How To Use A Circular Saw: Quick Guide For Painless Cuts

Circular saws are practical tools for any handyman.

Finally, making those stairs to the attic? You need a circular saw to create the steps. Need some masonry work? A circular saw saves the day.

But accidents do happen, and that’s why you have to learn how to use a circular saw before jumping on a new project. And you’re on the right page for that.

Read the guide below to learn how to use a circular saw, plus many valuable tips for all your projects.

How To Use A Circular Saw For Beginners

If you’re a beginner, here are the steps you need to take for perfect cuts:

1. Make Precise Marks

Accurate cuts are the best start to a precise cut, so here’s something most beginners don’t know:

Instead of marking the spot with a line, make a “V.” The line can be slightly tilted to one side or the other, but the V indicates the precise point of cutting.

Also, make an X on the board’s “scrap” side and cut on the line on this side. If you cut on the other side, the board can be 1/8-in longer.

2. Make Sharper Chalk Lines

  • Twang the chalk line before laying it on the plywood to remove extra chalk.
  • Use the chalk line for precise lines.

3. Check The Lighting

Double-check the lighting before you start cutting. Move the board around a bit to make sure there aren’t any shadows that mess with your lines.

4. Look At The Blade

It’s not easy to follow the marks on the circular saw’s blade when you’re cutting because sawdust can cover them. So instead, you should look at the blade.

You can get rid of the sawdust covering the line by:

  • Blowing at the dust yourself
  • Getting a circular saw with an incorporated blower

5. Clamp Before Angles

When you’re cutting acute or obtuse angles, you’re going to need:

  • One hand for pushing the circle saw
  • Another hand to retract the saw’s guard

In this case, you need to secure the board – probably using your knee.

How To Use A Circular Saw For Beginners: Pro Tips

We’ve also prepared some pro tips to make sure everything runs smoothly:

1. Use Tape Before Marks

Use masking tape to mark your lines if you’re working on dark wood or laminate to see those lines more clearly and reduce the risk of splinters.

2. Use Protection

Not that kind of protection.

You’re going to need a dust mask and safety glasses so you can see the lines accurately. Trust us; you don’t want sawdust getting in your eyes.

You could also do with some earmuffs to focus better.

3. Drape The Cord On Your Shoulder

If your saw’s electrical plug snags on plywood, that messes with your cut. Put the cord on your shoulder to prevent snags and also to make sure you’re not cutting that cord by mistake.

4. Fast, Identical Cuts

Instead of measuring and marking for identical cuts repeatedly, make a jig using a fence guide.

5. Good Side Down

Circular saws create splinters on the side of the board facing up. So remember to place your board with the good side down.

And here’s another thing:

The slower you move, the fewer splinters you’re going to create.

6. Use A Cutting Pad

If you need to cut a long plywood sheet, use a cutting pad made of extruded foam. Place the plywood down and get down on your knees to move quickly around the board’s length.

7. Nail The Board Down

This technique is excellent for when you don’t have a table saw because:

  • It frees up both hands
  • You can cut straighter

8. Stone And Masonry

  • Use diamond blades that are much more affordable now than in the old days.
  • Ask a partner to slowly hose water on the blade while you’re cutting to prevent heating it.

Read more: Best Circular Saws on the UK market


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