In this article, the speaker demonstrates five methods for achieving the cleanest cuts possible with a circular saw. The speaker intentionally uses an old, dull blade with only 24 teeth to make the demonstration more challenging. The methods include scoring the cut line, using painter’s tape, understanding blade tooth count, using a one-sided zero clearance track saw guide, and using a T-square. The article emphasizes the importance of using the right blade for the job and understanding tear out to achieve the best results.
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- Using the right blade tooth count is crucial for achieving clean cuts with a circular saw.
- Scoring the cut line and using painter’s tape are effective methods for reducing tear out.
- Using a one-sided zero clearance track saw guide or a T-square can help achieve perfectly straight cuts with minimal tear out.
What Not to Do
When using a circular saw, there are certain things that you should avoid to get the cleanest cuts possible. Firstly, avoid using a dull blade with a low tooth count. As demonstrated in the video, using a 24-tooth blade that is old and used will result in torn-out cuts with burning. This will not only ruin the appearance of your workpiece but can also be dangerous.
Another mistake to avoid is not scoring the cut line before making the actual cut. This can cause the fibers of the wood to tear and break away, resulting in a messy cut. Additionally, avoid using a blade that is not appropriate for the job at hand. A 24-tooth blade is great for ripping a 2×4 with the grain, but it is not suitable for general work or finish work.
It is also important to avoid using the wrong side of the workpiece as the top side when cutting with a circular saw. The top side is the one that is most likely to experience tear-out, so it is crucial to make sure that the face that will be visible is on the bottom side of the workpiece.
Lastly, avoid using improper cutting techniques. For example, cutting without a support piece can cause the wood to vibrate and result in an uneven cut. Additionally, not using a guide or straight edge can cause the saw to drift off course and result in a messy cut.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that you get the cleanest cuts possible from your circular saw. Always use the appropriate blade, score the cut line, use the correct side of the workpiece, and use proper cutting techniques to achieve the best results.
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Method 5: Scoring the Cut Line
To achieve a cleaner cut with a circular saw, scoring the cut line is a helpful technique. There are two methods for scoring the cut line: using a shallow blade depth or a box cutter knife.
Scoring with a Shallow Blade Depth
The first method involves setting the blade to a shallow depth and using it to score the piece before making the actual cut all the way through. This technique tears or cuts the fibers on the top, preventing them from tearing and breaking away during the actual cut. After scoring, the depth can be adjusted to make the actual cut, resulting in a cleaner finish.
Scoring with a Box Cutter Knife
The second method for scoring the cut line involves using a box cutter knife to score exactly where the cut should be made. This technique also cuts the fibers evenly before running the blade over them. One cut is made all the way through after scoring, resulting in a smooth cut.
It’s important to note that the top side of the material being cut is more likely to experience tear out, so it’s recommended to make that the bottom side of the material when using a circular saw. Additionally, using the right blade with the appropriate tooth count is crucial for achieving a clean cut. A 24 tooth blade is great for specific tasks like ripping a 2×4 with the grain, while a 56 or 60 tooth blade is ideal for finish work and cutting plywood.
In summary, scoring the cut line with a shallow blade depth or a box cutter knife is a helpful technique for achieving a cleaner cut with a circular saw. Using the right blade and ensuring the top side is supported during the cut can also contribute to a cleaner finish.
Understanding Tear Out
Tear out is a common problem when using a circular saw, especially when cutting across the grain. Tear out occurs when the saw blade tears the fibers of the wood, resulting in a rough and uneven cut. This can be unsightly and can also weaken the structural integrity of the wood.
One of the main causes of tear out is the direction of the saw blade. As the blade moves through the wood, it pushes the fibers upward, causing them to tear out on the top side of the cut. This is why it’s important to make sure that the top side of the wood is supported and that the blade is sharp and properly aligned.
Another factor that can contribute to tear out is the tooth count of the blade. Blades with a lower tooth count, such as a 24-tooth blade, are more likely to cause tear out because they remove more material with each pass. Blades with a higher tooth count, such as a 56-tooth or 60-tooth blade, are better suited for finish work and are less likely to cause tear out.
To prevent tear out, there are several techniques that can be used, such as scoring the cut line, using painter’s tape, and using a one-sided zero clearance track saw guide or a T-square. By using these techniques, the wood fibers are supported and the blade is less likely to cause tear out, resulting in a cleaner and more precise cut.
Overall, understanding tear out and how to prevent it is essential for achieving clean and professional-looking cuts with a circular saw. By taking the necessary precautions and using the right techniques and tools, tear out can be minimized, resulting in a better finished product.
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Method 4: Using Painters Tape
Another method for getting clean cuts with a circular saw is to use painters tape. This technique has been around for a while and is still effective today. By applying painters tape to the surface that is going to be cut, especially the top surface that is most likely to experience tear out, you can act as a support piece and prevent a lot of the tearing that can happen.
To use this method, simply apply the painters tape to the surface you want to cut and make sure to push it down really well. Then, make your cut as usual. When you remove the tape, you’ll find that the cut is much cleaner and there is less tear out.
