How to Cut Wood at an Angle with a Circular Saw

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A circular saw is a multi-purpose tool that can be used for cutting many kinds of material, primarily wood. It is not only used for obtaining straight cuts but also to obtain cuts at different angles. We will cover this aspect of using a circular saw in this article.

How to Cut Wood at an Angle with a Circular Saw

Cutting wood at an angle is not very difficult but doing so with a circular saw requires proper training and practice.

Tools Required

  • Circular saw
  • Safety gear including glasses, gloves, and ear-guards
  • A table or suitable work-station
  • Pencil or marker for marking
  • Measuring tape
  • Clamps
  • Protractor
  • Sandpaper

Safety Measures

Irrespective of the cut you decide to do, you must take certain safety measures to avoid injuries. This article elaborates more on safety measures.

  • The circular saw should be in proper working condition. All moving parts must be firmly attached, and there should be no exposed electric wires.
  • If the blade of the saw is to be changed, do so after removing all the electric supplies. The circular saw should be completely de-energized before beginning.
  • Make sure you are wearing proper safety gear, which must include a helmet, a pair of gloves, and ear-guards.
  • The sharpness of the blades should be tested by making some sample cuts. There shouldn’t be any electric cables in the work area.
  • All loose clothing, jewelry, and any material that might get stuck in the blade should be properly tied back.
  • The circular saw should have enough space to move freely between the open and closed positions. Stand in a place so that you can avoid any kind of kick-back.
  • Make sure to begin cutting only after reaching a stable position. Do not leave the saw till the blades have stopped moving after you have started cutting.
  • Keep children away from the work area to avoid any injuries due to casualness.

Method #1: Clean Cuts

This is the most desired of cuts as most modern furniture requires that extra amount of finesse.

Step 1: Blade Depth is to be Set

The first step in the cutting process involves adjusting the depth of the blade. Remove the saw from power connections to begin the adjustment process.

The blade must extend to a quarter of an inch under the board over which the material to be cut is placed.

Make sure you adjust the blade depth appropriately before each new cut to avoid binding, and ensure the desired smoothness and finesse.

Step 2: Take Proper Measurements

After placing the board correctly, start by drawing guiding lines to assist you in the process of cutting.

When the measurements are taken, lock the blades in the measured positions. After this, carefully align the saw’s blade along the marked guiding lines.

Step 3: Cut the Wood

Once the alignment is complete, begin the cutting process by turning on the circular saw. Hold on to the saw tightly and establish a firm grip.

The highest amount of effort is needed at the beginning to overcome the hardness of the wood. Don’t leave the saw till its blades stop moving.

To ensure a smooth cut, the proper alignment between the guiding line and the blade is imperative throughout the process.

Method #2: Rough Cuts

Certain wooden items are not meant for display, and thus they require lesser amounts of perfection. Rough cuts are useful in this kind of a situation as it requires less time and effort.

All measurements need to be taken perfectly as these cuts are used on items that give internal stability to furniture.

However, instead of using a work-station, rough cuts can be done using a free hand, and alignments can be approximated to get the desired angles.

Method #3: 45 Degree Cuts

Situations arise where you might need to cut the wood with more precision to make it aesthetically pleasing and displayable. 45-degree cuts come in handy in this kind of situation.

Step 1: Prepare the Base of the Saw

Begin by using your protractor to draw guiding lines at the perfect 45-degree angle. Now hold the base plate carefully so that it does attach to the board.

Circular saw on top of wood

Step 2: Fix the Board Firmly

Keeping the board fixed so that it gets stability during the cutting process is of prime importance. You can hold the board firmly with your hand itself.

If you find using both hands difficult, you can use a sawhorse. Just clamp the board with means of nails to a sawhorse so that it doesn’t move.

Step 3: Begin to Cut

Carefully align the bevel of your circular saw along the guiding lines drawn. Your circular saw should be slightly tilted at an angle so that you don’t diverge from the guiding lines.

Proper guide material for the circular saw is necessary, and you can use a speed square for this purpose.

This article has more details on bevel cuts.

Step 4: Smooth the Edges

After getting the 45-degree cut, you may see some rough edges or uncut pieces of wood attached to the cut end.

Use sandpaper to smoothen the rough edges. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and then move towards finer grits depending upon your requirement.

Method #4: 60 Degree Cuts

These kinds of cuts are used when the highest amount of precision is required. It is used for decorative items that are a delight for the eyes and require high finesse.

Step 1: Make Markings

To cut 60 degrees, you should not begin by measuring 60 degrees directly. Instead, measure 30 degrees with your protractor twice.

This is done to allow more margin of error. If a 60- degree cut goes wrong, there is a lot of wood that might be wasted. Hence two 30 degrees are preferred.

Step 2: Cut the Wood

Be careful with each of the 30-degree cuts. Place your saw carefully at the base of the guiding lines and ensure the system is stable.

Cut along the first 30-degree line from one end to the other. When cutting the other 30-degree traverse the reverse for gaining uniformity and momentum.

After the first 30-degree cut, adjust the bevel of the saw to a default position to make a 90-degree cut, and then proceed with the next step.

Step 3: Add Finesse

These cuts require a lot of finesse and therefore ensure to smoothen up all the edges. Use coarse and fine sandpaper till perfect smoothness is reached.

This video will help you understand the process better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Cut Trim with a Circular Saw?

A circular saw can be used to cut trim, but it requires proper practice. Trim needs to be cut perfectly square, and a circular saw isn’t the most accurate saw. You will need a speed square for the process to ensure your cuts are precise.

What is a Pocket Cut?

Pocket cuts are small cuts of no more than a quarter of an inch. It is used when straight-edged holes are needed in the workpiece.


Wooden items are often used to increase the aesthetic value of any construction. A circular saw can be used for a large number of precision cuts on wood, and knowing how to do so can make you self-sufficient when it comes to decorating your house.

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.