A metal-cutting blade in a circular saw can make short work of all kinds of jobs, from light-duty tasks like trimming pipework or aluminum siding to heavy-duty cutting of angle iron or steel framework.
There are numerous different devices for doing these jobs, too, from handheld multi-tools to benchtop chop saws, so the range of metal-cutting circular saw blades is extensive, and that’s before you start looking at blade materials, the type of metals they’re designed to cut, or the number and profile of the teeth.
Tips for Cutting Metal Safely
Cutting or grinding metal sends tiny chips or shards of metal everywhere. And they can be hot and sharp. To avoid eye injuries, cuts, burns and other injuries from cutting metal, follow these rules:
- Read and observe safety precautions printed on metal-cutting discs and blades.
- Wear safety glasses, a face shield and hearing protection.
- Cover all exposed skin with gloves, long-sleeve shirt and pants.
- Allow freshly cut metal to cool before touching it.
- Wear gloves when handling metal that could have sharp edges.
- Securely clamp metal before cutting it.
- Never allow anyone near you while you’re cutting metal unless they’re wearing hearing and eye protection.
Q. Can I use a metal-cutting blade in a table saw?
A. Is it technically possible? Yes. Is it advisable? Probably not. A specialist metal-cutting chop saw is the best tool, or a handheld circular saw if the job allows. In both of these cases, you clamp the material firmly before cutting and control the progress of the blade. When using a table saw, you’re moving the material into the blade. That may be okay on thin sheet metal, but not on thicker stock. Kickback could send your metal workpiece flying through the air and would be seriously dangerous.
Q. Can I resharpen a metal-cutting circular saw blade myself?
A. You can with cheap HSS blades used for thin, nonferrous metals: just use a hand file. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to sharpen carbide-tipped blades. Most people don’t have the necessary equipment. The carbide tips are extremely hard and can only be sharpened with a diamond wheel. Added to that, the grind angle needs to be very precise. It’s a job for a professional regrinding service. Check around and get several quotes. Depending on the blade, prices can be two or three bucks per tooth, so it might just be cheaper to buy a new blade.
Q. Will an abrasive wheel in an angle grinder do the same job as a circular saw?
A. In terms of its ability to cut similar metals, yes. However, it’s more a question of using the right tool for the job. An angle grinder is very portable, and it’s great for quick and dirty metal cutting, especially in hard to reach places. A circular saw gives you precision so you can cut accurately to size and at various angles.