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Re: Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Circular Saw

Reference JFink's comment: Justin, I haven't spoken to any tool designers prior to stating my observations here. These observations are based on the current design of direct drive circular saws. Right handed models have the blade on the right side of the motor. Left handed models are the opposite. This design obscures the users view of the blade, but provides a safer distance from the spinning blade to the hand that supports the work piece. An analogy would be observing that drivers of automobiles in North America are seated on the left side of the vehicle. In the UK, drivers sit on the opposite side - the right side. This is the design convention and it is not necessary to speak to a designer to observe it.

The accident I described in my previous post would have been much less likely to occur if that right handed carpenter had been using a right handed saw.

Assuming that you are right handed, you can better understand what I am describing here if you turn any of the right handed saws you reviewed 180 degrees and pretend to execute a cut. You will immediately notice that you can see and possibly even control the blade much better, BUT that the blade is much closer to your left hand - so much closer that it creates a hazard.

SamScott54 is correct that the design seems backwards, but there is a valid safety reason that this is the case.

Re: Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Circular Saw

In reference to SamScott54's remarks: "I don't know why anyone would want a circular saw with the blade on the wrong side. That has to be the most dufus design ever." Sam, I used to feel the same way and understand your remarks. I am a right handed carpenter that buys and uses left handed circular saws because the left handed design allows me a clear view of the blade. The Porter Cable Framesaw is the one I am using currently. HOWEVER, THERE IS A REASON THAT THESE SAWS ARE DESIGNED IN WHAT SEEMS TO BE BACKWARDS - IT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO USE A CIRCULAR SAW DESIGNED FOR A PERSON THAT IS OPPOSITE HANDED. The current design of circular saws uses the length of the motor to separate the blade from the carpenters left hand which typically supports the work piece. For some reason a right handed person will instinctively will let the left handed saw baseplate ride against their left thumb while pushing the saw blade into their left hand hidden under the work piece. I have seen an experienced right handed carpenter using a left handed saw cut off his entire little finger and two joints of his ring finger on his left hand working as I just described. For this reason I will not loan my left handed saw to any right handed individual and caution anyone considering using a circular saw designed for opposite handed people to carefully consider this very dangerous practice. Having said this, I personally like the ability to clearly see the blade and am willing to take the risks involved because I am so well aware of these risks.
katty1: Left handed people can see the blade of a right handed saw very well and do not think the saws are designed for the wrong side. The insidious thing is that left handers using right handed saws is an exceptionally dangerous practice for the reasons I previously described.

Re: Prevent a Powerful Range Hood From Backdrafting Your Furnace

As homes get tighter through the use of ICFs, SIPs and even improved stick building practices, make up air becomes critically important. Simply opening up a hole in the side of a home as the Broan duct does is not a solution for most climates in the world. It amazes me that an article on make up air could be written and several assumed experts quoted that does not even mention heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs). Several manufacturers produce these units, but I have not yet seen any practical, real world data on the effectiveness of these subsystems, nor do I understand why the industry has been so slow to warm up to this technology.