Tools Anonymous #1: Finally using a circular saw

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 10-01-2012 01:19 PM 5894 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tools Anonymous series Part 2: The planer, boss - the planer! »

It rained all weekend, keeping me from using my new planer, but I did manage to use my tools. I wanted to build a wine rack out of PVC for our basement. (the base is WOOD, I swear) so I did use my SCMS and finally broke down and used a circular saw on a piece of plywood.

I think the issue I have with the circular saw is the weight. I took that into consideration when buying it, but it still feels awkward in my hands, particularly at the end of the cut.

Here’s my first attempt at embedding a picture here, as I won’t post this as a project. The lighting is off, but the 4” pipes will fit wine bottles, the smaller ones are strictly to add an ‘artsy’ element.

Oh yes, and I did use my Sonicrafter to sand down the edges of the PVC. I have no buyers remorse about getting that tool a few years ago – it’s very handy and gets used often.

Better picture:

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

10 comments so far

View jumbojack's profile


1689 posts in 3101 days

#1 posted 10-01-2012 01:36 PM

Do the pipes say in place when you remove a bottle? It certainly looks cool.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2552 days

#2 posted 10-01-2012 01:42 PM

Yup, I arranged the pipes initially without glue. I arranged them until I was happy with it, and then took a picture.
Using the picture as a guide, I reassembled it, using crazy glue between the pipes.
I had seen something like this on pinterest.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2617 days

#3 posted 10-01-2012 01:46 PM

I used to be afraid of using a circular saw, probably because the first one I used was a very old (like pre-1950s) model that had no brake. It kicked back on me rather forcefully, and I saw my femoral artery spraying blood everywhere in my imagination. I didn’t use one until some years later. Thankfully it was a new Skilsaw with a blade brake, and I had someone to teach me to use it the proper way.

I find that if it’s awkward to hold, the easiest way to get comfortable with it is to properly brace and support the piece you’re cutting so that you can use two hands on the saw without having to hold the workpiece. The cut is much easier to control, and as you get more comfortable with the saw, you can start trying one-handed cuts.


View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2552 days

#4 posted 10-01-2012 01:50 PM

yup, femoral artery bleed would certainly ruin your day…

thanks for the tip. The plywood I cut was already down to 2×3’ and I clamped it, but I found I still wanted to put one hand on the workpiece. (well away from the saw of course)

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Julian's profile


1484 posts in 3168 days

#5 posted 10-01-2012 03:07 PM

Cutting larger sheets of plywood can be tricky. In additon to clamping the plywood, did you support the cut off piece? This prevents the cut off from breaking off at the end of the cut and should make you feel safer. Another possibility is a smaller circular saw (~4 1/2” dia. blade). I believe Delta still makes a model (Norm often used one on his show). There are also battery powered 4 1/2 circular saws. Sounds like you are pleased with your Sonicrafter. I purchased one a couple years ago only because the Fein model was too expensive ($400). The sonicrafter is OK but the Fein has a few features that make it superior and now the price is about $200 (on clearance at the my local HomeDepot).

-- Julian

View deeman's profile


379 posts in 3558 days

#6 posted 10-01-2012 04:51 PM

Looks Great

-- Dennis Trenton Ohio And life is worth the living just because He lives!

View DocSavage45's profile


8856 posts in 3320 days

#7 posted 10-01-2012 05:49 PM


I mentioned either making or buyingclamp on rail guides/ Or making a circular saw rail guide with tempered masonite. Does the illness get in the way of managing tools?

1. snap a line, or use a pencil and staight edge.
2.line up the blade on the waste side of the cut.
3. Set depth of blade only deep enough for teeth to ome through the board
4. hold saw with the grip to feel comfortable with the wieght
5. use the grip(knob) as a counter blance.
6. When cutting don’t hurry keep checking the line
7. You can stop thesaw at any time in the cut, just back off the cut when starting it again and wait til full rpm’s
8. walk slowly through the cut
9. Stop the cut when blade finishes cutting through
10. practice on scrap wooh..LOL!

Best of luck in mastering your fears and the tool.

I have similar angst about my new lathe

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2552 days

#8 posted 10-01-2012 07:41 PM

New lathe. Exciting. When I was in middle school I was part of the first group of girls exposed to shop class. I turned a lamp and remember really enjoying it. Maybe that’s when the seed was planted.

Thanks for the tips. I think one of the issues with the circular saw is that I’m very comfortable with the jigsaw, and the circular saw just seems more unwieldy. In the middle of the cut with the circular saw, I wanted to back up to reposition like I do with the jigsaw. I had a quick moment of panic when I realized that I should let the blade come to rest first. I did have the blade set properly though – I tend to read as much as I can before trying a new tool.

There are two issues with the illness that affect my ability to manage the tools, but you could say that both are positives as far as safety. The first is fatigue. While it’s frustrating to have to back away from a project, I’m quite partial to my digits so when I get hit in the afternoons with fatigue I won’t touch any of my power tools.
The other is some issues with proprioception. I’ve been cooking my whole life, and last year I started burning myself regularly. And then I noticed that I couldn’t find a bolt on the back of a cabinet I was assembling without finding the edge with my hand and sliding it across. And now, if my eyes are closed, I can’t tell the position of my hands or feet without relying on other senses. Sooooooo in the kitchen I’ve adapted quite well by paying closer attention to where my hands are, and I’ve done the same thing in the garage – no distractions, and keep my eyes on my hands and the tool.

Stuff we’re all supposed to anyway, right?

Happy Monday

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View DocSavage45's profile


8856 posts in 3320 days

#9 posted 10-02-2012 12:16 AM

Have you considered only working with hand tools? Dsve bardin ie. SuperDave does blogs in that area.

Use Charles Neil’s rule. “Measure three times and sneak up on it!” LOL! Works better than my Grandfather’s saying “I cut it off twices and it was still too short.”

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3167 days

#10 posted 10-02-2012 02:11 AM

2 suggestions for the circular saw: I always use some type of straight edge/guide clamped to the workpiece and second , those thin kerf blades (mine are DeWalt) cut SO much easier so you never feel like you are forcing the saw through the wood. You would laugh at my little black plastic antique Black and Decker circular saw but it goes through 3/4” ply like a knife through butter with those blades (and they are cheap).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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