How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Table: Methods and Tips

A lot of professional and amateur carpenters frequently work outside their workshops, so they mostly use mobile devices. Obviously, it’s important for them to know how to use a circular saw without a table, because only a weirdo will bring a large and heavy table for a circular saw or another instrument to the job site. In this article, you’ll find useful information about techniques and safety measures for non-table circular saw usage.

Preparation and Saw Operation

Actually, there are 3 main techniques that I’ll describe in the article:

  • Freehand
  • With guides
  • With guides and clamps

Also, I will give you some safety recommendations, highlight a couple of nuances, and provide a short tutorial about how to make a DIY circular saw table.

What Do You Need Beforehand?

Good preparation is the guarantee of comfortable and quality work.

First of all, prepare your saw for the work. Adjust the height of the blade to the material width. Ideally, the depth of the cut should perfectly match the width of the wood (only if you don’t want to make a non-penetrating cut).

Make sure that the blade characteristics match the wood.

It’s impossible to cut aweigh clearly, so you need reliable support. First of all, make an imitation of the table using wood bars – just put the piece of material on it. The bars have to be placed at equal distances from each other and be the same size – everything has to be stable. Shifting and shaking are unacceptable. It’s better to set up the whole construction right on the ground because it’s more convenient than cutting on something.

However, you may get a cut with some defects, so it’s better to use a sawhorse or to cut on the top of a piece of Styrofoam building insulation. Styrofoam spreads the load and prevents a cut piece of wood from falling down. However, the foam plate is pretty big and has no space for clamping.

After preparing all the stuff according to the paragraph, pay attention to safety.

Safety Measures

Remember that cutting without a circular saw workbench may be dangerous for people that are new to saws. Also, don’t forget about the general safety measures while working with a saw.

Obviously, there are a bunch of safety rules that have to be respected:

  • Keep the saw shoe flat to the material;
  • Cut off only a smaller part of wood;
  • Do not make cuts between two clamps. It may lead to kickbacks, so cut off only a free piece of lumber;
  • Do not make curved cuts with circular saw.

Proceed with caution!

circular saw safety measures

Free Hand

The easiest and the most primitive method of cutting wood without a table. This one requires only:

  • Pencil;
  • Ruler;
  • Wood bars or foam insulation.

In this method, you use your hand as a clamp to avoid shifting.

If you use wood bars, a part that you cut has to be hanging up in the air. With a pencil and ruler, draw a line where you want to make a cut. Ideally, you should see the cutting blade clearly to make the cut even.

It’s pretty hard for beginners to make a clean kerf, so do not despair and continue trying. Don’t forget about safety!

Such a method is really fast and simple but provides a middle-quality cut (the quality still depends on the carpenter’s skills).

Also, it’s simply impossible to hold some large and thin pieces in a stable condition with only one hand.

Using a Guide

Making perfectly even cuts on large pieces without a guide is a pretty difficult task, even for professional carpenters. The reason is that it’s very hard to accurately follow the line on a large plywood piece. The solution is to install a guide.


  • Factory guide


  • 2 plywood pieces
  • Glue
  • Couple of bricks (optionally)


  • Pencil
  • Ruler

There are a lot of guides presented on the market by various manufacturers, but you can make one with just a piece of plywood. There are a bunch of different tutorials on YouTube and other websites explaining how to make simple and effective wood guides. In general, you need two thin plywood bars glued to each other, forming a one-side track for your saw shoe.

After installing, put some heavy thing on a guide, for example, a brick, to fix the position of a guide. Additionally, you should push it with your hand while making a cut. To avoid these problems, I recommend using a clamp.

Using a Guide With a Clamp

Shifting may appear while using a guide solely, so a clamp is highly suggested.


  • Factory clamp


  • Wood bars
  • Screws
  • Nuts

Again, the same situation as with a guide – you can make a DIY clamp or buy it.

I prefer using factory clamps and guides because these last longer, provide better accuracy and are more comfortable to use.

How to Make a Table for a Circular Saw?

Actually, you really don’t need a special table for a circular saw. The only thing that you need is to set up a bar construction, as I described in the “Beforehand” paragraph. Even more, I’d recommend using a sawhorse or the piece of foam as a support.

However, if you want to convert a circular saw into the table saw, check out the first question in the FAQ.


Let’s sum up some information from the article in a question-answer format.

How to make a circular saw into a table saw?

  1. Make 4 holes for screws in the saw shoe.
  2. Take a piece of wood and make a kerf for the blade here.
  3. Attach a saw to this piece of wood with screws carefully.
  4. Attach the whole construction to the prepared table carcass in reversed position (like on a table saw).
  5. Polish the surface.
  6. Now you can start using circular saw as table saw.

How do you use a circular saw on the floor?

It’s comfortable to work on the ground. I put a piece of Styrofoam building insulation under the wood and then cut it without any problems.

Another method is to use one or more wood bars of the same size. I put my piece of wood on top of the bars and then cut.

What is the difference between a table saw and a circular saw?

The table saw is motionless – you just operate with the materials. Technically, it’s a spinning blade protruding from the table.
In contrast, a circular saw is a mobile device – you operate the saw by hand.

Table Is Not the Necessity for Using a Circular Saw

As you can see, there are a bunch of methods of using a circular saw without a table. Furthermore, it’s comfortable for carpenters to work on the floor or on the sawhorse. So, there is no problem in the absence of a table for circular saw.
How do you use the circular saw? Do you have any useful tricks or tips? Write in the comments below.

Sean Chapman
Sean Chapman

“A good tool stays with you for many years and choosing carefully ensures the job is done right, your work is neat, and the tool is always a pleasure to use”

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