Skip to content

Competencies covered

MSFFL2001: Use flooring technology sector hand and power tools

Circular saw operation

Image for slide 1
Audio for slide 1 (mp3 |6|KB)
Hand-held circular saws are generally simply called 'power saws'.

They are used to cross-cut timber, rip timber lengthwise and cut wood-based panel products.

Note that they are only designed to cut in a straight line - if you need to cut a profiled shape, such as around a doorjamb or architrave, you should use a jigsaw.

hearing icon
Image for slide 2
Audio for slide 2 (mp3 |6|KB)
Most power saws run on mains electricity.

However, it is possible to buy good quality cordless saws, although they are less powerful than an equivalent-sized 240 volt saw.

You can also buy air-operated saws, but they are not as convenient for on-site use.

hearing icon
Image for slide 3
Audio for slide 3 (mp3 |6|KB)
Like electric planers, circular saws have extra hazards because they're designed to cut at high speed.

So many of the same precautions apply, including always being sure that the tool is disconnected from the power source before you check the blade, clear jams or make adjustments.

hearing icon
Image for slide 4
Audio for slide 4 (mp3 |6|KB)

Unlike an electric planer, you don't need to wait until the saw has stopped turning before you put it down, because the spring-loaded guard will flick back into place when you remove the saw from the work.

But this means you have an additional safety check to carry out - always make sure the guard is moving freely and springing back to its correct position before connecting the saw to the power supply.

Click on the link below to see a basic SOP for a circular saw.

Circular saw SOP

hearing icon

Learning activity

Audio 5 (mp3 |6|KB)

The first dot point in the SOP talks about the importance of securing the material you're about to cut, and making sure any large offcuts will be well-supported before you start cutting.

How would you go about securing the following two pieces of work?

You can use a drawing for each one to illustrate your answer if you wish.

  1. A long length of solid timber skirting board (say 4.8 m long), to be cut in the middle.

  2. A 2400 x 1200 sheet of plywood, to be cut back to 1800 x 1200.
hearing icon