Power Cutting and Drilling Power Cutting and Drilling
Most Common Mistakes
- Setting a board to be cut between two supports. Instead, cantilever the board over the outside of one support to avoid binding the saw blade when the board drops. This method will avoid "kick back".
- Neglecting to choose the appropriate saw blade for the material being cut. Always use the proper cutting edge for the job you are doing. That means one, that is sharp as well as made for a given material.
Circular saw. This saw is one of the most common and most popular tools. It consists of a replaceable blade; a blade guard, part of which is spring loaded to move out the way as you saw; a sole plate, which may or may not be attached to a ripping fence; a cutting guide; and knobs to adjust the cutting angle and depth of the blade. Set the cutting depth to 1/8" more than the thickness of the board. Avoid binding by keeping the sole plate flat on the surface of the wood. There are two basic kinds of circular saws. The worm drive saw is used for heavy-duty framing-type work. The side winder is used for lightweight jobs and finishing work.
Jig saw or saber saw. This saw is used to cut curving lines or make detailed cuts. When starting your cut from inside a piece of wood, you can drill a starting hole to cut openings in paneling, drywall, or counter tops. Most models can accommodate a circle guide and angle cutting and ripping accessories.
Reciprocating saw. This is generally used to cut openings in existing walls. It is ideal for remodeling or demolition work- It can rough-cut green wood, metal, leather, rubber, cloth, linoleum, and plastic.
Table saw. Sometimes called a bench saw, it can crosscut rip, miter, groove, and bevel. With a 71/2" to 12" blade, this saw can cut depths of 1 1/2" to 3 3/8". With accessories, it will cut dadoes, make moldings, and sand stock. Smaller table saws are good for general hobby and repair work.
Radial arm saw. This saw makes all the cuts a table saw makes but is used for heavier stock The board is usually held stationary for crosscutting, with the saw blade bearing down across the board. This tool is usually used by professionals.
Band saw. A small band saw can be useful for more creative wood cutting where complex shapes, curves, and precision cutting is needed.
Most do-it-yourselfers end up with a good 3/8" electric or power drill because of its versatility. If it has a variable-speed trigger, as well as a reversing switch, the utility of the drill is greatly increased. A cordless drill eliminates the need for cumbersome extension cords and can be used where power is not available.
You'll need drill bits of carbon steel for soft materials like wood and plastic. High-speed steel bits work well on metals, and carbide-Upped bits are used for concrete or masonry.
Other useful attachments include hole saw blades, spade bits, buffing disks and depth stops, screw driving bits, sanding disks, or even a power grinder. You can add a paint mixer, right-angle drive, wire brushes, wood countersinks, and even saws, lathes, and rotary rasps and files.
The router is used to cut contours in wood for edgings and moldings or for more complex relief panels and inlay work, dovetails, and mortises.
Tips on Cutting and Drilling
- When rip cutting, use a rip guide, or tack down a straightedge to use as a cutting guide.
- Always secure your stock before cutting or drilling.
- Use caution when ripping small, narrow pieces. Use a push stick with the radial arm saw or table saw, and always keep hands clear of blades.
- When drilling into metal, squirt a lightweight oil onto the drill bit and into the hole to tool the bit.
- Pre-drilling a "Pilot hole" with a smaller drill bit makes nailing into hardwood, as well as screwing into all types of wood, easier, and lessens the chance the wood will split
- Always unplug your power tools when adjusting or changing accessories.
- Keep any tool adjustment keys taped to the cord near the plug. This will remind you to unplug the tool, as well as keep you from losing the key.
- Be sure your tools are properly grounded. Unless a tool is double insulated, it should be plugged into a three hole grounded outlet
- Watch cord placement so it does not interfere with the tool's operation.
- Never use a power tool in wet or damp conditions, no matter how well grounded. Moisture readily conducts electricity.
- Be sure both ends of a board are well supported, and don't cut between the supports; cantilever the scrap end instead.
- When using a table saw, choose the guide that allows the longest edge of the stock to be used against the guide.