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How to Use a Circular Saw (Step-by-step Guide)

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 16, 2024

Circular saw, undoubtedly, is one of the most important tools for carpenters and artisans at work. With the proper use of a circular saw, you could perform a variety of jobs – from the pinpoint cutting of wood boards to sophisticated, intricate cuts.

It is one of the most user-friendly toolkits that require minimum effort and experience. You set it up with accurate depth in the exact line, and the circular saw will do the rest for you. Although it is easy to use, you shouldn’t operate it without having the proper knowledge on how to use a circular saw.

It needs preparation, familiarization with the features of the specific model, and understanding the safety guidelines. Today, we are going to discuss the ins and outs of using a circular saw most conveniently.

Tips on How to Use a Circular Saw

How to Use a Circular Saw

Adjustment and Preparation

It is essential to give yourself some time to adjust to the model of the circular saw. Furthermore, familiarizing with the saw will help users to handle the tool better during operation.

Step 1: Brief Familiarity

There is a variety of circular saw available in the market, each with its distinctive features. They all are designed to accomplish different types of tasks. So, you should know the pros and cons of the model you are going to use.

It is advisable that you go through the user manual properly to realize the saw operation and user-function appropriately.

Step 2: Pick the Right Sized Blade

The diameter of the circular saw blade largely controls its performance and work type. So, pick the correct measurement of the edge that best fits your job requirements. Usually, 6-7 inches blades are used to cut standard timbers whereas, edges with 8-10 inches diameter effectively cuts the most solid woods.

Step 3: Ensure Safety

During sawing, it so happens that the projectile hits one’s eyes or fingers, unfortunately, slip into the circular saw blade. To avoid such unwanted and pathetic incident, you should always use safety goggles and wear gloves. Moreover, we suggest you use puncture-resistant boots for the safety of your legs.

Step 4: Marking the Work Material

Take a pencil or pen, and a measurement scale to draw straight lines on the wood or metal piece you are going to work with. Carefully measure the workpiece and mark on each of the points where you have to cut.

It will help if you prefer the rule of measuring twice before cutting once to get an accurate cut.

Step 5: Placement of the Workpiece

After you have marked the sawing points, place it on a saw table or above a sawhorse. However, the working material should be free from any obstacles and get proper support.

It will help the blade to cut through the material easily without getting dogged on the surface beneath the content.

Note: People prefer using an average flat floor for such works. It hurts the blade and reduces its performance. So, use either a saw table or sawhorse. Sawhorses are budget-friendly, so there’s no harm using them.

Step 6: Setting Up the Circular Saw Blade

The quality of your work will depend on the perfect placement of the blade in the right depth.

At first, pull the shoe lever towards the most downwards point located between the two handles. This allows the blade to move freely by disconnecting the main plate.

Now, put the baseplate near to the workpiece and adjust the blade to fit it just below your cutting material.

To adjust the blade, either lower or raise it against the material for adjustment.

Step 7: Adjusting the Pivoting Scale

You should find a small knob at the front end of the circular saw. Twist the knob counterclockwise, and the scale will be unlocked. Adjust the scale on the preset angle indicator or according to your preference by sliding it up or down.

Lastly, turn the knob clockwise to lock the scale.

Note: If you want to get beveled cuts, change the angle accordingly.

Beginning of the Actual Cuts

Preparing the circular saw is a vital section of using it properly. However, the real test begins at the time of making accurate and sharp cuts of the material. 

Positioning the Line

The baseplate has a small notch right in front of the edge on both sides. It indicates “0-degree” on the left side and “90-degree’ on the right side. For typical straight cuts, place the line of the baseplate in “0” corresponding the blade position at a 90-degree angle. 

For a beveled cut, place the baseplate notch at a 45-degree angle on the righthand side. 

Activating the Circular Saw Blade

You should find the trigger to pull the saw blade on the backward handle. Press it to activate your circular saw blade. Some manufacturers prefer placing the trigger on the front end, which requires flipping of the button to activate the saw blade. 

The activation instantly spins the blade, but it needs some time to get in the full flow. So, wait till the blade reaches the top speed. 

Tips: While holding the rear handle with your right hand, use the left-hand to stabilize the circular saw. For a lefthanded user, the process will be reversed. 

Pushing the Saw Along with The Material

Using your hands slowly and smoothly maneuver the saw to cut down the material. During the cutting, the right side of the baseplate should be aligned with the cut line. Many people try to force the saw for quick cuts; don’t ever do that. Instead, wait so that the circular saw blade cuts down the material without any jerking. 

Releasing the Trigger

As you complete one cutting with the circular saw blade, push the trigger to stop the circular saw blade. Then, place it on another cutting point and press the trigger to switch on the blade again. 

The little time in between the blade being released and switched on allows it to cool down a bit. 

Unplugging and Packing

Once you are done with your cutting work, unplug the circular saw from the power source (for corded ones) or press the power switch ‘off’ (for cordless ones). 

Then clean the saw blade, if possible, and pack it. 

Safety Tips

When you are using a circular saw, you should follow these safety rules– 

  • Always wear safety goggles and gloves.
  • Never put your finger on the trigger when you are not cutting materials.
  • Be careful so that your hand doesn’t go close to the blade during the cuts. 


The operation of a circular saw is fairly an easy one, but the result of it is terrific. Therefore, knowing the detail about how to use a circular saw will be a beneficial outcome for the most seasoned and amateur carpenters. In this case, our guideline will be an excellent asset for the carpenters and craftsmen alike. 

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