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Circular saws and routers - safety.

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Anonymous

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Hi,

Looks like I'm going to take the plunge (npi) and buy a router and a circular saw. Frankly, I'm scared of circular saws in particular - probably because I knew someone at school who cut all the fingers off of one hand with one somehow. And it didn't help seeing someone else a while back on TV who'd put one down on a concrete floor still going and it'd run up his leg nearly severing his johnson. I'm going to wear a cricketer's box! The first job I'll have with the CC is to remove some damaged floor boards, which I intend to do by plunge cutting along the centre line of the joists. Is there anything I should be aware of safety wise in doing this? I read somewhere that one shouldn't move the CC backwards. Is that correct? I'll be wearing eye protection, ear plugs, cricketers box (lol,), and the rubber palmed kevlar gloves I bought a year ago (in case I ever bought a circular saw!). If I position myself to the side of the CC, hold it with two hands, and don't panic and drop it if/when it kicks back, then this shouldn't be inherently dangerous should it?

Any observations regarding CC or plunger safety would be welcome - I'm aware of: power cable over shoulder; make sure work is clamped to bench and won't move; don't put tool down 'till it's stopped etc...

Square
 

Waka

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Hi Square

Its good to be thinking about the safety of tools before you use them. All power tool whether hand or fixed should be treated with the utmost respect, human tissue and rotating metel don't mix.
I think a lot of us are guilty of becoming complacent as we gain experience in these tool.

You seem to have covered the main tips regarding the cc saw, if you are , as you say going to cut down the centre line of the joist, make sure that all nails hve been removed. If you encounter one with the cc saw it can give a terrible kick and even though you are holding it with two hands it can cause injury. Also let the saw do the work for you, don't force it along the line of cut.

If you are really unfamiliar with the cc saw techniques then I suggest you take only small depth cuts, although the saw is quite capable of cutting the complete depth of a floorboard, work slowly until you get experience.
This is also true with the router, only take small depth cuts. This puts less stress on the router bits, you get a better cut and theres very little chance of kick back.

I'm sure that when everyone else wakes up there will be lots more advice.

Cheers
Waka
 

johnjin

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Square
When cutting through floorboards always cut to the minimum depth needed to go through the board and no more.
There are electrical cables running all over the place under the boards and even the possibility of water pipes.
Take a test cut first of say 16 m/m deep and then increase it a m/m at a time until you get through the board and make that your maximum depth.
best of luck

John
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Square

Square":3js79fcq said:
Hi, Looks like I'm going to take the plunge (npi) and buy a router and a circular saw. Frankly, I'm scared of circular saws in particular - The first job I'll have with the CC is to remove some damaged floor boards, which I intend to do by plunge cutting along the centre line of the joists.
Yes, you're right power tools can damage your health. Don't use them unless you are completely happy.

If you are uncomfortable about using a circular saw then don't use one. Why not try this method instead: -

Ensuring that you do not drill through the board, use a 2.5mm bit to drill a series of small holes across the board just ahead of the nails. Drill down the side of the tongue on the board and drill at the other end of the board just in front of the nails. Then use a chisel to make a complete cut on the cross-board drillings and a floorboard saw to make an easy cut down the tongue. Hey presto, and it's out. Be very careful as you won't know where pipework or cables are located. When you do put the new boards in it's best to use screws.

Or this: -

If you are buying a router you could use it for the floorboards. It will be slower than a circular saw, but much safer. Setting the depth will be much more accurate than with a circular saw. Again, be very careful as you won't know where pipework or cables are located. Set the depth so that it is a mm short of the thickness of the boards. This leaves a small amount of timber that will break off easily when you lift the board. When you do put the new boards in it's best to use screws.

Whichever method you choose, just do some test pieces so that you feel happy to tackle the job. If not, get a professional.

Cheers
Neil

Courtesy of SFX.
 

Aragorn

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Square":tbzfqshy said:
I read somewhere that one shouldn't move the CC backwards. Is that correct?
Yes! Pulling it backwards is encouraging it to move in the direction of blade rotation, so you would be asking for an accident!
Do plenty of test cuts on scrap wood before you go to the floorboards. Get a feel for the machine and how powerful it is.
Don't be afraid when you actually come to use the tool. Holding it securely and confidently, and moving the tool slowly and firmly is less likely to cause an accident than being tentative and wobbly!
If something feels like it's going wrong, don't drop the tool and run! For a start, you can't run fast enough. Secondly, you can control many Csaw jerks by holding on confidently and moving the saw up and out of the wood as you release the trigger. Remember it will want to kick backwards towards you because of the blade rotation, so always have an emphasis on guiding it forwards.

When cutting floorboards out with a Csaw, you need to cut through the boards either side to get a complete cut through the board you want to remove. This is often undesirable and puts you into the ranks of those infamous floorboard butchers - plumbers and electricians :wink: . Neil has recommended a good alternative. You can also cut to the side of the joist with a jigsaw (use a short blade). By gluing and screwing a baton onto the joist, you have somewhere to reattach the new board.
Personally, I tend to use a thin kerf Csaw for most of the cut and then cut away the "missed" bit at each end of the cut with a dovetail saw.
Often, you cannot make the cut at all with a Csaw, because of flooring nails/clasps in the way.

