Use Eye Protection
This is a given for nearly every power tool, but especially so for a circular saw. Chips fly and can obscure your vision or even lodge themselves in your eye.

Keep your Cord Clear
When ripping an eight foot sheet of plywood, it’s easy for the cord to get looped around the end of the board, causing you to stop mid-cut and move it. This will often create an unsightly notch in your cut when you restart. You also don’t want to risk running through the cord with your blade.

The Fence: Use it, Love it
You might have bought your saw and seen this thing and have never used it. For cutting strips off boards with machined edges, it’s invaluable. It will absolutely give you the straightest cut possible.

Pick the Right Blade, and Use it Correctly
There are different blades for different materials, and even different applications within the same material. Make sure you’re using the right one, and make sure it’s rotating in the proper direction!

Quickly Scribing a Line
The most accurate way to make a straight line on a plywood sheet is to measure the width at both ends, then snap a chalk line. But if you’re in a hurry, or the line doesn’t need to be super accurate, you can scribe it by setting your width with a tape measure, planting a pencil on your mark, and sliding it down the length of the board. Make sure to keep the tape perpendicular to the board edge.

Set your Depth
Not only is it dangerous to plunge your saw all the way through a piece of wood, but it makes for a much sloppier cut. Set your depth so the teeth are just coming out the bottom. For big pieces of wet wood, make sure the entire gullet (the gap in between the teeth) clears, or else the saw will clog up.

Get Comfy with your Saw
Different saws have different types of markings on them for when you’re cutting. Don’t trust that they’ll correspond to where the blade is going to go. Learn your tool’s idiosyncrasies, and take the blade kerf into account.

The Circular Saw Notch Hack
If you need to cut a notch in a piece of wood but don’t have the proper tool to do it, you can just use a circular saw and a chisel. Set your depth and make several cuts that are close together. Break the bits away with a chisel and you have your notch.

Hands Away from the Blade
It’s easy to be casual around this tool because the blade has a sliding guard. Don’t be fooled. A circular saw is basically a handheld table saw and should be treated with respect.

Aim Forward
Take a close look at where the blade touches your mark, but after that, follow the line just ahead of the saw. The idea is similar to that of follow-through in sports. You’ll end up with a much straighter line.

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