How to Cut Thick Wood With a Circular Saw

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Circular saws are powerful tools used for every kind of woodwork. While aesthetic items are designed with thin wood, some items need to be crafted out of thicker wood. This article tells you how to cut thick wood with a circular saw.

How to Cut Thick Wood With a Circular Saw

Learning the correct technique can make it easy.

Tools Required

  • A circular saw
  • A stable workstation
  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil or any marker for marking
  • A square
  • A safety gear
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper
Saw dust flying off a circular saw

Safety Measures

  • Since you are dealing with thick wood, you have to wear a pair of gloves for protection and a firm grip, glasses for the eyes, and ear guards.
  • Be sure to establish a firm base on which you rest the thick wooden piece before cutting. This is imperative for proper finishing.
  • Keep the saw away from any electric connections. All the parts of the saw should be functional and tightly attached for a smooth cut.
  • After the cutting process, remove all the sawdust from the blades so that it doesn’t hamper future cutting processes.
  • There should be enough space for the saw to move between open and closed positions. Stand in a position to protect yourself from potential kickbacks.
  • Hold the saw with both hands, and do not leave the saw till the blades have stopped moving.
  • Keep children away from the work area.

Step #1: Choose the Correct Saw

Choosing the right saw is very important to be able to cut through thick wood properly. Several things need to be kept in mind while selecting the right saw.

Right-Handed or Left-Handed Saw

Depending on your dominant hand, choose a saw that is right-handed or left-handed. A right-handed saw has its blade on the right, and a left-handed saw on its left.

It is recommended to keep your non-dominant hand on the auxiliary handle for stability. The dominant hand is near the trigger or power button.

Battery Powered or Corded Saws

Battery-powered saws do not require a power connection. Therefore if you do not have a plug near your workstation, you can use a battery-powered saw.

If you need to work continuously for a long time, you need to go for corded saws. This requires more space, and you should ensure you have the same.

Learn How Your Saw Works

Before beginning with the actual cutting process, be sure where the saw has its power button and other handles.

The footplate should be placed on wood so that it can provide stability during usage. The bolt is used to keep the blade in position. There is a safety guard that protects the blade.

Close up of man holding a circular saw

This guard also protects the user while cutting the blade. If you need to make angular cuts, you have to use the bevel adjustment lever.

This eBook can help you understand your tool better.

Step #2: Take Proper Measurements

Use a pencil or marker to draw lines according to which you want to cut your wood. This is essential to get a proper cut and also to avoid wastage.

When you begin with the cutting process, the saw must be in line with the markings. Thus if the markings go wrong, your cutting will be imperfect.

You should use proper saw guides, which include a speed square. The blade’s offset should also be appropriately measured to allow for some errors that might occur.

Step #3: Make A Steady Set-Up

To ensure your cut is perfect and to avoid injuries, you need a stable base to work with. Clamp one side of the wood and place the other end on a table.

Not using a clamp can lead to kickbacks which can cause unusual bindings, or jerks. If this kind of situation arises, turn off the saw by pressing its trigger.

If you do not have a table or a work bench, you can place the wood on the floor and use foam boards. Provide proper stability to the section of the wood being cut off.

Step #4: Adjust Your Blades Depth

Generally, the blade of a circular saw can cut wood of thickness up to 2.5 inches. Depending on the thickness of the wood being cut, you need to change your blade’s depth.

Since your wood is thick, ensure you are using Carbon-tipped blades. Use a crosscut blade for smoother cuts and rip blades for grain cuts.

If you need a very deep cut, use a bigger blade. Make sure the teeth of the blade are sharp. Make some practice cuts to test the quality of the blade.

This linked article will tell you about the properties of various kinds of wood.

Step #5: Cut the Wood

After all, set up is complete and safety gear is worn, begin with the cutting process. Align the notch of the saw along the guiding lines drawn to ensure you cut along them.

Thick pieces of wood

Press the trigger to start rotating the blades of the saw. Do not place the saw on the wood before the blade starts rotating in its full capacity.

Stand at the side of the saw to get a proper view of the markings unless you have some other guide. To make a bevel cut, use the second notch for adjusting the saw.

Since the wood is thick, cut a quarter of it at a time. In this manner, complete cutting along with the entire thickness. This ensures the smoothness of the cut.

Step #6: Finish the Cut

Once you have completed cutting the wood on one side, you must flip it over to the other side. Then, you must flip the piece of wood over and cut it from the other side to split it in half.

Make sure not to release the saw till the blade has stopped rotating. Use a larger amount of coolants throughout the process.

On releasing the trigger, the guard case of the circular saw will recoil back to its original position to protect the circular saw.

To add finesse to the woodcut, you can use sandpaper of coarse and then fine grit. This will improve the appearance of your wood.

Step #7: Maintain the Saw Properly

After the entire cutting process is over, turn off the supply of the circular saw. Clean the blade properly to remove any accumulated sawdust.

Dry the blades properly and clean them using a towel. Take special care while cleaning the teeth so that you don’t damage them or hurt yourself.

Once the saw is properly cleaned, keep it in a safe place and beyond the reach of children. It is recommended to build a cabinet exclusively for your saw.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Does a Circular Saw Burn the Wood?

If the circular saw you are using is burning the wood, it means there is some problem with the blade. Try and change the blade to a new one, which should solve the problem. Preferably, use a blade that is thicker to avoid the problem in the future.

Is it Safe to Cut Thick Wood Using a Circular Saw?

Provided you have the right blade and proper safety techniques, you can use a circular saw to cut thick wood. You need to move the blade through the wood very slowly to prevent the circular saw from locking up.


The thick wood is often used in material that needs to be durable. Thick is a little more difficult to handle compared to its thinner counterparts. However, proper knowledge and adequate practice will enable you to cut and use thick timber on your own.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.