Circular Saw Backwards??? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 07-09-2020, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Circular Saw Backwards???

I decided to make a track saw jig after watching this YouTube video:


I had all the wood and tools, so I put one together and was about to cut the base board to the size of the saw's plate when I got confused. If you look at the video, his saw is held in his right hand and he cuts right to left and cuts off the little extra bit. My saw looks more like this and if I wanted to cut in this very awkward fashion I'd do it like that, but...no, why?? Is my saw just backwards? How can I make the jig work for me?
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post #2 of 26 Old 07-09-2020, 07:08 PM
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The saw in the video picture is a worm drive with the blade on the opposite side as compared to your saw.

To clarify, standing behind the saw, your blade is on the right side, the saw in the video has the blade on the left side.
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post #3 of 26 Old 07-09-2020, 11:43 PM
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There are right hand, saws and left hand, saws. No joke.
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post #4 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 12:19 AM
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Never thought about "Left / Right handed" saws.

I was out of town and bought a cheap sidewinder which I eventually gave to a neighbor. For the life of me I can't remember which side the blade was on.

I have a Skil-Saw worm drive that is close to 40 years old. One of the greatest power tools ever made. I have been offered more than three times the original cost for the saw.

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Just a dumb old paper boy from Brooklyn, NY
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post #5 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 09:21 AM
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The only problem with my Skil worm drive is the weight. I keeps getting heavier every year. Other than that it's the best power tool I've ever owned.
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post #6 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 09:30 AM
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As you have learned above, some circular saws are right blade and some are left blade. In the video, his fancy Festool track saw is right blade. Notice how he demonstrated it at the start of the video on his "right side" of the workbench. His worm drive saw and trim saw are left blade. Notice how he built the jig and demonstrated it on his "left side" of the workbench.

Your circular saw pictured above is right blade. To build his jig to fit your right blade saw, make the mirror image of what he did. Make the jig and use it on the "right side" of your workbench - the opposite side of what he did in the video.

It may be slightly more awkward to use if you are right handed, because your right hand would cross over your body to push the saw. With a saw like yours, I would use my left hand (carefully!) to keep the saw baseplate pressed against the jig fence (raised board) and guide it, while my right hand holds the trigger and pushes the saw.
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post #7 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 10:34 AM
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P.S. Here are some additional notes, related to the discussion, but not specifically intended for @cynrich.

As a general rule, I have observed that:
* Worm-drive circular saws are always left blade. I am aware of only one exception: a Porter-Cable trim saw.
* Corded circular saws are usually right blade, but you can find them in both sides.
* Cordless circular saws are usually left blade, but you can find them in both sides.

Some accessories are specific to either a left-blade saw or a right-blade saw. I saw a plastic crosscut guide at the store that caught my fancy. I was about to buy it until I realized that it is made only for a right-blade saw:
https://www.rockler.com/bench-dog-pr...able-saw-guide

(If you think about it, the mirror image jig for a left-blade saw would require you to hold the guide with your right hand and operate the saw with your left hand, which might be awkward for some people. If you make it to work the opposite way - holding the guide with the left hand and operating a left-blade saw with the right hand - then the support edge would be narrow and it would be good only for a specific blade kerf width.)

I don't have a dedicated jig. I just grab any old board with a straight edge, clamp it to measure, and use it as a guide. I know my saw baseplate (and blade kerf) measurements by heart. Jigs like the one cynrich wants to build are better, because they make alignment fast and easy, and they reduce tearout. I know that, but then you have to find a place to store it, and they are big.

I am right-handed. I have used both left blade and right blade circular saws (and worm drive Skilsaws, too). I prefer left blade circular saws because it is easier to watch the cut as it progresses. I know others who prefer right-blade saws. It is an individual preference.

Not all of my circular saw cuts happen on the "inside" edge of the blade. Sometimes it is easier to line up the cut for the outside edge, and I must take the blade kerf (blade width) into account as I clamp the guide board to line up the cut.

Just sayin'. I hope this extra info helps someone.
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post #8 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom-G View Post
The saw in the video picture is a worm drive with the blade on the opposite side as compared to your saw.

To clarify, standing behind the saw, your blade is on the right side, the saw in the video has the blade on the left side.

Yup, I got that, but how do I make the track thingy so I can actually cut wood with it?
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post #9 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
As you have learned above, some circular saws are right blade and some are left blade. In the video, his fancy Festool track saw is right blade. Notice how he demonstrated it at the start of the video on his "right side" of the workbench. His worm drive saw and trim saw are left blade. Notice how he built the jig and demonstrated it on his "left side" of the workbench.

Your circular saw pictured above is right blade. To build his jig to fit your right blade saw, make the mirror image of what he did. Make the jig and use it on the "right side" of your workbench - the opposite side of what he did in the video.

