Commonly used in fabricating and welding applications, chop saws enable the user to make repeated, accurate cuts into wood that has been laid on an appropriate surface, by pushing the handle down. As a motorized power tool – also known as a miter saw – it is designed to complete precise cuts in wood that are square or angled, and works with a circular steel saw that spins at a high speed.
There are several different types of chop saw available to buy today, and the one you choose will likely depend on what you’ll be using it for, and what your budget is.
Considerations to make when using a chop saw:
Chop saws can be wonderfully effective power tools when used appropriately. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using one for the first time:
- Always use a wheel that’s suitable for the material you plan to cut
- Always unplug the saw when changing the blade, and place paper mounting blotters between the flanges and the wheel surface
- To maximize the tools cutting efficiency and lifespan, the middle of the material to be cut must be placed under the center of the arbor before any cuts are made
How to use a chop saw effectively
Always keeping the above safety considerations in mind, and once you know what material you plan to cut, what size or shape it should be, and what type of finish you want on the cut, there are a few guidelines for using a chop saw effectively:
- Use the cutting or grinding wheel appropriately
Different types of blades and wheels can be used with a chop saw, and while hacksaw blades are typically used in woodworking applications, abrasive saw wheels are used for other a variety of other purposes. Whatever the material being cut, the right kind of blade or wheel will need to be selected. When it comes to cutting wheels, they are generally made of different materials such as alumina, carbide, and zirconia among others. If you’re cutting low-carbon steel, for example, alumina wheels are used, whereas for cutting glass and ceramics, a carbide grinding wheel is most suitable.
- Always work with the right speed
When using an abrasive saw wheel, the cutting speed is one of the most important factors to take into account, and the tools frequency of use will have an impact on its speed. Having a sound working knowledge of the speed of the chop saw before using it, is recommended for the best results.
- Be sure to correctly position the workpiece
No matter whether you’re cutting one item or a bundle of items, the workpiece must be positioned correctly, with the wheel touching the leading top fringe of the item to be cut. To achieve a finer cut that’s more precise, the wheel’s rotation must be in the correct direction, and contact between the wheel and the object, must be perfect.
Chop saw do’s and don’ts
If not used correctly, chop saws can be dangerous and prone to damage. With this in mind, here are a few common do’s and don’ts:
- Check the wheel visually before use, ensuring there are no cracks or damage
- Only ever use chop saw wheels for chop saw tools
- Take care to store and handle the stop wheels carefully
- Never pinch, twist, cramp or exert unnecessary pressure onto the wheel
- Use the tool’s guard every time and do not remove it
- Never put too much downward pressure onto the wheels
- Avoid causing damage to the wheel’s sides
To find the right chop saw for your needs, check for reputed online retailers and order yours today. Keep the above points in mind when using the tool, and always be respectful of the dangers power tools present when not used, or maintained, correctly.