How to get a straight cut with a circular saw?

Circular saws are very handy tools that can come in handy when building anything from furniture to cabinets, but they can be dangerous as well if you don’t use them correctly. One of the biggest mistakes that people make with their circular saws is trying to make cuts that are longer than the length of the circular saw’s blade. So, how do you make a straight cut with a circular saw? Use this guide to find out!

Related Reading: 45-Degree Angle Cut with a Circular Saw

Tools Needed to Get a Straight Cut

Cutting with a circular saw requires some extra tools that will guide you for making accurate cutting, and there is a chance that without marking, you may get a straight line cut that is not straight at all. To have a perfectly straight line cut, you will need the following tools:

  • Circular saw (saw with greater RPM and thin blade can cut more smoothly)
  • Speed square (it is a measurement tool for making good and straight cuts
  • White scotch tape (Tape reduce the waste of woods and the roughness of cut edges)
  • Pen and Pencil (for outlining the desired cutting areas)

How can you get a straight cut with a circular saw?

While you have all the tools mentioned next task is to make cuts through the wood, and with the following guidelines given below, you will be able to have a straight cut without any problem.

Step 1: Clamping the wood

Movement of the wood you are working on can cause damage to the wood while cutting it and even can spoil the cut totally; although many people are so much experienced that clamping is not a necessity for them, it is always recommended to clamp your wood with the table or stand you are using. It will stabilize the movement of the wood while you cut it. Some woods are so heavy that with the help of your one hand, you can just hold the wood while cutting it through the other hand using the circular saw, but there lies a possibility that if the hand moves slightly, you will get a wrong cut. This cut is out of the outline, so it is suggested to clamp the wood with a clamp so that it does not move while you are cutting it.

Related Reading:  How to Cut Concrete Blocks with a Circular Saw?

Step 2: Hold the blade appropriately

The look of how smoothly you can cut a wood piece in straight-line is greatly affected by how you use a circular saw. In a more specific manner, how you hold and move the circular saw while using it for a cut can differentiate your work quality, and holding a circular saw in the wrong way can cause a less accurate cut on the outline. Holding it the right way can reduce the work time while giving you a smooth cut. There are two types of circular saw: a left-hand circular saw and a right-hand circular saw. Many people are lefty and used to working with the left hand for them it is recommended to buy a circular saw which has its handle on the left side of the saw and for right-hand people it is recommended to use circular saw which has a handle on the right side of the saw. Using a left-hand circular saw with the right hand can make imbalance and reduce the quality of outcome; on the other hand, using and holding the saw blade appropriately with the right hand can give better visibility over the outline, and you can precisely run your saw blade and get an accurate cut.  

Step 3: Set the appropriate depth of the blade for cut

Setting the correct depth of the circular saw blade before using it is important for reducing the risk of blade damage and increasing the outcome quality of the cut. If your blade is not appropriately adjusted, you might cut at less depth, requiring you to cut again if you want to separate the wood. Meaning more time, more wood dust, and even wide kerf of the cut; again, if you use more depth of the blade, then you might cut the wood in a single cut, but the blade will get damaged if it is set at more depth against the wood piece. In short, without the appropriate right depth of the blade adjustment, the cut will not be accurate either. So it is recommended to adjust the depth according to the cut depth you want. The blade depth can be around ¼ of an inch deep than the cut required.

Related Reading: How to Cut Sheet Metals with a Circular Saw? (4 Easy Steps)

Step 4: Use a straight line guide

 If you have no prior experience of using a circular saw, then there is a chance that even after making a square outline with a pen and speed square, you might make a mistake and make a wrong cut of the out of the cut outline. And, for having an extra safety while using a circular saw, you can use a straight line cutting guide for the circular saw. With a straight line cutting guide, you can adjust the saw blade attached to it, and you will not even require to make any lines at all. With a straight-line guide, you have to attach the saw blade with the guide and use it directly on the wood. One of the best straight-line guides available in the market is a Kreg-rip-cut guide.

Step 5: Avoid splinters

Splinters are little wood pieces that can cause damage to your eyes and lungs as well, and to avoid breathing wood dust sparking wood splinters. You should put the blade rotational direction against your position and use the upper guard of the saw blade. The upper guard stops the shooting splitters to come in your direction.

Step 6: Wait for the full speed of the blade

Circular saw blades take a few moments to reach their optimum rotation speed, and while it is speeding up, it is suggested to wait for it. Some people first place the blade on the wood and then start the blade that causes damage to the blade, creates lots of dust, and destroys the cut kerf. Saw Blades with higher RPM cut smoothly through the wood. 


Although cutting through a straight line can look like an easy task to do, using a circular saw can be dangerous for people without prior experience. So it is suggested to use safety equipment for avoiding any kind of injuries, and these safety items include the followings

  • Eye protection goggles
  • Hearing Protection
  • Gloves
  • Mask
Related Reading: How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw?

Bottom Line

Doing woodworks for making furniture by yourself can be fun and good practice to do, but ensuring safety is also important, especially while cutting straight-line with a circular saw.

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