It may be slightly more awkward to use if you are right handed, because your right hand would cross over your body to push the saw. With a saw like yours, I would use my left hand (carefully!) to keep the saw baseplate pressed against the jig fence (raised board) and guide it, while my right hand holds the trigger and pushes the saw.
It was definitely awkward, but I'll mess with it until I get it right. I want to be able to cut a sheet of luan (14" ply) into 3"wide strips to re-line all my mobile home's window frames before winter. Thanks for your help!
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post #10 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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One last just-to-be-sure question here--on the blade it has an arrow pointing counter clockwise that says "Rotation" and the teeth are pointing up toward the front of the saw. This is correct right? So the printed label should be visible when its' on right?
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post #11 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynrich View Post
Yup, I got that, but how do I make the track thingy so I can actually cut wood with it?
See my post #6, above. It is addressed specifically to you, and explains how to do it.
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post #12 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:50 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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there's a bunch of DIY track saw videos on You Tube

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...=diy+track+saw



Here's just one;

Which ever one you make, the widest part of the saw's base plate must rest on the guide, not the narrow 1 1/2" part. This will be determined by which side the blade is mounted on your saw, right side or left side, side winder or worm drive.




The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-10-2020 at 12:15 PM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynrich View Post
One last just-to-be-sure question here--on the blade it has an arrow pointing counter clockwise that says "Rotation" and the teeth are pointing up toward the front of the saw. This is correct right? So the printed label should be visible when its' on right?
On a hand-held circular saw, mount the blade so that the teeth point up in front. The blade should rotate so the teeth cut up, from underneath.

Circular saw blades are not consistent about which side their labels appear (and their direction arrows, of course). Answering a question about "which side should the label be?" is problematic. It also depends on whether you are using a left-blade or right-blade saw.

For YOUR SPECIFIC BLADE described above, because the label has a counter-clockwise arrow, then it would be mounted label-out on your right-side blade saw. Do NOT assume that all blades for your saw should be mounted label out.


Additional info that you can safely ignore:

I just looked at a few of my blades, and they are different than yours, with a clockwise arrow. They are smaller blades for a cordless circular saw. My hunch is that your blade is designed to be label out for a corded right-blade saw, which is the most common type of corded non-worm-drive saw. I bet that my smaller blades are designed to be label out for a cordless left-blade saw, the most common type of cordless saw. That's just a hunch.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 07-10-2020 at 12:06 PM.
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post #14 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 01:51 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Blade rotation direction .....

Let's understand the physics of cutting with a circular saw blade.

On a hand held circular saw, the blade rotates upward towards the front of the saw base no matter which side it's mounted on right or left. This upward rotation actually presses the workpiece into the base, kinda holding it there slightly until the cut is through. Then upon completion of the cut there is no longer any upward pressure and the workpiece and cutoff fall to the ground.

The table saw is somewhat different. The downward rotation of the blade as it enters the workpiece kinda presses it downward as well as making the cut. When the cut is through the material there is no longer any downward pressure and both pieces can move freely but typically on a cross cut will stay where they fell. There is still some upward rotational pressure at the rear of blade due to friction, or using a fine tooth blade with very little set to the teeth, but it's minimal and will not lift the workpiece off the table unless the fence is not adjusted parallel to the blade.

The RAS, radial arm saw, is somewhat like a circular saw except there is no saw base to press against the workpiece as theblade enters it. As the blade is pulled into the work from behind the fence it's rotation will tend to press the workpiece onto the table initially. The operator must also press downward towards the table and towards the fence to secure it since it will tend to lift off the table if you don't hold it securely. This is especially true when ripping and that's why the nose of the blade guard should always be rotated down onto the material, just touching it lightly in order to hold it down. Additionally, the material should always be fed into the blade at the front where there is upward rotation. Feeding it into the rear of the blade, with it's downward rotation direction, will likely send it shooting across the room.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-10-2020 at 03:39 PM.
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post #15 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 04:21 PM
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Building stairs, you will have to have a left hand saw to cut the left outside skirt and a right for the right. It is no fun trying back into a 45 degree miter with a circular saw, very dangerous.

