It’s most likely that the first thing you’re going to try with a Skilsaw is a cross-cut. In other words, you’re going to cut a board to a shorter length, and you’re going to cut across the grain. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re cross-cutting a board with a Skilsaw:
--Place the board that you’re cutting on a firm, stable surface like a pair of good sawhorses. Don’t cut between the saw horses. Poke the short end of the board off to one side and cut there.
--Never cut into a very short board. Don’t cut into anything shorter than two feet. The reason for this is that short boards are more likely to move while you’re cutting. This causes the blade to bind up and the saw to kick back. Nothing says “bloody stump” like a kicking saw.
--If you’re cutting with your right hand, press the board down onto the sawhorses with your left hand. And always be aware of the location of your left hand.
--Never put your hand in the path of the blade. This may seem obvious; but then again, many people don’t realize that they must not put their hand BEHIND the path of the blade, either.
--Pay attention to the location of the electrical cord, your shirt sleeve, your ponytail, your dog and your small children. Don’t put them in the path of the saw, either.
--As you’re cutting, let the wood fall all the way down to the ground. Don’t hold it up, and don’t let it drop just a few inches. It needs to fall all the way to the ground to keep the saw blade from binding.
--Don’t use a saw with broken blade guards. The guard should cover blade when you’re not cutting.
Using a Skilsaw is like driving: once you get used to it, it’s easy to use; but painful death can ensue if you stop paying attention. It’s also like driving in the sense that it's a skill you should learn in person from someone else. If you want to use your saw correctly, turn your computer off and go invite your handiest neighbor over for a cookout. Just don’t bring out the brewskies right away. Friends don’t let friends drink and saw.
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