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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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    Please don't cross-post. Please delete this question or the one on WW.SE. – mmathis Oct 18 '18 at 13:22
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    Your thinking cap is the best and most effective peice of protective clothing. Otherwise, stick to hand-powered saws, and keep a stock of bandages handy as anything that cuts wood, cuts flesh – Ecnerwal Oct 18 '18 at 15:57
  • @mmathis , I want to delete the WW.SE one. Mind moving your answer from there to here? – CodeBricks Oct 20 '18 at 19:53
  • @CodeBricks My answer over on WW.SE is not substantially different from Aloysius' answer below, so just go ahead and delete the WW.SE question. – mmathis Oct 25 '18 at 20:16
  • @mmathis I tried deleting that but it doesn't work. It prompts: "You cannot delete this question as others have invested time and effort into answering it." – CodeBricks Oct 27 '18 at 7:46
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I'd suggest ear protection, eye protection, and if you're doing a lot of cutting or particularly sensitive to sawdust, dust protection (p95 or better). Steel toe/steel shank boots are generally good on a worksite, but they aren't specific to circular saws.

If you are worried about cutting into your legs or worse, you need to think again about how to use a saw. Seriously. It would take a lot of bad technique to hack into your leg.

PS, circular saw blades don't fall out in use unless you've set up the saw distressingly wrong.

  • I used normally, but included blade of Milwaukee circular saw 2630-20 loosened such that blade wobbled; brakes didn’t stop it. Retightened bolt, but afraid it’ll happen again or fall out. Circular saw kickback can happen. Chainsaw operators wear chainsaw chaps/pants regardless of technique. Want analogous PPE for circular saw. +1 for boots, but comments on this other video make me wonder: are there boots with protection for parts beyond the toe or has material that makes the saw stop or skip over rather than dig deeply down? – CodeBricks Oct 18 '18 at 7:34
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    Agree that circular saw kickback can happen and cut your leg. Two things cause that... bad circular saw technique (binding/twisting that causes kick) and positioning that puts your body in the line of fire. Avoid both. Check the fastening bolt on your saw regularly if it's prone to loosening. Also, the blade guard should function properly (which is to say, snap back briskly when released), which would prevent issues (foot or otherwise) when you set the saw down. I don't want to sound like I'm anti-safety in all this: I just don't want folks relying on body armor as a substitute for technique. – Aloysius Defenestrate Oct 18 '18 at 13:28
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    I would add to this answer that you should avoid loose or baggy clothing that could get caught in the saw, or could interfere with your ability to see what you're doing. Long hair should be tied back, too. – mrog Oct 18 '18 at 18:36
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Because of the way a circular saw works, the possibility of kickback is, in my experience, basically non-existent. (This is due to the fact that you 'push' the circular saw against the rotation of the blade, very different than a chainsaw which 'pulls' you and furthermore has a long lever-arm that can be thrown around.)

Here is the safety checklist you are looking for for circular saw use:

  1. electrical safety (good cords with safe dry connections)
  2. eye and ear protection
  3. proper footing, no trip hazards
  4. use a saw with proper guard
  5. both hands firmly on the saw while it's spinning

There is no shirt, hat, pants, shoes out there for this, because those don't matter. All that matters as far as PPE is the eye and ear protection. I will happily cut naked and barefoot if I can get goggles and earmuffs.

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