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Designed to make longitudinal, transverse, straight or angled cuts, the plunge circular saw also creates an opening in the middle of a wooden panel. Convenient!

Use a plunge saw

Power tool for finishing, the plunge circular saw, rather known to professionals, can render great services to all DIYers thanks to its precision and ease of use. Although its main area of ​​expertise is cutting wood and composite materials (hard and soft), it adapts to a wide range of materials (PVC, aluminum, copper, soft metal, plasterboard and plasterboard, etc.). function of the blades used.

A wide variety of blades and cuts

The plunge saw is distinguished from the conventional circular saw by its blade guard: once the cutting is done, it automatically rises into a protective housing, which prevents accidental contact with the hand. The machine allows a great variety of cuts thanks to blades whose number of teeth goes from ten to sixty (see box on page 61). Its grip is fast and pleasant, the cut is progressive, without much risk of rebound of the blade. Finally, this machine makes it possible to start a cut in full panel (for embedding a sink for example) without making predrilling for the passage of the blade, to make cuts or openings on elements already in place, be it the adjustment of parquet boards or the installation of a hatch on a wooden deck.

Two-step depth and tilt settings

The blade (Ø 160 or 165 mm used during this report) is mounted on an engine block (here of 1050 or 1300 W). This moving assembly makes it possible to regulate the depth and the inclination of the cut which takes place in two stages. First press the motor block to get the blade into the material, then push the unit to make the cut. Once the operation is complete and after releasing the pressure, the assembly rises smoothly to the starting position by means of a return spring fixed between the engine block and the sole.

Fine adjustments

With this machine, making rectilinear cuts, angled cuts or grooves is child's play as it offers multiple cutting angle settings. To adjust the current angles (0 to 45°), simply release knobs on the sole, tilt the engine block and tighten the wheel or knobs. For the cutting angle of 22.5° or 48° (Makita), especially used by carpenters, two buttons are to be unlocked before performing the previous operations.

A guide rail for long lengths

The depth of cut varies from 2 to 75 mm and is limited to 40 or 55 mm depending on the machines (at 45°) for miter cuts. Its adjustment is done by moving a stop on the depth gauge, then tightening it once the desired dimension obtained. A guide rail (often sold separately) is available to make straight cuts over long lengths. It measures in general 1.40 m and can be butted to increase the length of cut. Its use is simple, just put it on the piece to cut (the part in contact is non-slip), inside the cutting plot, and place the saw on the slides provided for this purpose. Turn the appliance on and lower the blade. Once it has crossed the panel, move along the ruler

Use a plunge saw: cutting

The depth of cut varies from 2 to 75 mm and is limited to 40 or 55 mm depending on the machines (at 45°) for miter cuts. Its adjustment is done by moving a stop on the depth gauge, then tightening it once the desired dimension obtained. A guide rail (often sold separately) is available to make straight cuts over long lengths. It measures in general 1.40 m and can be butted to increase the length of cut. Its use is simple, just put it on the piece to cut (the part in contact is non-slip), inside the cutting plot, and place the saw on the slides provided for this purpose. Turn the appliance on and lower the blade. Once it has crossed the panel, move along the ruler

Use a plunge saw: blade

The cutting depth varies from 2 to 75 mm depending on the model. Its setting is simple: move the stop on the depth gauge, select the desired dimension and block it.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

The starting is done by simultaneously operating two triggers, placed on either side of the main handle. The top one allows the saw to dive.

Use a plunge saw: blade

To make angled cuts, tilt the motor / blade assembly. For classic cuts, it tilts from 0 to 45°. The adjustment is made by unlocking the screw on the protractor.

Use a plunge saw: blade

The Makita allows special settings by turning two controls: one is at the front of the machine, for angles of 22.5°.

Use a plunge saw: plunge

The other controls are on the back of the protractor, for angles of 48°.

Use a plunge saw: depth

Before starting an opening in a panel, you need to know where to start and stop the cut. Markings, at the front and at the rear of the housing, allow here to be wedged on the layout.

Use a plunge saw: cuts

Before removing a blade, bring the screw to the crankcase window. Lower the blade and motor block assembly and lock it, here using a locking pad.

Use a plunge saw: cuts

To change the blade, press the button on the side or top of the main handle and turn the blade to find the locking point (machine disconnected!). Then loosen the screw.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

Follow the direction of the arrows indicated on the housing to reassemble the blade properly. On the blade, arrow and markings must be located on the outside of the machine.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

The cutting speed varies depending on the parts and materials. An inverter, graduated from 1 to 6, can cover an engine speed range of 2,000 to 5,200 rpm.

Use a plunge saw: blade

The guide rail allows the saw to be used comfortably and precisely over a long distance.

Use a plunge saw: cuts

It can be fixed more securely to the worktop with optional clamps

Use a plunge saw: depth

To mount the saw on the fence, align the grooves in the shoe with the rails on the rail. On the Makita, a pusher, located on the sole, locks it on the rail.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

To prevent dust, connect a shop vacuum to the suction nozzle of the saw. Adjustable on this model, the user is not bothered by the hose.

Use a plunge saw: blade

To saw in full panel, wait for the blade to rotate at full speed, then lower it to the depth stop. Hold the unit in position and push it to the stop.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

The very fine settings make it possible to make shallow cuts to make small grooves or rabbets, with a very useful guide rail in this case.

Use a plunge saw: plunge

In the absence of a guide rail, some models have a parallel guide for cutting edge panels. For those in full panel, use a mason rule.

Use a plunge saw: blade

The plunge saw is useful for leveling already installed parquet or deck boards. Make a first pass on a thin layer to check the cutting accuracy.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

A tip allows you to work without a workbench during fast cuts: stabilize the board on four cleats, adjust the depth of cut of the saw, then cut.

How to choose a blade?
A quality cut is obtained thanks to a suitable blade. But it is difficult to navigate as their choice is wide. It should be known that the more the teeth are numerous (10 to 60), the more the cut is fine and precise. From 40 teeth, the blades cut with precision: you can saw melamine or laminate boards without risk of bursting. From 10 to 30 teeth, they are suitable for fast cutting of hardwood or softwood and chipboard. The blades used for our article have tungsten carbide teeth (intensive use). They all have small slots (3 or 4 in general) at the base of the teeth, intended to prevent possible deformation in case of heating. They resist wear, friction, corrosion and temperature differences. Their sharpening lasts 10 to 50 times longer than that of steel teeth. But this quality has a price: between 45 and 120 € the blade in addition to the price of the saw between 170 € and more than 600 €. Note that 160 mm or 165 mm blades are difficult to find in GSB: order them on the Internet or using manufacturers' catalogs.

Use a plunge saw: cutting

The most used blades comprise beveled teeth whose tips are oriented successively to the right and left. Effective for all kinds of woods.

Use a plunge saw: plunge

To cut aluminum (profile or plate), hard plastic, fiber materials and solid wood, prefer blades with alternating trapezoidal teeth and bevels.

Use a plunge saw: cuts

The blades with few teeth are equipped with anti-return heels. Their role is to limit the amount of material to be removed by each tooth and to avoid the cutting effort.


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