Why is My Circular Saw Smoking? (and How to Fix it)

why is my circular saw smoking

If you’ve ever experienced smoke being emitted from your saw while you’re working, you’re not alone. 

Many woodworkers will experience this from time to time during their time while working on projects. 

Quick Summary

In this post, we will discuss why your circular saw might be smoking. There can be a number of reasons, all of which we will provide below. 

In addition to the cause, we will also provide solutions so you can get back to work without worrying about your circular saw smoking. 

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Why is My Circular Saw Smoking?

circular saw smoking

If you are operating your circular saw to cut a piece of wood or some other material and it starts to smoke, it can be quite frightening. 

The first thing you should do is turn your circular saw off. If your saw is smoking, there’s definitely something wrong and you don’t want it to get worse. Hence, turn the saw off immediately. 

Next, you will need to inspect your circular saw in order to understand what the cause of the smoking was.

Some reasons why your circular saw might be smoking are: 

  • You are using a blade that is dull. 
  • You are trying to cut too thick of a piece of wood in one go. 
  • You’re using the incorrect blade for the job. 
  • You’re not cutting at the proper angle. 
  • The motor of the circular saw has burnt down or is worn out. 

Let’s discuss these causes in more detail as well as what the solutions to them would be: 

You’re Using a Dull Blade

When inspecting your circular saw, the first thing you should inspect is the blade, specifically, the teeth on the blade. 

You can try to feel the teeth with your finger to check if they are sharp or not. However, this can be difficult to tell for inexperienced users. 

Alternatively, if you have a hunch that the blade is dull, you can turn the saw on again and try cutting a thin piece of wood with it. If you find it hard to push the blade into the timber, then that certainly means that the blade is dull. 

If you do find the blade to be dull, you can either get it sharpened from a professional or you can go out and buy a new blade to replace it. 

You’re Trying to Cut a Piece that is Too Thick 

Every blade is limited by its size. You can only cut a piece of wood as deep as the blade’s width allows you to. 

If you are trying to cut a piece of wood that is too thick, possibly while using the wrong type of blade, this can definitely lead to smoking. 

The cause of the smoking would be timber fibers that are being cut but are not escaping quickly enough. This would cause a lot of friction and eventually lead to smoking. 

If this is the reason for your smoking, then the only solution here would be to work with thinner pieces of lumber. 

If you want to work thicker pieces, you may have to invest in a bigger circular saw. 

Note: Interested in finding out how to cut 6×6 wood pieces with a circular saw? CLICK HERE.

You’re Not Using the Right Blade for the Job 

If you’ve browsed for blades for your circular saw before, you will know that there are many different types of them available. Many of them have a different number of teeth while others are made from different materials. 

Naturally, different sets of teeth are required for different types of jobs. 

If you are crosscutting, you will need a blade with a high number of teeth so that you can make smooth cuts. 

If you are ripping large pieces of lumber, then you will need a blade with a low number of teeth. 

Of course, if, for example, you use a blade with a large number of teeth to rip a thick piece of lumber, it’s going to lead to smoking. 

Hence, if your circular saw starts to smoke, ensure that you are using the right blade for the job you are performing. 

You’re Not Cutting Straight 

For most standard circular saws, you will want to cut straight into the wood. Most circular saw blades are about 10 inches in diameter and they’re entirely flat. Hence, they are not meant to cut wood at angles. 

Many people try to cut freehand with circular saws; One hand to cut while the other to follow a line. While this can work well when you’re experienced, if you are not, then your blade might wander. 

If you start to cut at an angle without being aware of it, there’s a chance that the side of your blade might come into contact with the timber. This can cause binding and excessive binding can lead to smoking. 

Your Motor Has Burnt Down 

If you’ve inspected your saw and checked for all of the reasons provided above, then there’s a chance that your saw’s motor might have worn out. 

To test this, take your circular saw away from any timber and turn it on. If your saw still starts to smoke, then that’s a guarantee that your motor has burnt down. 

Furthermore, the smell of a burnt motor is quite strong. If the motor is burnt, then you’ll definitely smell it. 

Sadly, if the problem with your circular saw is the motor, then you don’t really have a ton of options in terms of solutions. 

The best option here would be to just buy another circular saw. You can check to see if you still have some kind of warranty for your burnt-out saw. If you do, then you might be able to get it replaced by the manufacturer. 

In any case, we strongly recommend that you don’t try to use a circular saw that has a faulty motor. Such a saw can be extremely dangerous and could even cause fires if overloaded.

Note: Make sure you have the right tools

Wrapping Things Up…

We hope we were able to identify why your particular circular saw might be smoking. 

If this ever happens to you, just go through the list of problems we’ve provided above and you’ll surely be able to get to the bottom of it. 

If you have any further questions, please reach out to us in the comments below. 

Visit our page to avoid problems like this.

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