How to Cut Plywood with a Circular Saw?

When it comes to cutting plywood, a circular saw can be the most effective tool for you. It can help you cut plywood easily and safely. You can give any shape to the workpiece as well. For many years circular saws have been used for professional as well as household uses. Although sometimes it’s challenging to cut plywood with a circular saw, anyone can do it without prior experience with a proper guideline. Here In this article, I will describe how to cut plywood with a circular saw step by step and give you some pro tips so that you can do it efficiently.

How to Cut Plywood with a Circular Saw?

Step 1: Put your plywood on a plain surface and set it properly

Before you start the actual mechanism, you should set the plywood on a level surface supported by some materials underneath. To ensure proper alignment with the floor, make sure it is positioned completely level and in the center of the floor. As a consequence, marking will be easy. You should make sure that it is positioned so that its edge is not in contact with the supports. The ideal setup is to set them up flat on the floor with supporting materials when cutting plywood sheets. There are two approaches you can use to set the plywood properly. Firstly, you can use approximately 4 feet long wood pieces underneath the plywood to use it. Use 4-6 wood pieces and set them under each side of the plywood. This method will allow you to cut smoothly and keep your blade at a distance from the surface. Another method is that you can use rigid insulation beneath your plywood. It is safe and makes the process a lot easier. But in this case, you have to spend some extra bucks.

Step 2: Choose the correct blade that suits your workpiece

Selecting the right blade for your workpiece is important for a smooth experience. There are plenty of options for you to choose. But you have to select the ones that suit your plywood’s type and what type of work you are going to do. Here’s a little guideline for you. There are many different kinds of blades on the market., such as ripping blades, crosscut blades, combination blades, composite blades, etc. For cutting plywood, I’d suggest you use a composite blade. This blade is especially used for cutting man-made timbers like plywood. But if you need to cut natural timbers frequently, you can go with dedicated blades like ripping and crosscut blades.

Step 3: Fix the blade’s depth according to the workpiece’s thickness

To cut down your plywood properly and keep the blade safe at the same time, you should set the depth of the blade according to the thickness of the workpiece. Typically, The circular saw’s blade teeth should barely protrude beyond the workpiece’s bottom surface. However, when cutting unrefined timbers or other materials of varied thickness, the cut may not make the trek through the workpiece. Adjust the blade to extend about 1/4 inch below the workpiece’s thickest point. You can adjust the blade’s height by pulling the lever on the back of your saw.

Step 4: Draw lines on the areas you want to cut

Draw a cutting line across your plywood so that you don’t mistakenly cut through the wrong area. With a pencil, draw the lines where you wish to cut. It’s best if you draw two lines alongside by keeping a gap between them. The gap should be equal to the thickness of your blade. Mainly you will cut through the gap of these two lines. To make sure that you don’t go outside of your marked area, you can also use Jigs. With this cutting box for your circular saw, you can make repetitive cuts straight and properly every time.

Step 5: Test before you start cutting

Before you actually start cutting the plywood, doing some test cuts would be really helpful. You can draw a small line in a spare piece or in the area you don’t have any necessities. Once you’ve finished, perform a test cut by placing the base plate up against the guide. Make an attempt to scrape the plywood. Check to see that the blade is already spinning before it reaches the plywood since if it isn’t, it will split the edge of the plywood. Also, make sure you’re wearing the appropriate safety equipment to prevent any possible problems.

Step 6: start cutting at an appropriate pace

Now that you’re properly prepared and equipped, it’s time to get to the business. Hold the saw with both hands, away from the trigger. Place the sole’s front edge over the plywood’s edge, aligning the guiding notch with the cut line. The circular saw blade should not touch the board. Start the circular saw and carefully drop the blade into the plywood, matching the heel guide notch with the cut line. Push the circular saw forward, using the notch to guide the cut. Keep a firm hold on the circular saw throughout the cut. Keep it steady and firm. Keep going until the blade comes through the plywood. Allow the blade to slow before stopping.

Step 7: Detach the power cord after use

After finishing your job or during a break, remember to detach the power cord to avoid risks. Sometimes the power switch gets triggered unintentionally and creates an accident that you never want to face!

Pro Tips

  • Here’s a tip to cut with the circular saw more effectively. Usually, The circular saw base has a 90-degree flat edge. Turn on the saw, align the 90-degree bent edge with the fence, and start cutting the plywood. Cutting circles or curved lines with a circular saw is not advised. This happens when the saw isn’t cut exactly straight. Also, never swivel the saw.
  • Don’t use too much force while pushing the saw into the plywood. Forcing the saw would result in dangerous accidents; also, you might get a flawed result.  
  • Cut along the cut line using a layer of masking tape to minimize splintering as the blade departs the board.
  • Instead of doing the whole work at once, take a break and let your saw cool down. It will help you avoid overheating issues.
  • Whenever you cut vertically, always begin at the top of the piece. The use of this technique will enable gravity to work in your favor, resulting in a straighter cut.

Bottom Line

Following the discussed guidelines will help you cut plywood with a circular saw very efficiently. Now you can give your plywood any shape you want. In case your cut was not good enough, don’t get disappointed. Perfection is a result of practices. Keep using your saw until you are used to it. Along with these theoretical guidelines, you can watch some video tutorials for a better understanding.