August 24, 2022
The use of circular saws is fraught with many risks. Despite having upper and lower guards surrounding the saw blade, for example, the lower guard of the circular saw readily opens when you push the saw into your workpiece. This setup exposes the saw blade. An exposed blade, of course, is always an amputation and laceration hazard. And if the saw kicks back while the saw blade is exposed, you might incur a serious injury.
Many injuries when using a circular saw are related to kickbacks. A kickback happens when the saw blade’s teeth, moving at tremendous speed, impart enough force to make the workpiece move violently and unexpectedly. If you’re using a circular saw, the kickback tends to throw your saw back to you, which can cause the saw blade to run over your fingers.
Why Do Circular Saws Kick Back?
The circular saw kicks back because of several reasons. If you are new to using a circular saw, you might not know these reasons. Hence, it will help to know these reasons to be mindful of them. Below are the possible causes of kickbacks:
You Did Not Support Properly Your Wood Panel
Experts would advise you to keep the support close to your cutline. If you fail to do this, kickback might happen. For example, if the saw cuts farther from the support, the saw blade will likely experience binding, leading to kickback.
If such is the case, the weight of the saw, wood, and your weight will exert pressure on the wood, making it bow. Moreover, the wood’s ends will increase their force on the saw blade, causing the wood to pinch the saw blade while you move the circular saw forward.
If the circular saw cannot bear this pinching force, it jerks back, causing kickback. Kickbacks can also happen when the board you cut loops downward. This looping downward squeezes the saw blade, stopping it eventually.
When it stops, it ricochets and jerks back toward your direction. This jerking back is dangerous to you and might cause you injury.
Kickbacks can also happen when the wood piece squeezes the saw blade, stopping it afterward. It might be because the saw blade hits something hard. In all these cases, the reason is improper support of the workpiece.
The Saw Blade is Not Sharp
Another potential reason the circular saw would exhibit kickback is an unsharpened saw blade. Experts will advise you to sharpen your saw blade or use a sharp saw blade when cutting. They would also tell you to spend time sharpening your saw blade to speed up the cutting process.
Similarly, when cutting using a circular saw, you need to use a sharp saw blade. If you are using a blunt saw blade, the motor will exert more effort to cut through the wood. It overburdens the motor while raising the possibility of wood binding and blade pinching. If blade pinching happens, kickback might happen.
Overusing Your Circular Saw
Your circular saw has its limitations when it comes to usage. You should stagger its use, allowing it to cool down regularly. If you continuously use it as if there’s no tomorrow, it might overheat. Overheating of the motor and saw blade might dull the saw blade.
As mentioned above, using a dull saw blade might cause binding and blade pinching, which leads to kickback. So, you should not use your circular saw without any respite. Let it rest during every cutting session to ensure that your circular saw will not overheat.
Cutting Knotted Wood
Wood parts have different densities. If the wood, for example, is knotted, you will find the knotted parts denser. If you cut through these knots, you might cause the saw blade and motor to work harder.
The saw blade might also jam or get pinched, causing kickback. So, when cutting wood using the circular saw, you must carefully inspect it to see if it has knotty parts. In this way, you will know if you will cut through knotted sections and be wary of kickbacks.
Before you even turn on your circular saw, it will be best to be mindful of the size of the workpiece. If you cut through thicker and longer workpiece, you should be able to support the workpiece well. Besides, it will be best to use the appropriate circular saw blade to cut the workpiece.
Moreover, you should adjust the cutting depth of the saw blade properly. Ensure, likewise, that your wood piece is clamped well so that it will not move while you cut it.
Incorrect Setting of Cutting Depths
You should not set the cutting depth beyond your saw blade’s actual circular saw blade cutting depth capacity when cutting wood. If the cutting depth you selected might be greater than the stock’s actual thickness, you might be exposing more wood surface, which raises the possibility of kickback.
How to Prevent Circular Saw Kickbacks
As mentioned above, kickback is the sudden jerking back, or reaction of the circular saw to a pinched saw blade. This kickback can cause uncontrolled backward movement, lifting your circular saw toward you.
Kickback is preventable. Since it is due to improper or incorrect use of your tool, you can prevent it by knowing and practicing your tool’s correct usage and operation. Below are the simple tips on how to avoid kickback:
Maintain Correct Position During Sawing
Since kickback is the jerking backward of your tool towards you, it will be best to keep or uphold your position well. It will be best if you keep your feet well-grounded to control the kickback well when kickback happens. The best position is to hold the circular saw with your hands while you stand just behind your circular saw.
Ensure that the Workpiece Is Secured with Clamps
At the onset of cutting, you need to ensure that your workpiece is secured tightly. Clamps will help ensure that you position your wood piece well, with enough proper support. Additionally, you can use grip clamps because they can work well with larger boards.
Ensure Proper Cutting Piece Placement
Kickback might happen if you do not provide your workpiece with proper support. When positioning the workpiece, you should set it so that the excess wood will fall freely to the ground. In this way, the saw blade will not bind and cause kickback.
Ensure that Your Supports for Your Workpiece is Sturdy
If you cut long board pieces, you need to support your long board throughout. Ensure that you support the board with sawhorses on each side. Ensure likewise that you support the wood in the middle because the wood middle might bend without middle support, leading to saw blade pinching. So, before you cut, ensure that the board is supported in the middle and on both sides.
Additional Tips to Prevent Kickback
Aside from the abovementioned tips on how to prevent kickback, it will also help to know the following additional tips on how to avoid kickback:
- Ensure that you choose the saw blade with the appropriate teeth set. The tooth set offers clearance between the saw blade’s sides and the workpiece. With the correct tooth set, you can lessen binding that leads to kickback.
- Always maintain your saw blade and keep it clean. As you constantly use your saw, sap and pitch buildup might occur in your saw blade. This buildup of pitch might add to the thickness of the saw blade, causing increased friction, leading to kickback.
- Inspect your stock if it is warped, pitchy, or knotty.
- Handle your saw with both hands firmly.
- Let go of the switch if the saw blade binds.
- Provide your panels with enough support.
- Ensure that you set the cutting depth of your saw blade correctly. With the correct depth setting, you will not overexpose the saw blade, thus reducing the onset of kickback.
- Position the saw shoe on the supported portion of the wood to minimize pinching of the saw blade.
- Don’t remove your saw while the saw blade is rotating.
- Don’t use a broken or warped saw blade.
- Clean your saw blade and allow your saw to rest after every cutting session.
As you read through this post, you will discover that several factors can cause kickback. Kickbacks, of course, might happen abruptly when you least expect it. So, you might not be prepared for it. Yet, if you follow the abovementioned tips on minimizing or preventing kickback, you can ensure that you will not encounter much kickback when using the circular saw.
When using the circular saw, ensure that you are always on the safe side. Wear all the necessary gear and follow the safety protocols. In this way, you can protect yourself from injury, while you perform your cutting task safely. however, you can also opt to use the circular saw with built-in safety features to minimize the risk of getting hurt.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.