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How to use a circular saw to do more

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And while you might slide the saw into the job to double check you’re right on the cutline, pull back and get the blade up to speed. Starting the blade in contact with the job is a sure way of kicking out a chunk of material and marring the cut.

straight cut circular saw


Support the material you are cutting and if possible, try to cut the piece so the baseplate is on the supported piece, not on the scrap that will fall away. It is very difficult to maintain the angle of the blade, especially toward the end of the cut, if you are trying to cut and support the saw at the same time.

cutting table for circular saw


Angle cuts, as opposed to bevels are often needed for framing, decks, railings and fascia boards. Again, using a guide is good practice. Use a protractor angle-guide set at the required cut angle and hold it with your free hand. Use this, not the cutline as the guide, pressing the baseplate side into the angle guide.

The blade guard often requires a little extra push as it swings up out of the way at the beginning of a cut. Sometimes when making an angle cut and especially when making a compound angle cut, it’s good to pull the guard clear of the job as you start the cut. Because the saw requires one hand on the trigger and the other on the blade guard grip, this is not as dangerous as it might sound.

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of a guide and, in that case, you’ll be relying on the notches on the front of the baseplate to guide the saw. Get to know which notch is guiding the blade when it is a straight cut and which is used for a beveled cut.

If you are ripping a bevel along a board, mark the cutline along the length. Better yet, find a piece of straight scrap and clamp it in place as a fence. If the clamps are getting in the way, you might be able to screw or nail the fence in place just while you complete the bevel. Then you can concentrate of keeping the baseplate firmly against the fence and advancing the saw smoothly for a nice clean, accurate cut.

-By Steve Sturgess

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