6 Important Drop Saw Safety Tips

When using a drop saw, you should be aware of the safety features it provides and know how to operate the saw in an overall safe manner. Modern power tools offer numerous safety features designed to prevent accidents from ever occurring, but they nonetheless require that operators use them safely. Listed here are six important safety tips you should observe when you operate a drop saw.

How a Drop Saw Works

Properly called an electric miter saw, a drop saw or chop saw is a fixed tool with a vertical blade mounted to an adjustable pivot. When loosened, it can swing either way to make angled crosscuts in wood and other materials. The tool is usually equipped with 8- to 12-inch blades and consequently cannot cut wood wider than that. Aside from the blade, handle, trigger and safety shield, a drop saw consists of a flat, level bed or plate and a fence, in addition to its feet. The material to be cut sits upon the bed and up against the fence. On the plate, a half-circle grid displays hashmarks representing 0 to 90 degrees in both directions, making a total of 180 degrees. In practice, only cuts from about 15 to 90 degrees are made. 

Six Safety Tips for a Drop Saw

  • Don't forget about the safety button. Drop saws are equipped with a safety button and a blade shield. The trigger will not depress unless you hold down the safety button first. This measure ensures that you will not accidentally trigger. The blade shield is a protective plastic guard that covers the blade. When not in use, the shield covers the exposed blade. When the trigger is pressed and the saw is brought down upon the wood, the shield automatically rotates up and out of the way with the movement of the handle. It then goes right back into place when you bring the handle back up. 
  • Always wear safety glasses when you operate a drop saw. Small pieces of wood or any other material you are cutting can easily go flying. It is not common, but it is precisely due to the randomness of such occurrences that you should always wear glasses. 
  • Ear protection is also recommended. Drop saws can be very loud. Long exposure to the loud noises of the saw can be detrimental to your hearing. 
  • When cutting a frame, trim or molding, always hold the material firmly up against the fence. Never make a cut without holding the material. The fence is designed for you to safely keep your fingers behind it while your thumb holds the materials. 
  • When cutting, use one continuous fluid motion. Do not hesitate when cutting. This is not to say you should speed through the work; just be confident.
  • You should never cut any piece of wood or material too thick for the tool. It is reserved primarily for trim and molding.

Never use a drop saw without knowing exactly how the tool works and having the necessary safety features in place. Eye protection is required, and ear protection is strongly recommended. Never use it to make cuts for which the tool is not intended.