How To Make Straight Cuts With a Circular Saw

If you are already a professional, you probably know what you are about to read. However, if you are still a beginner, this article will be of great help to you. 

In this article, I will not only tell you one but three ways by which you can make straight cuts using a circular saw.

First Method: Long Freehand Cuts

1. Nail The Board Ends To Saw Horses

Saw Horses

To be able to concentrate all your focus on controlling the saw, you should nail the ends of the board to sawhorses because they provide stability for the board.

Make sure that you can access the part of the board that you want to cut, and then hammer a pair of nails into the opposite end. 

If you do not have sawhorses, you can use workbench or any other flat surface to hold the wood in place. 

You can usually find sawhorses at home improvement and tool stores.

2.Draw a Cutting Guideline

Cutting Guideline

Before cutting, you must plan out your cuts to ensure that you will cut them correctly. This means that you should mark and trace the guideline as evenly along the board as you can. 

You can use a square and a pencil, a speed square, a combination square, or similar tools to draw the guideline. 

3. Hold The Shoe In Place

Circular Saw

Now, bring the circular saw close to the part that you wish to cut. 

No matter what circular saw you are using, all circular saws have a metal frame around the blade; this metal frame is called a shoe. 

Now, you should hold the shoe in place by pressing your thumb against the tab on the saw’s shoe in front of the blade, placing your index finger underneath the board, and squeezing your fingers together. 

If you do not know how to find the shoe tab of the saw, it is okay. The shoe tab is opposite to the blade. Note, though, that if you have a right-handed tool, the shoe will be on the left side, and if you have a left-handed one, the shoe will be on the right side. 

The saw handle must be facing you, and the saw blade must be on the opposite side to increase your safety. 

4.Position The Blade

Place the blade behind the guideline. 

When you are cutting freehand, the blade can stray and move from its place. If this happens, and it cuts past the guideline, the whole task will be ruined.  

To save yourself from experiencing such horrible situations, make sure to keep the blade in the section of wood that you are going to cut. 

Note that you should not cut freehand if your fingers are within 3 in (7.6 cm) of the saw’s blade, or if the board’s edge is rough and splintered. In such cases, it is better to use a straight edge to avoid injuries. 

5. Start Cutting

Circular Saw

Here comes the final step. It is time to start cutting for real. 

Start the saw and keep pinching the saw’s shoe to the board. To keep the saw moving, you should slide your index finger along the board as long as the saw is cutting. 

You should pay close attention while cutting to notice when the saw deviates from the guideline. When this happens, you should stop cutting, take the saw back to where it started to move off-course, and then start again. 

Second Method: Straight Edge

Straight Edge

1. Form The Base Of The Straight Edge

For an average-sized jig, cut the board about 10 in (25 cm) wide and 4 ft (1.2 m) long.

Determine the length of the base depending on the cuts you’re going to make. Note that the base should be at least as long as the cut you are making, never shorter. 

You can use your circular saw to form the straight edge’s base. Also, you do not need to worry if the cuts turn out rough because you can correct them later. 

2. Form The Fence Of The Straight Edge

Unlike the straight edge’s base that has to be longer than the cut, the fence should be of the same length of the cut you are going to make. 

Regarding its width, you can determine it by measuring the circular saw from the edge of its base to the end of the motor. 

To facilitate the process and to eliminate mistakes, use a pencil to mark the dimensions and cut the board to size.

If your board has factory-cut edges, you can use them. Also, note that your straight line will be better if the edge is smooth.

3. Align The Board and Fence and Fasten Them Together

On a flat surface, put the thinner fence board, then put the baseboard on top of it. Align their sides, then stick them together with wood glue. Finish up with a series of flat-head wood screws.

During the process, you should pay close attention that the screws -that should be placed about 12 in (30 cm) along the length of the baseboard- are on the aligned side and not the side where the base extends past the fence board.

A tip for getting smoother cuts: let the smoother edge of the fence board face the center of the baseboard, and align the rougher edge with the baseboard’s edge. 

4. Clamp and Trim The Straight Edge

Now is the time to cut the excess wood on the baseboard. 

Place the straight edge on a flat surface and make sure that the baseboard is on the bottom and that its overhanging edge is facing you.

After that, place the circular saw on the board and push its base against the fence board. 

I recommend attaching a sharp carbide-tipped or plywood cutting blade to the circular saw you are using to get clean cuts. 

5. Measure The Board You Want To Cut With The Straight Edge

As usual, you should put the wood board on a flat surface. After that, you should slide scrap blocks underneath its ends.

To prevent the blocks from getting in the saw’s way, do not let them be too close to the area you want to cut. 

As agreed, it is always better to mark where the cut is going to begin and end to eliminate making mistakes. Use a pencil and a square, for example, to indicate that. 

6. Line and Clamp The Straight Edge

To make sure that the straight edge will not get out from its place, you should clamp it in its position.

Position the long end of the base and the side without the fence board against the measurement marks.

Left-blade circular saws have their fence board s on the right of the marks you made; whereas, right-blade circular saws have them on the left. 

7. Cut The Board 

Remember the way by which you will trim the straight edge? Do the same steps for cutting the board. 

This means that you shall place the saw’s edge against the fence board, activate the saw, and push it along the straight edge. 

Make sure that the straight edge is right in its place to get the best straight cut you could get. Moreover, you should always maintain the same pressure of the saw against the straight edge; otherwise, you may end up with a jagged cut. 

Third Method: Cross Cut Jig

Cross Cut Jig

1. Make a Jig’s Fence

The board should be 64 cm long and 25 cm wide. 

The edges of the board must be square, so make sure to cut them using a circular saw or another tool carefully. 

The fence’s length should at least be of the same length of the cut that you want to produce. 

2. Make The Jig Stop

The stop’s function is to hold the fence against any board that you cut, so it should be strong. To make a strong stop, use pine rather than plywood. 

Moreover, make sure that the stop is longer than the width of the fence board. 

3. Align The Fence’s Edge With The Side Of The Stop

Lay the stop on a flat surface then place the large fence over it. You should put the fence over it in a position that makes one of its longer edges over the top edge of the stop. 

Before fastening them together, make sure that the top and side edges are square.

4. Countersink Holes In The Board

Keeping the boards secure is an essential task, so you should make countersink holes in the boards and then screw them together. 

For starters, you should wrap a tape above the end of a power drill, then drill down through the boards, but do not go further than the tape. After that, drill down again into the center of the pilot holes using a drill before adding the flat-head wood screws. 

5. Make The Board That You Want To Cut 

And finally, you have your jig ready. So now, you can use it to make the straight crosscut.

Firstly, as always, you should place the board on a flat surface, then use a pen to mark where you want to cut. 

To keep the saw from cutting into your work surface, you can raise the board with scrap wood. 

6. Position The Jig and Cut The Board

Make sure that the jig and the board are held in their places so that they do not move when the saw is ON. 

Rest the thin stop board along the side of the board, and rest the fence board on the marks you made when you measured the cut. 

Place the circular saw, so its blade is right up against the fence, and start operating. 

Bottom Line

I bet it feels pretty great now that you know three methods by which you can make a straight cut. 

It is normal if it is confusing, though. You just need time and practice, and then it will be a piece of cake.

1 thought on “How To Make Straight Cuts With a Circular Saw”

  1. Found your post interesting to read. I can’t wait to see your post soon. Good
    Luck for your upcomingupdate. Thiss article is really quite interesting and effective.

    King regards,
    Dinesen Dencker


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