The Power Circular Saw - Types and Basics
By: The Working Man
A power circular saw is a saw designed to be used for
cutting wood, metal, masonry, ceramic tile, and even
plastic. Some circular saws are designed for a specific use.
The power of the saw, type of blade that can be used, and
whether the motor is standard or worm drive are all
variables in determining what type of power circular saw you
need for the job you intend to do.
It is very important that you choose the right saw for
job. For example, if the motor on the circular saw does not
have enough power to drive the blade efficiently through the
material you are cutting then the blade will heat up and the
teeth will begin to dull. This will in turn create poor
quality cuts and increases the chance that the blade may
climb out and push the saw back towards the user, creating a
very serious safety hazard.
In general, the standard sidewinder drive (or in-line)
circular saws come with the motor attached
the blade so that the shaft runs directly from the motor to
drive the blade of the saw, however, in high-torque worm
drive models the motor is parallel to the blade and uses
gears to increase the torque that is transferred to the
blade. This gives the motor of the worm drive circular saw
the ability to apply more torque to the blade which in turn
makes the blade less likely to bind in dense or thick wood.
Worm drive circular saws do tend to be slower cutting than
the standard type and are often much heavier, which makes
the standard type more efficient for lighter use where a
worm drive is not needed.
Circular saws are usually classified based on the size of
the blade for which they are designed. This size ranges from
three inches all the way up to sixteen inches in diameter.
The most common circular saws have blades that are seven and
a quarter inches in diameter.
The standard seven and a quarter inch blade is able to cut
through two inch dimensional lumber at a forty-five degree
angle in just one pass. A smaller blade would have to make
two passes to cut through the same size lumber at a forty-
five degree angle.
Understanding these basics will allow you an easier time of
determining the size of circular saw blade you need and
which motor type you will need to cut through the material
you use most often.
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