How to Cut Thick Wood With a Circular Saw?

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Circular saws are handy tools, but sometimes we have to admit that they’re quite intimidating. That’s completely fine because we’ve prepared a step-by-step tutorial on cutting wood with a circular saw for you! 

We even have some extra tips to give you an easier time. So pick up your materials and let’s get started, shall we?

Step by Step Guide: How to Cut Wood With a Circular Saw

Step 1: Measure Your Wood

The most fundamental step in woodworking with a circular saw is measuring your wood with top-quality woodworking square. If you could stand from where you’re at right now and figure out your wood’s quality and estimate its dimensions, that would be great!

This is an important step to ensure that your wood is big enough for all the pieces you want to create. Make sure to include the thickness of your wood during this as well, as it’ll be important for the next step!

Step 2: Measure Your Blade

More than just measuring your wood, it is just as important to measure your blade’s length and quality. If your blade isn’t long enough for your choice of wood, you simply won’t be able to work efficiently. How long does your blade have to be, you ask?

wood and circular saw

The rule of thumb is that if your wood’s thickness is twice the size of your blade, you won’t be able to cut it.

Step 3: Mark the Wood

Sometimes we tend to be a little bit adventurous in art, but in woodworking, proper planning is how you get things right.The next step is to decide the area you want to cut and mark that with a straight line. You could use a pencil [1] for this step.

While you’re at it, it is also important to remember that you need to make these line markers all around the wood. Make sure that they’re well-aligned and completely identical. Recheck a few times to make sure that your marks are precise, because you can’t start the cutting process otherwise. 

Step 4: Make the Cut

After all of your line markers are placed, it’s time to finally start the cutting process! What you’ll want to do is start from one side, and cut as deep as you can with your circular saw. You don’t, however, want to force the circular saw forward. This could cause irregularities if you’re not careful enough. When you have finished with your first cut, the next step is to flip your wood a full 180. 

cutting thick wood with circular saw

Start cutting from the line marker on this alternate side, and repeat until you’ve cut across all your line markers. Essentially, how the cutting process works is simply an alternating cutting and flipping process until you’re through!

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Tips & Tricks

Allow The Cut Piece to Fall

The board tip typically bows downward towards the end of your cut, a common occurrence in woodworking. It is important to avoid cutting within your stand, so allow the cut pieces to fall freely. This technique also helps prevent the saw from kicking back during cutting.

Set the Blade Just Deep Enough to Cut the Wood

While you may be tempted to have the blade as long as possible, it is much safer to adjust the blade just ¼” below the board. Having a deep blade set is dangerous because the excess will be exposed while cutting. Furthermore, this could also cause the saw to kick back.

setting the blade

Watch the Blade

A lot of circular saws have a little marker that dictates where the blade is going to cut. But for the sake of accuracy, we recommend you watch the blade itself especially when you are using a worm drive circular saw . That said, we also don’t recommend solely watching the line markers you’ve drawn while cutting. Your best bet is to look at where the saw is actually cutting!

For more tips, read this guide on how to cut wood slices with a chainsaw!


Similar to cutting pavers, cutting thick wood with a circular saw isn’t the easiest task in the woodworking industry, and it isn’t ever going to be. But just like every other activity, practice makes perfect! If you make a mistake here and there, try looking for a guide to help you out. Using one will give you a better feel of how to work with your saw. 

While you’re at it, also remember that safety comes first! Whether you are a beginner or veteran, don’t forget to wear full protective gear when learning how to cut thick wood with a circular saw. After all, the best way to go about it is one that gets the job done and keeps all your body parts intact!

If you are confused about when to use a circular saw or a jigsaw, here is how we pitted jigsaw and circular saw. Read next! 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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