A circular saw is a pretty handy tool for carpenters and other craftsmen. However, there are some risks involved in its use amongst which the most prominent one is a kickback. The good news, however, is that a circular saw kickback can easily be avoided following some mandatory precautions, such as troubleshooting the circular saw, handling it firmly for the cutting process, and equipping the required safety gear, etc.
Before we go into the details of these precautions, you must know what a circular saw kickback is, and how does it occur. So, let’s begin!
What is a Circular Saw Kickback?
A kickback refers to the point during the sawing process when the blade of the circular saw gets stuck or the wooden board you’re cutting bows downward. As a result, the blade comes to a halt all of a sudden, and the circular saw is driven back in your direction. The kickback usually occurs when the wooden piece to be cut is caught between the blade of the circular saw and another object, such as the rail guide or the fence.
A kickback can be dangerous. Therefore, before you go on to use your circular saw, make sure to factor in all the safety considerations.
Preventing Circular Saw Kickback – Step-by-Step Procedure
Preventing circular saw kickback involves several safety precautions and technical adjustments of the circular saw itself. Below, we’ll walk you through all the necessary steps.
Check Your Circular Saw
Oftentimes, a faulted circular saw can result in kickbacks. Therefore, make sure to make the following tests beforehand:
- Ensure that the blade of the circular saw is free of any broken or twisted teeth.
- Check for any sort of distortion or bend in the body of the blade.
- Try to keep your circular saw’s blade from overheating which is a ramification of slow feeding. Unless the blade of your circular saw is sharp and its motor is strong, avoid feeding slowly.
- Adjust the ripping size of the blade before cutting. Nearly half an inch above the thickness of the material to be cut should do the trick. A ripping size beyond the suggested value will result in binding.
- Ensure that the blade guard returns and retraces its normal position during the cutting process.
- Make sure that the blade is properly held to the rotating shaft of the circular saw and that it does not waver.
Hold the Saw Tightly
The most basic way of preventing a kickback or at least, reducing it, is to hold both the front and back parts of the circular saw firmly. Also, make sure that one of your fingers is on the circular saw trigger at all times so that you can easily release it in case a kickback occurs.
Maintain a Constant Position
When using a circular saw, make sure you are standing as a kickback tends to drive the circular saw in the opposite direction and you’ll be safer while standing as compared to sitting. On top of that, ensure that your body is slightly offset; avoid standing right behind the circular saw as that’s the direction it is likely to rebound in.
Use a Flat Surface for the Job
To saw a workpiece, make sure you always use a flat surface. However, instead of using a single flat wooden surface as support, prefer a pair of surfaces so that proper support is provided to both edges and the workpiece is cut safely.
In addition, try to keep the support as close as possible to the cut. The further the saw is from the cutting exercise, the more likely will it bind. This is because the weight of the wood, the circular saw as well as the slight downward pressure you apply make the wood bend.
To cause the waste piece of the wood to be able to move away from the required piece, use something like a table or sawhorses, etc. Also, it’s advisable to clamp the waste piece as well because otherwise, when the cut is made, the wood splinters at the end of the cut.
Tighten the Workpiece
Before you start working on a workpiece, make sure that it is firmly held to a flat surface from both ends using some sort of clamps or other supports that you prefer. This is especially applicable in the case of a long piece of wood.
Declutter Your Workspace
With a bunch of tools and equipment scattered across the workspace, you can easily trip into hazards occasionally so make sure that you remove all unnecessary items from the vicinity beforehand.
Keep the Cord Away from the Blade’s Path
As you set up your workspace, make sure that the cord of your circular saw has plenty of slack and is clear of the path of the blade. Otherwise, not only will your saw bind but also, you can damage the tool itself.
Make an Overall Check
Before commencing the cutting process, run a quick yet thorough diagnosis of the blade of your circular saw. Ensure the firmness of the blade along with the bevel adjustment knob. Furthermore, make sure that the blade is sharp because dull blades are known to cause kickback.
Run a Diagnosis of Your Wooden Board
Oftentimes, the workpiece can contain embedded nails and screws, and when the blade of the circular saw comes into contact with them, a kickback result. So, diagnose the workpiece beforehand; a handheld metal detector can help in this regard.
Commence Cutting the Right Way
Before you start cutting the workpiece, make sure that the blade of your circular saw is not in contact with the workpiece. Otherwise, a kickback will occur, letting off the circular saw.
Wait for the circular saw to attain its maximum speed and only then, begin making a cut.
Stop Instantly if Something Goes Wrong
During the cutting exercise using a circular saw, certain mishaps can happen that can ultimately cause kickbacks so, keep an eye out for them. For instance, if you hear a screeching sound, turn off your circular saw and check to see if its blade is strained.
Moreover, if your circular saw stray from the marked cutting line, don’t try and steer it back to its normal path. Instead, take the circular saw back, turn it off, and start over again. Over time, you’ll become an expert in cutting straight lines.
Ensure the Free Falling of the Cut Material
Whenever you’re cutting a workpiece, make sure that the side you cut is allowed to freely fall. This prevents the binding of the blade, as well as the formation of pinch points. Hence kickbacks are avoided.
Have all the Safety Gear Available
Whether you are a professional or you’re just starting out, never ever underestimate your safety. Make sure that you have all your safety gear equipped before you turn on the circular saw. The most important pieces of safety gear include a protective face shield, cutting gloves, steel toe boots, and ear protection.
Simply put, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a professional craftsman, the tips provided in this article to prevent a circular saw kickback will help you big time in feeling more secure while carrying out jobs that require the use of circular saws.
Keep in mind, however, that, whatever your level of expertise and even if you follow all the other safety considerations, putting on the safety equipment can never be avoided. So, the next time you buckle up for some sort of woodwork, equip an appropriate gear before you begin!