Differences Between Circular and Plunge Saws
The differences between a circular saw and a plunge saw are not always immediately obvious. Both not only look similar but are also designed to do the same job, that is to cut wood, masonry, plastic and metal. Usually hand-held but with the option of a stand or bench mounting depending on the requirements of the task. Here, some of the main differences between these two types of saws are highlighted.
A circular saw consists of a motor, blade, blade guard and base. The basic concept of how the saw works is that the guard retracts as the blade cuts through the material. The depth of the cut is determined simply by adjusting the base of the saw. A plunge saw, also called a track saw, is designed with the blade being enclosed within the body of the tool so that the need for a retractable blade guard becomes obsolete. The depth of the cut is adjusted by a sliding mechanism located on the front of the saw.
A circular saw must begin its cut from the end of the material as a riving knife, or spacer wedge, prevents the blade from cutting straight down into the material. The riving knife sits behind the blade and its purpose is to prevent kickback. This mechanism has to be removed from a circular saw to allow the blade to cut at any point on the material. The riving knife on a plunge saw however is spring-loaded and so the material pushes it upwards and out of the way when the initial cut is made. It then drops back down into the cut as the saw moves forward. This allows plunge saws to begin a cut at any point along the length of the material.
It is difficult to make an accurate cut with a circular saw as there is no provision for guiding it. But the smooth flat side of a plunge saw ensures an accurate cut by allowing the tool to be guided against a flat surface such as a wall or floor. For even greater accuracy a plunge saw can be run along a guide rail or track which are available in different lengths and can be joined together with connecting pieces. A non-slip material on the underside of the rail will prevent it from moving when in use and clamps can be added for extra stability.
Splintering and Dust Extraction
There is nothing on a circular saw to prevent the material from splintering, therefore after cutting it will need to be sanded down to create a smooth edge. However, a plunge saw used with a guide rail produces a smooth finished edge without the need for sanding as the rail has a plastic splinter-guard along the cutting edge. Circular saws have poor dust extraction due to the blade side of the tool being open, but the enclosed blade on a plunge saw results in much better dust extraction. Whichever saw you opt for buying it from Data Power Tools will ensure quality and choice.