How to Cut an Angle with a Circular Saw for Precise Cuts

A regular circular saw might not be the first tool you think about when someone mentions angled cuts. However, cutting wood at an angle is quite possible even with this basic saw type that can be found in most workshops.

This article contains advice on how to cut an angle with a circular saw. It also covers common issues such as ensuring precision when doing so and preventing inconvenience related to the tool’s design. See the FAQ section in case any of your questions remain uncovered.

Guide to Making Angled Cuts with a Circular Saw

circular saw makes angle cut

Cutting angles with a circular saw is a valid approach. You can easily use your tool for rough cuts and finish those later or use additional measuring tools to ensure the right angle initially. Drawing a guiding line is a popular method that works well in most settings.

Tools That You Need

This section contains general information on how you can make a perfect bevel cut with a circular saw and which measures you need to take when doing so to avoid injury. Inside, you’ll also find helpful tips from my experience that will help you achieve a good degree of accuracy.

First, I’d like to focus on the equipment you’ll need to carry out the operation successfully. Here’s the list in case you want it in a nutshell:

  • a circular saw;
  • personal protective equipment;
  • a workstation or a table/form surface where you can safely do the sawing;
  • a marking tool (a pencil will do);
  • straight edge clamps;
  • sandpaper;
  • a protractor or, optionally, an angle guide for a circular saw.

Now I suggest that we dwell on certain items to make sure you get the right tools for your mission.

Circular saws are very common and come in a variety of shapes and dimensions. Most of them are generic, highly versatile tools that you can use in a variety of settings, including bigger stationary models and portable ones, historically known as Skil saws after the name of the first manufacturer who made one.

As for the workstation, this should depend on which work stock you prefer to process. Sawhorses typically work great with longer lumber, offering excellent support and a lot of room for maneuver.

Safety Tips

I know I might sound pretty boring now, but there’s no skipping this part. Knowing how to cut a 60-degree angle with a circular saw is cool, but it doesn’t mean the knowledge will protect you from injuries. I mean, just make sure you don’t ignore the recommendations when making a fancy angled cut:

  1. If you use a portable circular saw, make sure it has a guard on. Statistically, a considerable share of saw injuries is due to missing protective devices.
  2. Remember to wear protective goggles or a face shield. It’s also a good idea to protect your ears with earplugs.
  3. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry such as necklaces when sawing anything. Do up your hair if it’s long.
  4. Always wait for the blade to start rotating at full speed before you lower it into the material. This will aid your precision, too.
  5. Don’t let your kids play around when you are making cuts with a circular saw. The same applies to pets. Overall, try to minimize distractions for yourself and risks for those around you.
  6. Don’t work in dimly lit places.
  7. Avoid cramped areas where you can’t move freely.
  8. Never touch the blade until you disconnect the power supply.
  9. Be sure to use clamps whenever you are using a circular saw to make angled cuts. This way, both your hands will be free. Single-handed operation is both uncomfortable and unsafe in such situations.

Instructions on How to Cut an Angle with a Circular Saw

plywood cut by circular saw

Here are the steps to take when doing a specific kind of angled cut with your circular saw. The first stage is always to clamp the stock around the middle and one of the ends.

Rough cuts

Rough cuts are easy to make because they don’t require cutting depth adjustment. Just set the angle you need on the saw or use the protractor and marking tool to draw the cutline and cut along it. You can then use a rasp or sandpaper to finish the cut.

Clean cuts

For cleaner cuts, follow the procedure above. Before you start cutting, however, it’s important that you adjust the cutting depth so that the blade barely protrudes below the down surface of the work stock. Additionally, avoid moving too quickly; a cutting speed that’s too high can ruin a cut.

45-degree cuts

Most saws come with an angle-adjustment where you can select 45 degrees for an accurate angle. You’ll need to loosen the screw situated near the angle guide after clamping the stock. Choose the position corresponding to the 45-degree mark and follow the usual procedure.

60-degree cuts

A typical circular saw won’t let you set the blade to 60 degrees. Here, the procedure is as follows:

  1. Follow the process described above but set the blade to 30 degrees. A protractor will be very helpful.
  2. When done, do the same against the freshly cut surface and cut at 30 degrees again. The total angle will amount to 60 degrees.

circular saw making 60 degree cut

Frequently Asked Questions

In this part of the article, I’ll answer questions about using a circular saw to make angled cuts. I’ll refer to the main body at some points where you might need more details on a subject discussed above.

Besides, remember you’re always welcome to ask questions in the comments. Any contribution like shared opinions and experience is much appreciated, too.

How to verify the angle on a circular saw for bevel cut?

A simple solution to this problem is using a protractor. This is a very common tool that’s also affordable. Using it, you can draw a line to mark the angle you’re going to cut and then perform the actual cutting.

Alternatively, consider using an angle guide, also known as an angle assist. This is a multipurpose tool that enables you to mark and measure angles before cutting. It’s not common for saws to come complete with one, though.

How to cut a 4×4 post at an angle with a circular saw?

The key problem with it is that you’ll need to make two cuts to cut to the depth you require with a standard diameter circular saw. You can do it by marking the cut line through the first half of the post, cutting it, and then rotating it to cut through the second half. Unfortunately, this method is not suitable for precise cuts.

Alternatively, you can make a C-shaped jig using three pieces of scrap plywood. This will cradle the post as you cut. Remember to use clamps to attach it tightly to the workpiece, aligning the cradle with a line accounting for the distance between the blade and the saw’s fence.

What bevel angle on a circular saw do you need to make a straight cut?

You need to set the bevel angle to zero. Here’s a bonus pro tip: try using a straight edge to guide your saw when making long straight cuts. You can also use a level as an alternative.

Can a circular saw make miter cuts?

Miter cuts are very much like bevel cuts except they are done against the side, not the main surface. You can use your circular saw to make such cuts, but they won’t be as precise as those made with a specialized saw, especially if you choose an angle that differs from the standard 45 degrees (see above to find out how to cut a 45-degree angle with a circular saw). This can still be viable because miter saws are only suitable for crosscuts and won’t cut along the grain.

Can you make a bevel cut with a circular saw?

The short answer is yes, you can. You’ll need clamps so that your both hands are free while doing it, and remember to use a straight edge to guide the saw and prevent slipping. Angle adjustment within a range of 0 to 45 degrees is possible with most circular saws.

Also read:

Sometimes There’s No Need to Buy a Miter Saw

Specialized tools are cool. I do believe versatility is a valuable quality in a saw, though, so why not use your standard circular saw to make a couple of angled cuts?

Whether you opt for a rough cut you’ll finish later and go for a precise angle, don’t be daunted. Grab the necessary tools and try your hand at it!

Do you have any experience cutting at an angle with a circular saw? Did you enjoy it? Tell us in the comments.

My ultimate goal is to provide insights that will help you effectively determine whether this or that tool or product suits your needs/budget or not. I test out home improvement tools at work on a daily basis and enjoy sharing my knowledge with D.I.Y-ers who have similar questions to the ones I used to have. I realize how important choosing the right tools is, that’s why my approach to every review I publish is very responsible.

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