects the accuracy of the cut. Smooth starting significantly reduces recoil. If you have to power the instrument from a low-power mains (for example, in a summer cottage), pay attention to the soft start function.
Guidelines for choosing a circular saw
In order not to drown in the variety of characteristics and options, here are some ready-made solutions for typical cases.
Choosing a saw for home
As a rule, a circular saw is needed on the farm only for repairs. This is an episodic use. It makes no sense to purchase expensive powerful models for this. It is better to choose a medium-sized circular saw. A case-suitcase is very useful for storing it.
Choosing a saw for a summer residence
At the summer cottage there is always a need to repair or build something: a shed for household equipment, a gazebo, a doghouse, a house for children’s games, a fence. For these purposes, you will need a solid hand saw with a large disc. If funds allow and there is a workshop, an inexpensive stationary circular saw of a household level will complement its capabilities.
What to choose for a professional
Let’s clarify. A professional is someone who makes money with a tool. The tool should pay off. Professional craftsmen have two approaches.
For those who specialize in one type of service (for example, installing doors or assembling furniture), durable, productive and high-precision tools are needed.
There are generalists and construction crews. They provide a range of services and solve turnkey construction tasks. The purchase of complex and expensive models is impractical for them. Often the tools are purchased “for one object”. I bought an inexpensive circular saw, built a country house with it, used up all the resource and threw it away.
A circular saw is not as specialized a tool as it seems at first glance. If there is a need to work not only with wood, you can choose a circular saw for wood, and then purchase replacement blades for cutting plastic or sheet aluminum.
In conclusion, we recall once again: any tool should be chosen based on the tasks that you intend to solve with its help. Fast and pleasant work will mean that the choice is right.