Are you a little nervous about using a circular saw? Don’t be! It’s actually not that bad at all! Here, I’m going to walk you through the basics of how to use a circular saw. Circular saws are great for making lots of different cuts including smaller, quick ones across things like 2″ x 4″s to longer cuts across sheets of plywood.
I have to admit – I was worried that the Power Tools 101 series may not be such a hit.
I was wrong.
And I’m so glad I was.
I’m thrilled you guys are finding this helpful! We want to empower you to get your DIY on!
By no means, am I pro at using every power tool in the book.
I still ask Grunt Labor questions about them all the time and I still make him put on any new hinges for doors because it seems I always drill the holes for those in the wrong place.
I know the basics and for the most part, that’s all I need to know.
With that being said, here are the basics of a how to use a circular saw.
Using a Circular Saw
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If you are a first time circular saw user, I suggest that you have someone nearby who is familiar with circular saws when you first use it – just in case you have any questions and for safety’s sake. If you ever don’t feel comfortable cutting something, don’t do it. Wait until you have someone to help you who is comfortable with it. Power tools shouldn’t be scary, but you need to be careful with them at the same time.
Also, and this is probably the only situation in which I will say this, no cheap beer (or your preferred poison) while using a power tool, y’all.
And….always wear safety glasses when you cut something!
Ok, let’s get started.
Parts of a Circular Saw
Grunt Labor and I have a few different types of circular saws.
The one we have had the longest and use the most is a Ryobi Cordless Circular Saw, which is pictured in the photo above. I’ve also noted the basic parts of the saw. There are also corded circular saws available.
I use our circular saw for longer cuts where it usually doesn’t matter if its perfectly straight or just cut little cuts.
If you buy a new circular saw, you will most likely have to put the blade on. There will be instructions for this included, but all you do is remove that bolt in the center.
The blade guard will cover the bottom of the blade unless you move it.
Once you start sawing something, it will move around the blade as you saw.
There are also functions on the circular saw where you can adjust the blade depth and angle.
To adjust the blade depth, there is a knob on the back of our saw (I believe it is on the back with most saws).
You simply turn it and the bottom plate will slide out.
There is also a place to adjust the angle of your cut.
This is on the front of our saw. This is used for bevel cuts.
In all honesty, we rarely ever use these two functions on our circular saw. We tend to make bevel cuts on our miter saw, which I’ll cover in another Power Tools 101 post. Its just good to know those functions are there.
Let’s get to the fun part – cutting.
Cutting Wood with a Circular Saw
When you go to cut something with your saw, you must push both triggers to start the saw.
Typically, you will push that top trigger first, and then the bottom one while still pushing the top trigger.
Before you cut something, have your line drawn out on your board or whatever you are cutting.
Use that notch in the saw (as noted above) as a guide to keep your cut straight.
When you begin to cut something, you will want to have the saw level, and don’t have the blade directly touching the wood – just barely by it as shown below.
You will also have to pull up the blade guard when you first go to cut. Push your triggers and begin pushing the saw gently through your wood. Once you get your blade into your wood, you can release the blade guard and place that hand on the handle of your saw. If you are cutting something that is easily moveable, you may need to put that hand on the board to hold it steady, HOWEVER, keep your hands and fingers clear from the blade.
And that’s all you do to cut. Easier than you thought?
Other Types of Circular Saws
We also have two other types of circular saws which we just got.
Rockwell Tools just sent us their compact circular saw (shown above). The compact circular saw is well, just that. Its a smaller version of a regular circular saw that is corded.
It also has two triggers as a regular circular saw does.
Since this compact circular saw is smaller, it is easier to maneuver.
Rockwell also sent us their Versacut circular saw.
The Versacut has a few more bells and whistles than the regular compact circular saw, however it is still a compact size. It can cut not only wood, but tile, pipe, and more. It is also corded.
It also has a two part trigger system.
You have to push that red trigger first and then the yellow one.
It comes with an edge guide which allows you to get a straighter cut. You move the right part of the guide out and over your wood to the desired width.
It will move along the edge as you cut to give you a straighter cut.
Kreg also makes a guide, which they call a Rip-Cut that you can attach to a regular circular saw and use as a guide.
The Versacut also has a laser guide which is really helpful if the guide isn’t big enough for what you are cutting. We haven’t really had a chance to dive into using the new compact circular saws yet, but so far I am pretty impressed with their bells and whistles.
Any questions? Please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!
Do you have any tips for using a circular saw? Leave those in the comments too!
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Disclosure: Rockwell Tools sent me their compact circular saw and Versacut to review. However, all opinions are 100% mine.