Good luck!
 

johnjin

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Square

My apologizes to Aragorn.
Please don't take offence.

Don't use a Jigsaw as you don't know if there are cables underneath. If you follow the side of a joist the cables run through the joists and you would cut it at right angles. A jigsaw even with a short blade would cut far too deep to be safe.

John
 

Charley

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As Neil says as you've been put of in the passed by a Csaw and if you don't think you’re very confident in using one I must recommend that you get the training before you do. If you don't fancy training, make lots of practice cuts, just take your time and soon you should get used to the tool.

Like any new tool that you haven't used before you are always *extra* careful as you learn how to use it and how the machine works.

johnjin":7bk284ed said:
Square

My apologizes to Aragorn.
Please don't take offence.

Don't use a Jigsaw as you don't know if there are cables underneath. If you follow the side of a joist the cables run through the joists and you would cut it at right angles. A jigsaw even with a short blade would cut far too deep to be safe.

John
John, You could always put a scrap piece of wood ontop of the floorboards then run your jigsaw along that. that'll make your short blade even shorter :wink: but I like the sound of the router method.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi John

This is one method of using a jigsaw safely ?.

Rest the nose of the soleplate on the floor so that the blade is horizontal. Start the saw and tip it so that the blade pierces the wood and increase the angle to get the required depth of cut. Do this accross both ends (inside the nails) and along both sides cutting through the tongues. This method means that the board end can rest on the existing joists (no battens required) and by adjusting the angle of the blade to cut just through the board reduces the risk of cutting through anything hidden under the floor.

Cheers
Neil

Courtesy SFX
 

Alf

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Square,

To add to all this excellent, and occasionally contradictory :wink: , advice, might I suggest a saw with an electronic brake? It helps your confidence a lot when you know that the blade will stop virtually the moment you take your finger off the trigger. I'm not a big fan of circular saws either, but I've found this feature very comforting, and convenient - I won't be buying a saw without it in future, that's for sure.

Cheers, Alf
 

Aragorn

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johnjin":fatygyvz said:
My apologizes to Aragorn.
Please don't take offence.
None taken - yours is sound advice! I have a jigsaw blade adapted so it cuts just over 21mm exactly for this purpose.
 

SimonA

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If your not happy with using the CC why don't you just use a hammer and chisel......its slow going, but its safer.

SimonA
Whos never going to make or lay any more floorboards as long as he lives!!
 

Steve Maskery

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I wouldn't use a CC for this job. The plunging is very risky, as you have to swing the guard out of the way, and make sure the riving knife doesn't foul either. If you are new to CCs, it is not an operation for a beginner.
What is wrong with using a floorboard saw? Hardpoint, they are just a few quid from B&Q or the like, and they do the job well. Sure, not as fast, but if you take into account the time you would spend in casualty if something did go wrong, and the time spent putting right the damage to the floor (inc pipes and cables etc, mentioned in earlier posts) it's not a time-consuming job. You are also morte likely to be able to stop at the first sound of metal-on-metal.
However you do it, best of luck. I'm just finishing laying a new patio, and I'm NEVER going to do a job on my hands and knees again.
Cheers
Steve
 
A

Anonymous

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Thanks a lot, all. You guys are the business! Every observation has been most useful.

I've concluded that floor boards is not a good place for me to start using a Csaw. The presence of nails is definitely an issue; after all, the position of the nail head is no guarantee of what's going on underneath, and their could be remnants in the joists too.

Re: the batten method: I know it is a thoroughly recognized method, but it just seems to me that overlapping the joists is stronger.

I'll probably experiment with more than one approach; drill holes then chisel, and also the router. Don't know if a floorboard saw will make much impression cutting down the centre line of the joist, but I'll get one anyway - could do with another saw.

Still, a Csaw would be useful, as I've got to install some kitchen base units - Wickes! ...ahem!

Square
 

Midnight

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Re Cc's and safety...
floorboards aside... these things aren't exactly the most rookie friendly tool on the market. I have a kinda love / hate relationship with mine; I love that it can make cuts that I can't think about making in my small shop on the table saw, but I HATE the set up time, and the way it spits at ya when it's cutting. Cutting large sheet material in a small shop often means a less than perfect set up.
Wherever possible, use a large and stiff straight edge to guide the saw against for an accurate cut. That said, take care that neither the guide nor any clamps involved in holding it can hit the motor housing as the saw passes them (does this sound like experience talking??)
To avoid getting peppered with chips from the blade, ensure your shop vac is compatable with the dust port on the saw, but beware that even this isn't 100% effective. Always, ALWAYS use a full face visor along wih safety glasses.... a visit to the eye clinic just isn't worth it!!!
Fingers can't be bitten by the blade if they STAY on the hand grips...
If in doubt...STOP.... take 5 to re-think what you're doing.
 
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