Would you use a Hand Held Circular saw to cut logs?


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Established Member
29 May 2018
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Stortford, Herts, UK
OK, I know this is a really noobie question. I'm looking at a repair job I need to do on my shed and can see a circular saw would be desirable. Not essential, but it would make it easier for cutting the ends of the ship-lap for the shed walls.

Now given this, I'm thinking, after I've got this saw (If I get the saw), could you use this to cut logs to make blanks for woodturning?

I'm new to wood turning and I'm wanting to take the arm-ache out of cutting some thick trunks. A chain saw is probably a better choice, but I'm also not familiar with chain saws.

My thought is with log-cutting isn't there a fair/high chance of kick-backs?

Just would appreciate some thougths from more knowledgable folk, before I do myself extreem damage. Thank you.
A hand held circular saw is a really useful tool, and you should probably get one anyway.........but no, you'll have an accident if you try to cut logs with one. If you are going to be doing much turning I would suggest you get yourself a bandsaw, which is probably the safest thing with "saw" in the name and a power cable. It's also hugely capable, and will deal with making blanks quickly and safely. Chainsaw? You don't need me to tell you how badly that can go wrong.
Word of warning there. a bandsaw is safe in most circumstances, EXCEPT if youre cutting round logs :shock:
The saw will bite and try to turn the log over, causing extreme laundry bills and quite possibly involving a lot of sticking plaster.
Any round object cut on a bandsaw (or table saw for that matter) needs to be wedged or screwed to a flat surface to stop it rotating.
Unfortunately there is not a single tool that will cover all your needs, to convert trees to blanks I use a chainsaw to fell and billet, then an alaskan mill on the chainsaw to tun the logs into boards of varying thickness, then the bansaw to convert to turning blanks - yes sone of those tasks can be done with hand tools but I want to spend my time turning not cutting. But it doesnt have to cost a fortune.
https://arbtalk.co.uk/forums/topic/9821 ... nt-1466130
As a possible alternative to a chain saw what about a demolition saw/reciprocating saw. The depth of cut is not as large as a chain saw but I have cut some quite thick bits of wood with mine. I have a chain saw but it can be a faff getting all the protective equipment on for one or two cuts.

I agree with the others about the problems of cutting logs and making sure it does not turn/move.
Obviously you've got the message by now! I use an electric chainsaw for processing logs into turning blanks. I have a large piece of sleeper with two angled bits on top to create a giant V-block. Makes holding awkward shapes much easier. Once I have decent flat chunks I bandsaw them round.
Many thanks all. I got the answer I expected really.
I already have a bandsaw for cutting blanks. I have also, already learned how the bandsaw blade can grab and spin a round log, twist and wreck the blade and my knuckles, if the wood isn't clamped down on something to stop it.
Back to the boss saw, I guess :D
Whatever saw you use, powered or handsaw, I'd say its really important to secure the wood reliably, in the case of logs I'd use a saw horse with an 'x' shape cross section, maybe adding in a rope or webbing to strap the log down, tethering to a cleat . I have cut up logs and round posts with a circular saw in the past without issue, in hindsight it seems that was pretty stupid. I would probably use a handsaw in future.
As others have said, a hand held circular saw is definitely not the tool for this job, although as a bit of kit for the workshop I find one indispensable. I have a dread of chain saws as I reckon that if you don't know what you're doing, they are without doubt THE most dangerous tool you can lay hands on...SWIMBO has in fact banned me from even thinking about getting one. A bandsaw is another great tool for the 'shop but again, I wouldn't recommend it for cutting logs as the blade may tend to snatch at the timber unless it's firmly screwed to some sort of sled. Wet sawdust from green wood will also stick to the tyres and needs to be cleaned off after every cut.

The safest way in my view is to use a really, REALLY aggressive Japanese cross cut temagari saw - Rob

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