What Jobs Can You Do With A Circular Saw?-Complete Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated On February 10, 2023

A circular saw is one of the most useful handheld power tools to own. Anyone interested in learning woodwork should have one in their shop. It’s also a tool that saves you a lot of space. It’s portable and easily storable. You can make free-hand cuts with it easily. 

These saws are useful for making straight cuts, crosscuts, bevel cuts, and rip cuts cutting metal, on plywood and boards. You can also cut through metal with them when fitted with an appropriate blade. 

It offers a lot of convenience than table saws, which are pretty similar. With a circular saw, instead of feeding lumber through the saw, you pass the saw through a stationary board. So, what jobs can you do with a circular saw? Let’s take an in-depth look.

What Jobs Can You Do With A Circular Saw? – All The Ways You Can Use A Circular Saw

A circular saw is versatile, and you can use it to achieve different types of cuts. It’s a great investment, and if you can only afford a couple of saws, getting a circular saw is going to be well worth your money. Here’s all that you can do with it.

1. Straight Cuts, 90° Edges

A circular saw is best for getting straight cuts with a free hand. You won’t get the accuracy of a table saw unless you use a guide. You can buy all sorts of guides to help you get accurate cuts with a circular saw that will be perfect for your woodworking projects. 

Freehanding a circular saw is best when you don’t need perfect edges, or you’re cutting down plywood to get smaller workpieces that you’ll shape up later. 

2. Crosscuts 

When you cut against the grain of wood, it is known as a crosscut. Blades with finer teeth are best suited for crosscutting. Sometimes when you use a common 24 teeth blade, you’ll get some splintering and rough edges during a crosscut. We recommend getting a blade with 140 teeth for better results with crosscuts. 

3. Bevel Cuts

Bevel cuts are those that are made other than an angle of 90 degrees along the thickness of the board. A circular saw is good with these cuts. The base of the saw can be adjusted to set it at an angle. Usually, you get a range of 0° to 56° with most circular saws. There’s a lever to adjust the bevel angle.

4. Rip Cuts

When you cut along the grain of the wood, it’s called a rip cut. Circular saws are good for this job. The best guide for rip cuts is a speed square to get narrower rip cuts, like 2 inch×4 inch. You can also use other more complicated guides to get wider cuts. 

5. Cutting Metal

You can also cut metal with circular saws with the appropriate blades. It’s particularly good at slicing through rebars quickly. Cut up to 3-8 inch thick metal pieces made of mild steel with a ferrous blade meant for metal cutting. 

Basic Parts of A Circular Saw 

There are a lot of parts in your circular saw. We want to introduce the most basic ones that will give you an understanding of these saws. 

1. Trigger

A circular saw has two handles to help you control the saw with both hands. The rear handle has a trigger that you’ll hold throughout the cut. Sometimes, the handles have a safety button that you need to press to prevent accidental starts. 

2. Blade

New circular saws will come equipped with a combination of all-purpose blades. You can buy aftermarket blades. Every saw will have a unique little system for changing blades, but they’re all similar. You can change one easily by reading the instructions in the owner’s manual. 

Parts of A Circular Saw

Source: Unsplash Free Images

3. Base Plate

The base plate of the saw rests flat against the surface of the wood and keeps the blade running at a constant angle to the wood. Usually, of course, that’s a 90-degree angle. 

4. Retractable Blade Guard

There’s a retractable blade guard that protects the user from getting injured due to the saw malfunctioning. Using the lever on the opposite side of the handle, you can adjust this blade guard. While cutting, you should always have the blade guard cover your saw.

5. Bevel Adjustment Lever

It is a lever on the side of the saw handle, opposite to the retractable blade lever. You adjust the bevel angle through it. 

How To Cut Using A Circular Saw: Beginner’s Guide

First, set the depth of your cut by adjusting the blade along the edge of your board, set it so that it’s barely deeper than the thickness of the wood, and lock it down. 

The easiest method for making cuts is to freehand it. Just draw a line where you want to make the cut and follow along the line. This is handy for rough construction projects. To get a straighter and more accurate cut, you’ll need to set up a guide for your base plate to ride along

Set the front of the base plate flat against the wood surface. The base has two notches that tell exactly where the blade will cut. One is for regular 90-degree cuts, and the other is for bevels.

Make sure you’re wearing eye protection and hearing protection, and it’s not a bad idea to wear a dust mask. Squeeze the trigger and start feeding the saw into the wood only after the blade is spinning.

Position your body to the side, not directly behind the saw. Follow the line using that notch for reference. You can also look at the blade from the side. Guide the blade accordingly.

The blade guard will automatically spring back to its closed position when you reach the end, allowing you to safely set the saw down while the blade is coming to a stop. 

How To Safely Cut Using Circular Saw

Circular saw accidents aren’t unheard of, so you must be careful while cutting. Here are our tips to prevent injuries.

1. Support Smaller Pieces With Sawhorses

The wood you’re cutting must be held securely in place. A sawhorse or a pair of sawhorses is handy for this, especially when you’re cutting boards or small pieces of plywood. Just clamp the workpiece in place. 

It’s best not to clamp down the off-cut piece because the two halves might collapse in on each other when you get to the end of the board. It can cause the saw to bind and even kick back.

If your saw does bind or kick back, release the trigger immediately and adjust the wood, so it’s not pinching.

Here is our full guide of How to use a Sawhorse with circular saw? Lets check this out.

2. Cut Bigger Pieces On The Ground

The problem with not supporting bigger off-cut pieces is that their weight can cause the wood to break or splinter as you reach the end. Trying to support the off-cut with your opposite hand is awkward and probably not the best solution. 

Instead, try to cut most pieces on the ground on top of a piece of styrofoam building insulation. This method provides off-cut support giving you a cleaner cut and eliminating kickback. 

Final Words

A Circular saw is a great tool to own whether you have a complete woodworking shop or want to build cool projects without a shop. Hopefully, we provided you with an accurate picture of what jobs can you do with a circular saw. 

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

Leave a Reply