Q: I made some cuts in plywood with a plywood-cutting blade in my circular saw, but the cuts aren't as smooth as I'd like. What did I do wrong?
-ANDREW G., EUGENE, OREGON
A: A circular saw is versatile and effective, and there's no reason you can't make flawless cuts with it. But you do have to be using it properly. There are five essentials to making a smooth cut:
1. If a test cut reveals that you're not getting a smooth edge with a plywood blade, check out some of the new specialized blades. Freud's 60-tooth Hi-ATB blade ($55) delivers pro-quality results with a narrow cutting channel. You can also get its full-width standard ATB blade for $20.
2. Don't push the saw too aggressively into the work.
3. Put the so-called good side facedown—this is the side that you want to remain visible when the project is built. Since a circular- saw blade spins upward, the side that the blade enters will have a smoother cut edge than the side it exits. For table saws, the opposite is true. The good side faces up.
4. Guide the saw using a straightedge clamped or screwed in place, or use an aftermarket accessory like the Kreg Rip-Cut.
5. Press a layer of masking tape on the cut line to reduce splintering as the blade exits the wood.
*This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Seniorhelpline.
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