Circular saws are adept at handling a range of materials, but not all are created equal, especially when it comes to cutting thicker pieces. I remember the first time I had to cut a 4×4 – safety was my paramount concern.
And that’s a mantra I’ve always held close – never compromise on safety. So, choosing the right size of a circular saw for this wood size is crucial. If you’re unsure about these aspects, don’t worry. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way for a smoother and safer cutting process.
Circular Saws That Can Handle 4x4 Wood
If you shop around, you’ll realize that most circular saws sold in the market are compact and portable. You may think these tools aren’t suitable for bigger cutting jobs, but the reality is there are plenty of bench-mounted models that could work well for these tasks.
You can indeed use a standard-sized circular saw. Just keep in mind that it might take several passes to cut through a 4×4 lumber. And if you’re looking for other options, beam saws are a fantastic alternative I’ve used in the past.
And if the current power saw you own is capable of changing blades, you can always change it to a bigger one to handle a thicker material.
If you don’t want to change it yet, here’s a quick guide on how to sharpen your circular saws’ blades.
How to Cut 4x4 Lumber With a Circular Saw Lengthwise (Rip Cut Method)
When cutting a 4×4 lumber using a circular saw, the trick is to use different cutting techniques. Here’s how you can accomplish this task by making rip cuts.
Ensure the circular saw’s blade is sharp and set to the appropriate depth to make clean and precise cuts through the 4×4 lumber.
Related Topic: Chainsaw Cutting Techniques
Step #1: Adjust Blade Depth to Maximum
Different cuts certainly require varying blade depths. For this, I recommend setting the blade’s depth to its maximum. For the common seven 1/4-inch circular saw I often use, a depth of 2.5 inches tends to do the trick.
Step #2: Begin With Each Side
As you cut through the wood piece, you must carefully guide it until the slice reach halfway through the lumber.
Don’t try to put downward pressure on the wood, as you’re only meant to cut half of the entire diameter of the wood.
After the first cut, flip the lumber over. The uncut side of the material must be facing up, and this time you must start the cut from the opposite side.
Step #3: Cut the Piece
Next, you’ll need to cut the entire diameter of the piece after the partial cuts meet in the middle. You can opt for a hacksaw to finish this task, but if the circular saw pretty much did everything, precision isn’t something you should worry about.
How to Cut 4x4 Lumber With a Circular Saw at a 45-Degree Angle (Bevel Cut Method)
Another way to cut a 4×4 wood piece with a circular saw is through the beveling method. This specific technique includes cutting at a 45-degree angle. It’s a crucial method for projects that involves adjoining two pieces of materials.
Step #1: Adjust Blade Depth to Maximum
Step #2: Set the Bevel Angle
The angle is where everything is different. Because if you want to do beveling, you must set the circular saw’s angle at 45 degrees.
Step #3: Cut Each Side
After that, make your cut halfway through the wood’s thickness. And then, flip the uncut portion and let it face upward.
On the other side of the material, start another cut. It would be best if you guided the power saw until it reached halfway.
Step #4: Cut the Piece
Now that the partial cuts are interconnected in the middle, you can continue cutting through the entire diameter of the piece. If the material is too thick for your circular saw, there’s no shame in using a hacksaw to finish the task.
Best Circular Saw Blade Sizes for Trimming 4x4 Wood
You may not know, but the general rule of thumb in blade sizes implies that the unit can only cut one-third of its size. As I mentioned, models with 7 1/4 inch blades can only go up to 2.5 inches deep.
With that being said, the only blade size that can cut through 4×4 materials in a single pass is a 12-inch model. However, it’s also crucial to note that it means wider surface area and heavier weight. Besides that, not all circular saws can mount a blade that big.
Beam Saws for Cutting 4x4 Pieces
Big names in the industry, like Makita, introduced a unique kind of circular saw called the beam saw. I’ve worked with these, and they come equipped with substantial blades, around 16 3/16 inches.
They easily slice through 4×4 lumber. The trade-off, however, is that they’re notably heavier than your standard circular saw.
How do you cut a 4x4 fence post with a circular saw?
You can cut a 4×4 fence post with a circular saw by using a c-shaped guide. You can’t use a regular cut line because it will be trickier to reach certain areas. If you have no choice, you can also opt for a chainsaw.
Knowing what size of circular saw you need to cut 4×4 pieces is important to be a well-versed woodworker. Remember that as much as these tools have perks, they also have limitations.
If you want to be resourceful with your circular saw, it’s always a matter of utilizing and perfecting certain cutting techniques.
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