If you tend to cut a lot of wood, for instance, then you should get a circular saw.
The circular saw is a high-powered saw that consists of a flat circular blade which is spun in high speed to cut wood, metal, masonry or plastic, depending on the type of the blade chosen. Although circular saws are typically run by electricity, some models can also be powered by a petrol engine or a hydraulic motor.
The circular saw has a handle that protects the user from touching the blade while it’s spinning. It also features bevel, height and depth adjustments. The arbor nut secures the blade in place. Aside from hand-held units, other models are also mounted to a machine.
Compared to other cutting tools (such as the jigsaw), the circular saw gives a straight, “square” cut due to the machine’s more rigid blade. The large serrated edges of the blade make cutting materials even faster.
Circular saws are available in a variety of sizes, but the most popular model is the one which has a blade measuring 7.5 inches in diameter. These types of circular saws are ideal for smaller projects such as cutting plywood or two-by-four's. Other circular saws with blades measuring 12 inches in diameter (and up) are suitable for cutting timber to make posts and beams. The blades can be adjusted to make angled (bevel) cuts up to 45 degrees. Motors typically draw eight to 15 amps of power.
Circular saws typically come in two types:
- Sidewinder or in-line circular saw – The sidewinder is the most common type of circular saw, especially on the eastern part of the US. Its popularity is due to the fact that it's lightweight and portable. The sidewinder circular saw features a motor which is mounted alongside the spinning blade, which causes the blade to create more speed (up to 6000 RPM).
Sidewinders also come in cordless models. Another advantage of using the sidewinder is that you don't have to add oil in it in order to keep it running smoothly. But because the motor and blade are mounted alongside each other, you may have some difficulty to see and follow what you're cutting while you're using the machine. You may have to lean over the saw to get a better look at the progress of your work, and this can become tedious after using it for long periods.
- Worm drive saw – Unlike the sidewinder, the worm drive saw has a motor mounted at the back of the blade. This gives the machine a narrower, slightly longer body. The worm drive saw generates a lesser blade speed because of such gear configuration, but it otherwise gives off a lot more torque. It also makes it easier for the user to see what he's cutting, making the worm drive saw ideal for working on wider surfaces. However, it does need to be occasionally filled with oil to lubricate the gears and to reduce the machine's ear-splitting noise.
The following are the types of blades:
- Wood cutting blades – There are two types of wood-cutting blades: construction blades and plywood blades. A construction blade produces finer cuts as it typically has at least 40 teeth. Plywood blades, on the other hand, have teeth with deep gullets.
- Masonry cutting blades – These blades are designed to cut masonry surfaces like brick, concrete and hard stone.
- Metal cutting blades – They are typically toothless blades and are specially designed to help dispel the heat that has been produced while cutting metal.
- Plastic pipe cutting blades - They are ideal for cutting plastic, soft materials, and non-ferrous metals.