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What protective clothing (upper body, lower body, and footwear) should I wear for circular saws?

Regarding lower body, I read that chainsaw Kevlar chaps stop safety-spec-conforming gas-powered (but not electric) chainsaws by using fibers to jam them. Will this prevent battery-powered circular saw kickback from cutting through? Or if a blade falls out during use, will it prevent that from cutting through? Or buy enough time to let go of the trigger and be unscathed? Are there better alternatives? Many of these chaps have open crotches, so will a regular sports hard cup prevent it from cutting through? Nutshellz make bullet-resistant ballistic Kevlar cups. Do these help against circular saws though? It’s marketed to baseball players and law enforcement.

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  • If you are using a circular saw to cut wood with proper technique, no protective clothing is required. You do need to protect your eyes, ears, nose, and lungs though! Use safety glasses, hearing protection, and a breathing mask. – Stephen Meschke Oct 18 '18 at 3:06
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    Please don't cross-post. Please delete this question or the one on DIY.SE. – mmathis Oct 18 '18 at 13:23
  • I think you mean a hand-held saw and not a table saw, right? – jdv Oct 18 '18 at 16:39
  • @mmathis , I want to delete this one now, since the DIY.SE answered first, but your answer is informative too, so I want to +1 your answer. Do you want to copy-paste your answer to my DIY.SE question and then deleting your answer from here so that I can delete this question? – CodeBricks Oct 18 '18 at 21:48
  • I think the big point that you're missing in this whole discussion is that circular saws are used in a totally different environment than chainsaws. When working with a circular saw you have full control over the positioning of your workpiece. You can properly support it and have it at a reasonable working height, within reach, and at an appropriate angle at all times. With a chainsaw you have to often cut sideways, upside down, leaning out, etc. because you can't position the tree horizontally right in front of you. Not to mention a circular saw has a guard totally covering the blade. – SaSSafraS1232 Oct 18 '18 at 23:56
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Technique is a much more important aspect of being safe than PPE when using saws (circular or otherwise), though there are a few pieces of PPE that are helpful.

Of course, eye and ear protection is essential; ear protection is much more essential when working indoors than outdoors. If indoors, a dust mask or respirator is useful as well, though one is still helpful when outdoors.

Beyond that, make sure you aren't wearing any loose clothing or jewelry, and that long hair is tied back. Anything loose or hanging has a potential to get caught in the saw blade. Some people take off all jewelry (not just loose/dangly stuff), as a ring getting caught by a blade can mean loosing the finger.

As far as technique goes, make sure the blade is tightened onto the arbor (though it's extremely rare, if not impossible, for a blade to fall out of a circular saw) and that is's sharp. Support the offcuts properly all the way through the cut. Be mindful of what's on the other side of the workpiece where the blade comes through. Most of this is taken care of if you use sawhorses, foam insulation, a workbench, etc to support the piece while making the cuts.

One other aspect to consider is to get a circular saw with an electric brake. A brake stops a spinning blade much faster (within 1 second) than letting friction do its thing after you let go of the trigger. If kickback were to occur, you'd likely let up on the trigger as a reaction and the blade would stop very quickly.

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  • Yeah, if I was to do it again, I'd get a saw with really defined edges on the baseplate (i.e., not rolled steel, but well defined aluminum or magnesium) and a brake. – jdv Oct 18 '18 at 16:41
  • I would also add that you should make sure that the workpiece is supported directly under the cut. If you're crosscutting a piece that is warped so that the center is unsupported it will collapse as you progress through the cut, causing the blade to bind, in turn either stalling the motor or causing the saw to kick back. – SaSSafraS1232 Oct 18 '18 at 17:23
  • This conversation made me think of this: youtu.be/jDfpl1_I904 – jdv Oct 25 '18 at 19:56

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