Last updated: September 12, 2020

What is a Chop Saw?

Published 4:33 pm

Introduction

A chop saw is one of the important tools in carpentry. If you need to make straight and accurate cuts, you will need to have a chop saw, especially if you are a woodworker or you frequently build things.

Chop saws are power tools used to cut wood and metals, and they are sometimes mistaken for miter saws because of certain similarities, but they are different. The major difference between miter saws and chop saws is that chop saws are used when you want to make straight 90 degree cuts. Chop saws use an abrasive disc to cut through materials, while a miter saw uses a circular teethed blade.

Chop saws are stationary, with only the blade moving up and down. It means that the materials that need cutting have to be brought to the blade.

What Do You Use A Chop Saw For?

Chop saws are used when you need to cut large materials. Because they are power saws, they are suited to cutting sturdy materials like steel and huge chunks of stone.

A chop saw is not commonly found with DIYers, rather are used in industrial or large scale work due to its size and weight. If you have to do a small job or some interior work or even working on the foundation of a building, it is not advisable to opt for a chop saw.

Chop saws are used in commercial and largescale projects for precise 90-degree cuts and nothing else. They are also fast in addition to their precision.

Chop saws are electric or powered with hydraulics. The corded saw is smaller and has less power than the hydraulic saw. It can be used at home and smaller-scale work, while the hydraulic is what you will find on construction sites and where industrial work is being carried out.

If the large scale work is repetitive, for instance, cutting hundreds of rebar of a required length, then a chop saw is required.

Types of Chop Saw

Wood Chop Saw

The wood chop saw is the most popular type of chop saw you’ll find around. It is easy to use and quite effective in dealing with regular materials like wood. If you are cutting metal or other sturdy material, go for an abrasive or metal chop saw.

For DIYers who have little projects and need to cut small sizes of wood, check out the Best Reciprocating Saws also, Best Electric Nail Guns

Metal Chop Saw

The metal chop saw, as the name suggests, made for cutting through metal. If you work with metal very frequently, a metal chop saw is what you should get.

If you don’t have a metal chop saw at hand, and you need to cut some metals, you can attach a metal chop saw blade to your regular chop saw. The blade is specialized for those who don’t often work metals. You can check out The Best Metal Cutting Saws for the best saws to cut metals.

There’s a special type of blade you can use to cut metals called cold cut blade. The blade has tungsten tips, and the advantage of using this blade when cutting metals is that the metal doesn’t get hot, and there’s little to no spark created when cutting.

Abrasive Chop Saw

If you will be dealing with a lot of sturdy materials like asphalt, concrete, and metal, then your best bet is an abrasive chop saw. The abrasive saw operates like a grinding wheel, but it cuts precisely and faster.

You may have heard of compound chop saws, but they are not chop saws; rather, they are compound miter saws. Chop saws only cut at 90 degrees, and this is seen in the up and down movement of the saw. However, compound miter saws can make angled cuts as well as 90-degree cuts. Compound miter saws combine the cutting movement of both miter saws and chop saws.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Using a Chop Saw

The greatest advantage of using chop saws is that a chop saw has a lot of power, which makes it suitable for commercial construction and industrial projects. If you want precise cuts on sturdy materials like concrete, then the chop saw is the go-to saw.

Due to its bulk, chop saws are rarely used at home. Also, it is limited to just 90 degrees, so you need a miter saw, or a circular saw. A circular saw can move various directions, which makes it more versatile, but it lacks the power of a chop saw.

Another downside to chop saws is that you should not use it often in cutting wood because its cutting ability is reduced.

Safety

Chop saws are very powerful, so you need to be extra careful when using it and keep body parts away from the blade since it can easily cut through tough material. Also, keep away flammable materials because the saw often produces a lot of sparks.

Before you begin cutting, make sure the materials are properly placed, and the saw is secure and balanced. When operating the chops saw, be extra careful; keep it at the back of your mind that kickbacks and blade climbing are common with both chop saws and miter saws.

Always control the saw with your right hand, while holding the material with the left. Make sure you are using the correct size and RPM of blades, and ensure they are sharp. Check if all the guards are in place and repair faulty ones. Remember always to wear protective gear, especially eye protection, when operating.

Conclusion

Chop saws are used by professionals who have large scale projects that involve precise cutting tough materials like metals. It is unusual to find chop saws in homes because of bulk, and because of its raw power, it’s impractical for hobbyists to use. Just as we mentioned earlier, chop saws are used only for 90 degrees cuts. However, if you need to make angled cuts, you’ll need a miter saw.