Plunge cut with circular saw.

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tomtheelder2020

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I to cut an 18 x 22 opening in a 30 x 36 piece of 3/4 plywood. Rather than burning out my ancient jigsaw, I would like to just make a plunge cut with my circular saw. I figure to loosen the sole plate so it sits flat, lower the blade slowly to full depth, then proceed with the cut. Is that a reasonable thing to do?
 

havasu

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I do it all the time. Just make sure the wood is secured properly, and you have two hands tightly on the circular saw, and you are standing to the side and not directly behind it, in the event that it kicks back due to pinching.

BTW, I leave the plate up, and use the front part of the plate as a pivot point and drop it into the wood. This ensures fingers are out of the way and avoids a "one handed" operation.
 

havasu

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^ A great reminder. Thank you for posting this!
 

tomtheelder2020

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I did a dry run (i.e. didn't turn saw on) and I think this will not be much or any riskier that using my table saw. If I am smart and careful it is pretty safe. I will update from emergency room if I am wrong.
 

havasu

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Find your tourniquet now! Lol

I remember as a cop, I was sent to a table saw accident where a guy severed 4 of his fingers. He was frantically searching the ground when we arrived. We found the fingers and placed them in a bag and told him to relax. He refused to stop searching until he found the beer he was looking for. He didn't care about the fingers, he just wanted his beer! Don't drink and saw!
 

Ron Van

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I do it all the time. Just make sure the wood is secured properly, and you have two hands tightly on the circular saw, and you are standing to the side and not directly behind it, in the event that it kicks back due to pinching.

BTW, I leave the plate up, and use the front part of the plate as a pivot point and drop it into the wood. This ensures fingers are out of the way and avoids a "one handed" operation.
I’ve used this method many times. I agree with the “have two hands tightly on the circular saw” part. Don’t mess with lowering the plate part.
 

havasu

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And use your pinky finger to lift the blage guard while the 4 remaining digits are firmly grasping the saw. At least this is what works for me.
 

bud16415

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If you are going to be doing a lot of this type of cutting there is nothing like a big old worm drive saw. The extra weight is your friend with kickback and such. A nice light direct drive skill saw is great for most of your cuts and you can hold them out at arms length and cut rafter tails off, but when you need a rock solid hand saw the worm drives are the way to go.



Keep that blade guard working smooth when they start sticking it should be a red flag. I have a carpenter friend that said when he was 20 years old his five button jeans saved his life when the blade guard stuck. I said Uggg and that might not of killed him though. He told me 20 years old on a roof 3 stories up the swan dive to the ground would have surely killed him.
 

jcar932

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The worm drive is great when cutting framing (especially anything bigger than 2x). It is heavy however. I use my little cordless Dewalt for things like the original poster was talking about. I have a 70V Dewalt cordless tracksaw for cutting down large sheets of plywood.
 

Ron Van

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And use your pinky finger to lift the blage guard while the 4 remaining digits are firmly grasping the saw. At least this is what works for me.
I can't picture how you use your pinky? Sometimes (IMHO) it's better to use a piece of twine to tie the blade guard open for some operations like this one.
 

Ron Van

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As it turns out, I needed to make a plunge cut today through 1” oak. I needed to cut off the bullnose on a step.

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I used my thumb on my left hand to hold the guard up and still had most of my left hand on the front grip of the saw. The circular saw couldn’t get all the way to the wall so I finished the cut with a multipurpose tool.

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Done!

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havasu

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I guess since I am left handed, this is whyI use the pinky to hold the guard out of the way. I will never advocate tying up, taping or removing a safety device from any saw.
 

Ron Van

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I guess since I am left handed, this is whyI use the pinky to hold the guard out of the way.
I didn’t think about being left handed. In that case, then I can understand it.
I will never advocate tying up, taping or removing a safety device from any saw.
For the most part I’d agree with that but when the safety device becomes more of a hazard than a safety device then I will temporarily deactivate it. You gotta use your brain though, don’t let the safety device be the cause of an accident. For this job, I didn’t need to tie it up I used my thumb to hold it during the plunge but I have a circular saw that I dedicate to my track saw for making long straight cuts. That saw has its safety guard tied up because it’s dangerous to be fighting with the safety device during that operation.
 

havasu

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I've never used a track saw, but it looks pretty slick!
 

Eddie_T

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My first portable circular saw had such a strong spring on the guard that I couldn't start a straight cut. I just wired it out of the way and loosed it when I put the saw away. I used that wire until I sold the saw. I've got a saw now with the blade on the left so I can see the cut. I lost the spring for it so the guard moves easily.
 

havasu

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My magnesium worm drive Skilsaw doesn't even have a guard. That is the saw favored by framers. Dangerous AND expensive!
 

cdestuck

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You know if that you don’t want to do it with a plunge cut, you can always drill the four corners with a drill bit large enough for your saber. Saw blades to go in there. They just cut out in Square up the hole with your saber saw
 
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