Comparing a cut with and without painters tape, the difference is clear. The cut with painters tape applied is much cleaner and smoother. This technique can be particularly useful when working with materials that are prone to tear out, such as plywood.
Overall, using painters tape is a simple and effective way to get cleaner cuts with a circular saw. It’s a technique that has been around for a while and is still widely used today.
Understanding Blade Tooth Count
Blade tooth count is an important factor to consider when choosing a circular saw blade. The number of teeth on a blade determines the quality of the cut and the type of material it can cut effectively. In this article, we will discuss the different types of blade tooth counts and their uses.
24 Tooth Blade
A 24 tooth blade is the lowest tooth count that is commercially available. This type of blade is ideal for ripping through lumber with the grain, such as 2x4s, 2x10s, and 1x4s. It is also the cheapest blade to manufacture, which is why it is the most common blade that comes with a circular saw. However, it is not recommended for general work or finish work.
40 Tooth Blade
A 40 tooth blade is a general work saw blade that is ideal for most cutting tasks. It is a good compromise between a 24 tooth blade and a 56 or 60 tooth blade. It is suitable for cross-cutting and ripping through lumber, as well as cutting through plywood and other sheet goods. It provides a good balance between speed and quality of cut.
56 or 60 Tooth Blade
A 56 or 60 tooth blade is ideal for finish work and cutting through plywood and other sheet goods. It provides a smooth, clean cut with minimal tear-out. These blades have carbide teeth that can be resharpened, making them a good investment for those who do a lot of finish work. They are also suitable for cross-cutting and ripping through lumber, but they may not be as fast as a 40 tooth blade.
A plywood blade is designed specifically for cutting through plywood and other sheet goods. It has a high tooth count, usually around 140, which provides a clean cut with minimal tear-out. It is also suitable for cutting through veneers and laminates. However, it is not recommended for cutting through lumber, as the high tooth count can cause the blade to overheat and wear out quickly.
In summary, choosing the right blade tooth count is essential for achieving the best possible cut with your circular saw. A 24 tooth blade is ideal for ripping through lumber with the grain, a 40 tooth blade is a good compromise for most cutting tasks, a 56 or 60 tooth blade is ideal for finish work, and a plywood blade is designed specifically for cutting through plywood and other sheet goods.
Method 3: One-Sided Zero Clearance Track Saw Guide
The One-Sided Zero Clearance Track Saw Guide is a tool that helps you get a perfectly straight line and provides backing for when making a cut. This method is similar to the previous one, but it requires less or no clamping, making it a lot easier to use.
To make this tool, you will need a section that is just a track for your saw to guide along. It can come in different shapes and sizes, but the gist of it is the same. You will also need a little bit of plywood, preferably half an inch thick.
First, you need to measure the distance from the blade to the opposite end of the shoe or base plate of your circular saw. Then, cut out a board with a factory edge, leaving the factory edge alone. Next, cut a larger piece of plywood, around 10 or 11 inches long. Apply the measurement you just took to the larger piece, leaving a little extra space. Fasten the smaller board to the larger one, using glue, screws, or brad nails.
Adjust the depth of your blade, and use the manufacturer’s edge to cut right off the actual edge of the board to get it perfect. This tool will hold down the top fibers of the wood, preventing them from splitting out and tearing.
Overall, the One-Sided Zero Clearance Track Saw Guide is a simple and effective tool to use for getting a clean and straight cut. It is especially useful when working with delicate materials that are prone to tearing and chipping.
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Method 2: T-Square
Using a T-square is another effective method to get a clean cut with a circular saw. It works similarly to the one-sided zero clearance track saw guide, but with less or no clamping required.
To use a T-square, start by measuring the distance from the blade to the edge of the saw’s shoe or base plate. Cut a piece of wood to that length and attach it to the T-square, leaving a small gap between the wood and the T-square’s edge. This gap will prevent the blade from cutting into the T-square.
Next, align the T-square with the cut line, making sure the wood piece is on the side of the cut line where the tear-out is likely to occur. Hold the T-square firmly in place and make the cut.
By using a T-square, the wood piece is held securely in place, preventing tear-out and ensuring a clean cut. It’s a simple and effective solution that can be used for a variety of projects.
Overall, using a T-square is a reliable way to get a clean cut with a circular saw. It’s easy to use and requires minimal setup, making it a great option for both beginners and experienced woodworkers.
Method 1: Zero Clearance Shoe/ Base Plate
This method involves creating a zero clearance shoe or base plate for a circular saw in order to prevent tear out and achieve clean cuts.
The process involves measuring the width and height of the circular saw plate and transferring those measurements to a quarter inch hardboard to create the shoe.
The shoe is then taped in place and carefully lowered onto the material being cut. The shoe provides a tight fit against the blade, reducing tear out.
While it improves the quality of the cuts, it does not provide safety features like a guard. A hybrid approach combining a zero clearance slot with ledges and slides is suggested for better results.
Overall, using a zero clearance plate can be an effective method for achieving clean cuts with minimal tear out.