How Does A Circular Saw Work?

How does a circular saw work? This is one of the common questions you can hear from novices who have never tried this machine. This quite amusing, considering that this saw is just a simple power tool. Just admit it. Most of you won’t hesitate to use a jigsaw or an electric drill. However, when it comes to a circular saw, you suddenly become reluctant. Are we correct?

Well, we couldn’t blame you for that. Learning how to use a circular saw is easy. However, the actual process might scare you since this machine is a beast. It is noisy, powerful, and throws a lot of debris! If you are not too careful, using this can compromise your safety! In fact, it is one of the tools that you should use with extreme caution.

To have a good understanding of this tool, you should know its entire mechanism. By doing this, you can have a better control of this saw. In return, you can use this power tool as safe as possible.

How Does A Circular Saw Work?

A circular saw is technically a variant of electric saws. It uses a disc or a blade with serrations to cut objects such as metals, wood, and plastic. Depending on the blade, you can even cut cement and other masonry materials.

This device has a handle, on where you can see the on/off switch. It also has an arbor nut that keeps the blade intact and a guard that protects its user from the rotating blade. Moreover, most circular saws have an adjustment setting in where you can control the height and depth of the cut. Bevel cuts are also available on any well-known brands of this tool.

Once you mount this device on a platform, it can already start cutting whatever material that is in placed!

Moreover, there are different types of circular saws too. Each of these differs in mechanism and applications. Here are some of them.

  • 5-inch Trim Saws – This type of circular saw uses a blade that has fine serrations. Usually, its blade is placed beside the motor, specifically on the left side. This kind of construction will let you see the path of the blade in where it cuts. Trim saws are available in different models, too. Such of these are 120V, AC, and rechargeable types.
  • 6-inch Circular Saws – This tool is specifically for cutting and ripping lumber for construction. Aside from that, it can also cut composite materials such as plywood.
  • 7 1/4-inch Skilsaw – A Skilsaw is definitely one of the major tools used in the construction industry. They can cut a lumber up to 5.7 cm thick. This tool is also used to frame lumber to length. At the same time, it can do ripping errands, too! Moreover, its blade is replaceable, which increases its versatility on the field. If the blade is correct, you can even cut ferrous and nonferrous metal sheets and thick steel bars
  • 8-inch and 10-inch Circular Saws – They have the same function as a 6-inch circular saw. They only differ on the depth of the cut. Specifically, they can do 4-inch thick cuts (10.2 cm). However, you should be cautious when using this, especially that it is heavier compared to its counterpart.
  • Worm Drive – This type of circular saw uses a worm-gear drive to power itself. Usually, they are the 7 1/4-inch models that you can see in the market today. Their specific function is to rip lumber and cut any plywood sheathing. Same as a 6-inch circular saw, this tool has its blade placed on the left side to give its user a clear view of the cutting path.

Parts Of A Circular Saw

  • Base Plate – The base plate is an essential element of this power tool. By tilting this part, you can make sharp and precise angled cuts. Many of the circular saws today have base plates that can tilt from 90 degrees to 45 degrees. This design is necessary if you want to make miters and hip-roof rafter cuts.Aside from that, standard base plates have thumbscrew to loosen its bolt. Through this, you saw can keep its blade at the right angle, based on the cut that you are doing.
  • Blade – A circular saw would be useless if it doesn’t have a sharp fang to make the cut. Typically, you can adjust the blade of this tool so that you can adjust its depth. Specifically, it ranges from 0.3 cm to the maximum cutting capacity of your saw.
  • Ripping Fence – This is the component of a circular saw that acts as the guide of the blade if it is making a ripping cut. With this feature, you can expect that your cuts are straighter and smoother.
  • Dust Ejector– Only a few circular saws possess this part. Its primary use to prevent the dust and debris from getting into the face of the user. Moreover, a dust ejector also blows these residues from the mark that you are cutting.
  • Laser Tracking Light – Once again, not all brands of circular saws have this feature. This laser further improves the precision of your cuts by striking a red light to the path of the blade. You can also purchase this component separately (in a retrofit) if your circular saw is not engineered to hold this accessory.
  • Blade Guard – The blade guard is an essential part of a circular saw. You should remember that your safety should be your utmost concern. Specifically, the blade guard is divided into two parts: the fixed guard on the top and the floating guard that rolls away when you are pushing your saw to the material you are cutting. Some brands of circular saws have handles that let you remove the blade guard. This ergonomic allows you to do plunge cutting.


Knowing how does a circular saw work is essential for any users of this tool. This knowledge will serve them in the proper and safe usage of this machine. Moreover, it can also be beneficial when it comes to conducting maintenance and system checkup. If you know how your tool works, you can guarantee that you can fully maximize its potential. This wisdom is not just limited to circular saws, but to all power tools out there!

Moreover, we will always remind you to wear safety gears when using a circular saw. Unlike the conventional saws, its spinning power can easily rip human flesh. Therefore, you need to safeguard yourself every time you are dealing with this industrial beast! If have not found one for you yet, don’t worry! We have a comprehensive circular saw buying guide for you here.