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Inspect the saw
Before each use, check the saw over for any damage or defects. Look for issues with the power source, the blade, base plate, and blade guard. If your saw is cordless, make sure you have a fully charged battery.
Check the blade
The blade you are using will depend on the type of material you will be cutting. Regardless of the blade type – check for chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. Never use a blade that is broken, rusted, or dull. If you are replacing the blade, be sure to disconnect the saw from its power supply before you make any changes to the saw blade.
Use a speed square (framing square) as a guide for making crosscuts. Place the blade of the saw at your cut mark, then place the square against the edge of the base plate. Using the square as your straight-line guide, start the saw, bring it to full speed and begin to cut while the base plate travels against the edge of the square.
Kickback from a saw can be very dangerous. The chances of kickback happening are much higher when the material being cut is not supported and causes the material to pinch the saw blade. To reduce saw blade pinching, give your material extra support by placing supports under either side of your cut to prevent the material from falling and creating a pinched space.
Creating a rip cut can often be a much longer cut than a crosscut, this is because a rip cut runs parallel (in the same direction) to the wood grain. Much like using the speed square as a guide for a crosscut, a ply-wood board or even a level clamped to your material can be an ideal guide for making a rip cut. Like the crosscut, line up the saw blade, then place the guide against the base plate to create your cutting guide. The clamps will allow your guide to remain in its place while allowing you to use both hands for handling the saw.
Splintering in wood, when cut happens due to the spin of the blade when the saw is cutting. A circular saw spins from the bottom up, this would create splintering on the side of the material facing up while cutting. To avoid creating splinters in a material of high quality or value, place the backside of the cut facing up so that any splintering will happen on the side of the material that is not visible. If the material being cut will be visible from both sides, place the more visible side down, then for the opposite side, score along the cut line with a utility knife to create an edge that will be free of splinters.