Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Circular Saws Righty or Lefty ?

Growing up a right hander on the East Coast, I only knew one type of circular saw (as I recall they were all called "Skil Saws" no matter who made the actual saw). Needless to say, I grew up using "sidewinder" saws, ( that is to say, saws where the motor was perpendicular to the blade as in the top most picture). I never really noticed it before, but the blades were always on the right. I have no idea what the intention was behind the right side placement of the blade, but I can only assume that it was to keep your left hand (holding the stock) out of the path of the blade. This is all well and good, but the problem is (of course) the blade guide is out of your line of site (being on the opposite side of the saw). Not that this ever troubled me, it just seemed like the way it was, and I was used to it. A few months ago, I was talking to a colleague who was also a carpenter type and he was bemoaning the lack of saws for Leftys. Since I had spent some time on the West Coast I was familiar with worm drive saws (e.g. the saw in the lower photo), which in the traditional configuration are more or less ambidextrous and I thought they might be the answer to his prayers. Which they probably would be excepting that the blade is on the left, which puts the guide out of sight of someone holding the saw with their left hand. A further search found a somewhat newer class of sidewinder saws with the blade on the left. So what is the story? Is it better to have the blade on the stock side (which you are likely holding with you left hand) or on the opposite side with an obstructed view of the blade guide. Personally I prefer sidewinder saws, they are lighter and are more easily one handed, which honestly makes them more versatile for re-modeling, worm drives may be better for from scratch framing, but that's not what I do. I would like to hear from some Lefty's, would you rather have a better line of sight or your hand out of the way? FWIW Bosch makes an intriguing worm drive saw that has the handle on the top for one handed operation (as opposed to the traditional rear handle pictured above)


Post a Comment