How to Properly Operate a Panel Saw

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Panel saw
Electrical supply
Safety glasses
Protective gloves

A panel saw is a remarkably versatile tool. You can find them in large DIY stores or lumber yards where they’re used to cut wood to customer specifications. However, although they’re quite big, contractors also use them regularly since they are portable units. You can even buy them to use at home. If you’re doing extensive remodeling, a panel saw can be very useful. They’re especially good for cutting large pieces of wood, such as 4x8 plywood, when a regular table saw won’t work or a circular saw can’t guarantee an accurate, even cut.

Step 1 - Setting Up the Saw

A panel saw is a large piece of equipment so you’ll need a large area in order to set it up and use it safely. This means you should be able to maneuver the wood easily in and out of the saw without hitting anything else in the work area.

Place the saw on an even surface where it will be stable with no danger of movement or tipping over. Before you plug in the saw, read the instructions and familiarize yourself with the controls, especially the location of the "on"/"off" switch in case you need to turn off the saw in an emergency situation.

Step 2 - Safety

Whenever you’re using the panel saw, you need to wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from the wood chips the saw will throw out. For moving wood, wear protective gloves. This will save your hands from splinters or cuts.

Never operate any machinery when wearing loose clothes or long sleeves. Roll up your sleeves when using the panel saw. If you have long hair you should tuck it into a cap or tie it back. These steps will stop the danger of clothing or hair becoming caught in the saw blade.

Step 3 - Cutting Vertically

The panel saw has a tape measure built in so you can accurately place the wood you need to cut. When you have the wood where you want it, tighten the built-in clamps to make sure the wood is held firmly in place.

Lower the unit that holds in the saw itself and tighten into place against the top of the wood. Hold down the switch on the handle of the saw to start the blade turning.

With one hand, draw the blade downward through the wood. This might require some moderate pressure. Pull the blade all the way down through the wood until the cut is complete and the blade has reached the groove at the bottom.

Release the "on"/"off" switch and pull the saw back up to its proper resting place. Release the clamps on the wood and remove. You will have a very clean, sharp cut.

Step 4 - Cutting Horizontally

To cut horizontally, release the clamps on the saw unit that keep it vertical and turn through 90 degrees so the blade is horizontal then tighten the clamps again.

Lower the blade unit to the desired height and clamp into place. Put your wood to the right of the blade with the bottom edge resting in the lower groove of the panel saw.

Hold down the "on"/"off" switch of the saw to start the blade turning and feed the wood through from right to left, being careful to keep your right hand away from the blade. Feed the wood all the way through.

Release the switch and remove the wood to finish.