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post #16 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynrich View Post
I had all the wood and tools, so I put one together and was about to cut the base board to the size of the saw's plate when I got confused. If you look at the video, his saw is held in his right hand and he cuts right to left and cuts off the little extra bit. My saw looks more like this and if I wanted to cut in this very awkward fashion I'd do it like that, but...no, why?? Is my saw just backwards? How can I make the jig work for me?
if you ever built houses for a living. the right saw has the blade on the left. get it?

if you've ever used a speed square, typically for framing a house, with a left blade saw... you will have that ah ha moment. you hold the saw with your right hand, you hold the speed square with your left hand and you saw. easy to see the cut line and the blade, no contortionist moves to see anything.
with a right blade saw your fighting the motor for grip of the speed square and if it's the first cut you have to stop when the motor hits the T end of the square.



all ras have a left blade cuz most people are right handed. left blade allows you to see the cut line and the blade while cutting. hold with left hand, saw with right. easy peasy. i've had situations on the ras where i had to hold with right hand and saw with left hand it felt so awkward, almost as awkward as using a right blade saw.

i've always owned left blade saws. b&d used to make a 5.5" left blade, i loved it. built many homes with that one. when it bit the dust i bought another one. recent addition is the milwaukee M18 5.5" left blade cordless. once you go left, you'll never go back

and... what is it with track saws??? it must be the newest kool-aid to drink. an 18"x8' chunk of plywood and 2 clamps make the best rip guide for a circular saw.

for the record, the saw in the video is not a wormdrive saw, just a left blade saw.
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post #17 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 09:05 PM
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@ogre I have no issues using a speed square with my blade right PC circular saw...I prefer having the wide part of the base plate on the piece that I'm cutting and have been doing it that way for over 20 years. My saw is exactly 5" from the edge of the base plate to the blade so it makes measuring easy enough to get an accurate cut. I rarely use a circular saw for cross cuts unless I'm in a hurry and only need to cut one or 2 boards...99% of the time I've got at least 2 SCMS saws set up to work on.

As for track saws...I bought the Makita in 2008 and I haven't picked up my PC for a rip cut since then. It's faster, quieter, more accurate, safer, easier to use, and has amazing dust collection. If I remember right, the package was $650 for the saw, 54" rail and 118" rail...I would say that it paid for itself in well under a year. 12 years later of almost daily use and I haven't had a single bad cut or needed to perform any maintenance.
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post #18 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
On a hand-held circular saw, mount the blade so that the teeth point up in front. The blade should rotate so the teeth cut up, from underneath.

Circular saw blades are not consistent about which side their labels appear (and their direction arrows, of course). Answering a question about "which side should the label be?" is problematic. It also depends on whether you are using a left-blade or right-blade saw.

For YOUR SPECIFIC BLADE described above, because the label has a counter-clockwise arrow, then it would be mounted label-out on your right-side blade saw. Do NOT assume that all blades for your saw should be mounted label out.


Additional info that you can safely ignore:

I just looked at a few of my blades, and they are different than yours, with a clockwise arrow. They are smaller blades for a cordless circular saw. My hunch is that your blade is designed to be label out for a corded right-blade saw, which is the most common type of corded non-worm-drive saw. I bet that my smaller blades are designed to be label out for a cordless left-blade saw, the most common type of cordless saw. That's just a hunch.

Thanks for all this very valuable info! I've used this saw on and off for a long time, and my late husband happened to be around when the blade needed changing, so I just didn't remember seeing it done. I had some trouble this time with burning the cut wood, but I think it was twisting somehow. I changed the blade to a new plywood blade and it did the same thing so I'm pretty sure it was just time for me to take a break and go back to it tomorrow.
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post #19 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Echo415 View Post
@ogre I have no issues using a speed square with my blade right PC circular saw...I prefer having the wide part of the base plate on the piece that I'm cutting and have been doing it that way for over 20 years. My saw is exactly 5" from the edge of the base plate to the blade so it makes measuring easy enough to get an accurate cut. I rarely use a circular saw for cross cuts unless I'm in a hurry and only need to cut one or 2 boards...99% of the time I've got at least 2 SCMS saws set up to work on.

As for track saws...I bought the Makita in 2008 and I haven't picked up my PC for a rip cut since then. It's faster, quieter, more accurate, safer, easier to use, and has amazing dust collection. If I remember right, the package was $650 for the saw, 54" rail and 118" rail...I would say that it paid for itself in well under a year. 12 years later of almost daily use and I haven't had a single bad cut or needed to perform any maintenance.

I wish I could afford something like that! My budget is really tight though, and I have to make do with what I have for now. I do have a great table saw, band saw, compound miter saw and a saber saw, reciprocating saw, and a bucket of hand saws. The big stuff is crammed into my tiny 10 x 10 shed, and until I build a deck that I can roll them out onto (or get rid of all my sister's stuff that's also stored in there) I'm using the corded circular saw for most quick jobs. It's just a little crazy right now. She's in VA and couldn't come up here due to the pandemic, but a couple more months and all will be picked up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
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post #20 of 26 Old 07-10-2020, 11:26 PM
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Plywood blades have too many teeth for general cutting. Even a 7-1/4" blade has 100 teeth or more.
For most jobs a 36 TPI will crosscut boards and do a decent job on plywood. 24 TPI would be a good choice if you rip a lot. Your plywood blade probably warped in the cut from over heating.
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