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Tips on using a circular saw to cut wood

Are you struggling with using a circular saw? Or you have no clue how to use one? Believe me, I have been there… And that is why I wanted to share some tips on using a circular saw to cut wood.

Tips on using a Circular saw

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WHY DO I NEED A CIRCULAR SAW?

One of the biggest benefits of a circular saw is that it is completely portable (has no base like a miter or table saw). The saw can cut wood, masonry, plastic, or metal depending on the blade you are using. Plus it can be hand-held or mounted to a machine/table.

After a drill, this is probably the most used tool a DIYer can have. Because it is the handheld version of a miter/table saw it can replace both on a work site (I am not saying a miter saw or table saw are not needed).

There are many different features in a circular saw (like a laser line, corded or cordless!) but the basic 7 1/4″ saw will do the job. One of the most important things is the blade and that you are using. So make sure you are using the right blade for your project.

TIPS ON USING A CIRCULAR SAW TO CUT WOOD

I am going to be honest with you, the first couple of times using our circular saw I did NOT like the saw. I struggled using it and Eric would not even give it a try after watching me (I guess I made it look that bad…). I didn’t understand it because other people make that saw look so easy. Why was I struggling?

Then I figured out some tips to make this saw a lot easier when cutting wood and I figured out how to use it! Here are the tips I learned along the way:

SET THE BLADE DEPTH TO JUST CLEAR THE WOOD –

  • Adjust the blade so that the blade is about 1/4″ below the board. This will help the blade to cut more efficiently plus it’s safer.

Tips on using a Circular saw

    • When the blade is too deep, it is more dangerous because more of the blade is exposed while cutting. But it is more likely to bind and kick back.

Tips on using a Circular saw

ALLOW THE CUT OFF PIECE TO FALL AWAY –

  • Do NOT support both ends of the board or you will have problems. As you near the end of the cut, the board bows downward, which will pinch the blade causing the saw &/or board to kick back.
  • SIDE NOTE: The falling piece of wood can take a sliver of wood with it. So for a nicer cut support the board continuously, next tip!

Tips on using a Circular saw

The picture above was wrong, the one below is the correct way!

Tips on using a Circular saw

SUPPORT THE WOOD FOR A NICER CUT –

  • If you want a nicer cut or you are cutting a sheet of plywood, support the wood the entire length then make a crosscut against the wood.

Tips on using a Circular saw

USE A GUIDE –

  • This is my favorite way to use a circular saw. You can purchase a circular saw guide (like the amazing Rip-Cut) or you can make your own guide using a straight board and two clamps. The biggest benefit of using a guide is a straight and quick cut!
  • Here is what a guide will look like:

How to build a floor for a shed.

How to use a Kreg Rip-Cut the easy way!

WATCH THE BLADE NOT THE MARKING –

  • Most circular saws have a marking of where the blade will cut but DON’T follow this. Watch the cut line right where the blade cuts the wood to give you a more accurate cut.

MARK UP THE BOARD –

  • How are you supposed to cut a board without marking it first? Mark both ends of the board and depending on the width, either use a square or a chalk line to mark the cut line.

I am still learning how to be as comfortable as a construction worker with a circular saw but that will come with time, practice makes perfect! But if you’re struggling or want to use a circular saw make sure you first set the blade depth. Then use one or a couple of these methods to cut the wood; let the cut fall or crosscut the wood, use a guide, watch the blade, and mark the board. Using these tips will help you feel more comfortable and give you the cut you want.

So have you tried these tips? Or do you happen to have more to share?

Tips on using a Circular saw