Do you ever take the time to check if your circular saw is accurate? If not, it’s time to start! Even the best circular saws need adjustments to ensure precise cuts. In this article, we will guide you through the process of checking the accuracy of your circular saw and making necessary adjustments.
Checking Circular Saw Accuracy at 90 Degrees
The first step is to examine the cut line marking notches on your circular saw. One is for square cuts, and the other is for 45° bevel cuts. Begin by using a square marker to check the accuracy. Most saws have an adjustable set screw for calibration. Make sure the saw blade is perfectly aligned at 90° to the shoe and cut a few inches into the wood. Then, place the saw against a square or ruler, and stop the blade while keeping it against the edge guide.
Observe if the kerf made by the blade aligns with the mark. If it doesn’t, you can use a permanent marker or scoring cone to transfer the actual cut location and width onto the saw shoe. Alternatively, you can draw on white tape to make the lines more visible. It is helpful to clamp the guiding equipment to the wood during this marking process.
If the cut aligns with the marked side but is thinner than the notch, mark the missing side below the notch. For precise cuts, you’ll want the ability to consistently and accurately cut on either side of the mark.
Checking Circular Saw Accuracy at 45 Degrees
After confirming that the saw blade is set at 45°, repeat the above process for the miter cut line marks. Cutting a flat piece of wood and measuring the resulting angle is generally more accurate than measuring the angle between the shoe and blade. Remember that any deviation from the shoe’s flatness can affect your measurements.
Verifying Parallel Blades
Another crucial aspect to check is whether the blades are parallel to the shoe. This alignment ensures accurate cuts when using a square or ruler as a guide. Similar to a ship’s rudder, the saw will follow the direction the blade is pointing. If the blade deviates from the edge, it will dig into the material. Likewise, if the blade leans towards the edge, it will bend and bind, halting your progress. Elevating the blade slightly so that the teeth just clear the cut greatly enhances the flexibility of the blade. However, the more the blade is in the cut, the better it will help maintain a straight and square cut.
When in Doubt, Consult the Manual
If you encounter issues with a misaligned baseplate, consult the manual or the brand’s technical service department for guidance. You can measure the distance from the edge of the shoe to the farthest forward and rearward point of the blade to verify the misalignment.
My old cord saw allows for blade parallelism adjustment, but this feature is rare in cordless saws. If your saw has bolts attaching the body to the track shoes, you may need to loosen them all and then tighten them again while twisting the saw in the desired direction. If that doesn’t work, you may need to carefully bend or pry some of the linkage parts that hold the body and shoe together. In some cases, you might be able to separate the body and shoes. If the issue persists and your saw is new, consider returning it. If it’s not returnable, take the necessary steps to fix it. For optimal cutting precision, you need a saw that can consistently provide straight and accurate cuts.
With these steps and adjustments, you can ensure the accuracy of your circular saw and achieve precise cuts every time.