What is a Circular Saw Used For?

| Last Updated: April 1, 2021

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Circular saws can be used to create various cuts commonly used by DIYers and professional carpenters. 

The cuts don't take much preparation and are all simple to make. In the article below, we'll discuss these uses in more detail. 

Circular Saw Terminology and Common Concepts

Jargon can often get in the way of learning new concepts, especially when you're a beginner. The below section will explain the various jargony words that you might see in the following article. 

Chipping - Otherwise known as tear out, this usually occurs when you're completing a crosscut with the wrong blade. The wood will chip at the point of exit. 

Gullet - The space between each tooth, the larger space, the more material that'll be removed. 

Continuous edge blade - A single sharpened blade that provides a precise and smooth cut. 

Diamond Tipped - The diamond-tipped teeth are what allow the user to cut through incredibly tough materials such as concrete and metal. The diamond ensures durability when working with these materials. 

Bevel Adjustment - The bevel adjustment is a mechanism at the side of the saw which allows you to adjust the angle of the plate in order to cut a bevel.

Circular Saw Uses

Below are the most common cuts that can be made using a circular saw.

  • Cutting Down Longboards
  • Straight Cuts
  • Cutting Metal
  • Cross Cuts
  • Cutting Bevels

Circular Saw Uses - Explained

Now that you know what your circular saw can be used for, it's time to give you a bit more information on each use mentioned. 

Cutting Down Long Boards 

Circular saws can easily cut through plywood which tends to be large pieces of thin wood, the plywood consists of two compressed pieces of wood which are bound by glue. Due to the thinness of the plywood, it's fairly easy to cut through. 

Straight Cuts 

A straight cut, also known as a rip cut, is when you cut with the grain of the wood. You should always cut with the grain so that you don't risk tear-out or chipping. The only times when you'd cut across the grain would be when you have a specialized blade capable of such a cut. If you haven't already, be sure to check out our article on, How to Rip Narrow Boards With a Circular Saw.

Cutting Metal

Cutting metal has some more preparation involved as you'll require a special blade; we've previously recommended using a continuous edge blade. This blade doesn't have any teeth and is just one continuous sharp diamond edge. One tip is that you should lubricate the blade and the metal; this helps provide a smooth, clean-cut. 

Cross Cuts 

Crosscuts are slightly harder to create as the wood can easily chip as you're cutting against the grain. The key to a successful crosscut is that you use the correct blade. It'd be ideal to choose a blade that has between 60 and 80 teeth, with a small gullet space. The more teeth on your saw blade, the smoother the cut will be. 

Cutting Bevels

A bevel is a cut along with the thickness of your wood. A bevel cut is similar to a miter cut and can often be confused with each other. To cut a bevel, you'll want to adjust the faceplate angle to 45-degrees using the bevel adjustment mechanism; this will allow you to cut across the edge of the wood at an angle that creates a bevel. 


Circular saws can be used to create a variety of cuts, although those mentioned above are the most common for DIYers and professional carpenters. If you want to begin your journey of mastering your circular saw, these cuts are the ones to learn first. 

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