How to Cut Straight with a Circular Saw? Get It Right Every Time

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Despite the name, circular saws are not used to cut circles or any other strange shapes for that matter. They are used to cut straight lines.

Making straight cuts with a circular saw, on the other hand, might be challenging, specifically if you are a beginner who has not had much practice with the tool.

In this article, we show you basic strategies and techniques for cutting straight lines with your circular saw each and every time.

What Are the Types of Circular Saw Cuts?

A circular saw is a hand-held instrument that cuts wood and other pieces of material with a spinning blade. Crosscuts, rip cuts, and miter cuts are the most typical cuts people perform with their circular saws.

A crosscut is one that cuts across the grain of your workpiece or across the width of the board.

Rip cuts are made via the length of your workpiece or with the grain of the wooden item.

A miter cut is one that is done diagonally across the grain of your wood or across the breadth of the board.

How to Cut Straight with a Circular Saw

We have all tried eyeballing a straight cut with a circular saw and failed miserably. Circular saws have a challenging time moving in a straight line. The blade almost always drifts away from your pencil line, despite your best attempts. When trying to get the saw back on course, the blade bends. You have now squandered time, money, and your workpiece.

Many circular saws are incapable of making those straight cuts on their own. It requires the assistance of a cutting guide or fence.

If you want to get the ideal straight cut, make sure you adhere to the following tips:

  1. Secure the workpiece by clamping it
  2. Hold your blade in the correct manner
  3. Choose the appropriate depth for the cut
  4. Utilize a circular saw guide
  5. Let your circular saw blade come at full speed before making the cut

Secure the Workpiece by Clamping It

Clamping or securing your workpiece enables you to focus on the cut rather than the material.

Many times, you can chop any workpiece with a circular saw without clamping it, particularly if you are a competent circular saw a user or the weight of the workpiece you are cutting makes shifting nearly impossible.

However, clamping and securing the board before cutting is always a good idea. This keeps it from sliding out of line when cutting, allowing you to get the most out of both the workpiece and the saw, leading to straighter cuts.

Hold Your Blade in the Correct Manner

There are correct and incorrect ways to hold your circular saw, just as there are several types.

The way you hold it has a significant impact on how the cut comes out. Circular saws are divided into two categories. A right-hand circular saw and a left-hand circular saw are both available.

Right-handed circular saws are for right-handed people, whereas left-handed circular saws are for left-handed people. Although not utilizing your hand type allows you to see the cutting blade more clearly, utilizing your specific hand type allows you to grasp it more securely without your hands having to cross over one another.

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Choose the Appropriate Depth for the Cut

If you want to produce a straight and precise cut with a circular saw, the first thing you have to do is establish the correct depth of cut. Without the proper depth of cut, the blade may wander from the straight line, resulting in a skewed chop.

Aside from that, cutting without the proper depth of cut is not a safe thing to do.

You should set the blade so that it only bulges a quarter of an inch from the bottom of the workpiece you are sawing.

Utilize a Circular Saw Guide

If you are a beginner, a circular saw guide such as the Kreg rip-cut guide is your safest bet for making straight cuts every single time.

You do not have to measure anything when you have a guide, and you do not even have to draw a straight line to designate your cut line.

All you have to do now is set the circular saw guide to the width you wish to cut and start sawing.

It is excellent for straight repeat cuts, rip cuts, and most importantly, straight cuts every time you move your circular saw along with the slide.

If your circular saw does not come with a guide, buying a fence from the store or making a DIY cutting guide may help to create laser-accurate straight cuts.

Let Your Circular Saw Blade Come at Full Speed Before Making the Cut

This is a critical step that must be completed before performing any type of cut. Allow your blade to reach full speed before putting it in touch with the workpiece you are cutting after you have compressed the saw trigger.

Otherwise, the blade may leave a mess on the workpiece’s edge as it cuts through it. As a result, always allow the blade to reach full speed before cutting.

How Can You Avoid Splinters? Cut with the Better Side of Your Workpiece (In this Case Wood) Facing Down

A circular saw works by rotating the sharp side of the blade teeth upward into the workpiece from beneath it.

If you cut against the grain of the wood, you may end up with splinters at the top. Always cut with the favorable side of the piece facing downwards to avoid damaging the better side of the wood. This way, if there are splinters at the top, they get covered when you have finished constructing your project.

Safety First!

Even while making straight cuts is essential for creating beautiful pieces in your workshop or on the worksite, safety comes first.

Therefore, while utilizing your circular saw, follow all circular saw safety guidelines and use the proper protective equipment, such as safety goggles, to shield your eyes from debris and sawdust.

If you follow the methods above, you are going to be able to cut straight lines with your circular saw each time.

Special Tips When Trying to Make Straight Cuts with a Circular Saw

If you would like to become an expert at using your circular saw to create straight cuts, make sure you are making use of these excellent tips:

  • Place the circular saw guide so that it completely covers the side of the workpiece that you want to maintain. If the circular saw wanders away from the cut line, it is going to cut on the scrap side, and you do not have to worry about damaging the piece you wish to use.
  • Make incisions on a section of rigid foam board insulation
  • With regards to cutting larger sheets of MDF and plywood, the foam board creates an excellent worktop.
  • When working on the ground, the foam board stops the circular saw blade from accidentally cutting your pavement, concrete, or workbench.
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The Bottom Line

A circular saw by itself is essentially incapable of making a completely straight cut. It requires the assistance of a cutting guide or fence. A circular saw can be used in various ways to achieve straight cuts. 

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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Itamar Ben Dor
Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.