LA CROSSE, Wis., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Anyone who wants to ramp up their home improvement capabilities needs a circular saw. It's the tool to reach for whenever the job is too big or challenging for a handsaw.
The MasterForce™ 6 1/2 in. Cordless Circular Saw from Menards® is a smart choice. This versatile, lightweight workhorse is operated by either an 18-volt lithium-ion or NiCd battery and delivers 4,500 rpm. With some basic circular saw techniques and a few other tools, homeowners are ready to build a deck, install shelves, construct a picnic table or make over the basement. Plans and how-to advice for these and many other DIY projects are available at home centers, such as Menards.
The height adjustment on the saw's base lifts and lowers the blade to control the depth of cut. There's also a bevel adjustment that tilts the blade from 0 to 45 degrees. A spring-loaded blade guard prevents accidental contact with the blade and has a lever to pull back the guard when necessary. Another desirable feature is a blade brake that immediately stops the blade's rotation when the trigger switch is released. Some saws, such as the MasterForce, also incorporate an LED work light to help illuminate the work surface.
Most saws are equipped with a general purpose 18 to 24-tooth, carbide-tipped blade, which combines fairly smooth cutting (smooth enough for most home projects) speed and long life. A 40-tooth trim blade provides a much smoother cut for finish carpentry, but cuts more slowly. Specialty blades for cutting masonry, metal, decking, vinyl and other materials also are available.
Before beginning home projects in earnest, be sure to wear protective eyewear and follow the operating and safety instructions in the owner's manual.
First, set the blade depth so that the bottom teeth are 1/8 to 1/4 inch below the work piece. Setting the blade too low increases the chance of splintering or causing the blade to bind.
To make a cross-cut (cutting across the wood grain), mark a cut line with a pencil, using a straight edge or square. Rest the saw's base plate on the work piece, keeping the blade about an inch away from the wood. Line up the blade to just leave the pencil line on the "keep" side of the work piece. Start the saw and allow it to come up to full speed before guiding it straight into the material.
As you finish a cut, don't lift the saw while the blade is still moving. Cut all the way through the work piece until the leftover piece drops free, then stop the saw.
Ripping refers to sawing with the grain. To keep a large sheet of plywood or paneling from flexing when being ripped, lay the material on 2x4 supports between a pair of sawhorses. You can clamp a straight 1x2 or 1x3 to the work piece at the right distance from the cut line to guide the saw while cutting. For the best appearance, put the good side down. Walk alongside the plywood while cutting.
First-time circular saw buyers should consider buying a cordless tool combo, which typically consists of a drill/driver, circular saw and/or reciprocating saw and work light. Combination pricing is a better value, and the included batteries and charger are interchangeable with other tools in the line. Although tool collections tend to expand in time, a circular saw will continue to be indispensable for most do-it-yourselfers.