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How to Cut a 4×4 Post with a Circular Saw

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Circular saws are versatile and you can use them to cut a variety of materials. Although these saws are great for almost every situation, using them to cut big materials like a 4 x 4 post is not easy. Don’t worry, all you need is to learn how to cut a 4 x 4 post with a circular saw. 

How to Cut a 4 x 4 Post with a Circular Saw

Before you start learning how to cut a 4 x 4 post, remember to check if your blade is sharp enough and always stay safe. Once you’ve done with any preliminary checks, follow these steps:

Builder using a circular saw to cut a 4x4 post

Step One: Measure the Length You Plan to Cut Off

Measure the length you intend to cut and mark it using a speed square tool. Also, mark all the other sides of the 4 x 4 post while ensuring the lines meet at a right angle.

Step Two: Clamp the Saw Horses on a Set of Horses

Put the post on a pair of sawhorses and make sure the end you want to cut hangs freely on the other side. Now, clamp it to the sawhorses using a bar clamp. If you don’t have it, you can ask your friend to help you hold the workpiece firmly across the sawhorse.

Step Three: Adjust the Saw’s Sole Plate

Adjust the soleplate to the deepest setting. Once you’re done, loosen the sole plate’s thumbscrew and push it toward the saw until when it stops. After it has stopped, tighten the thumbscrew.

Step Four: Plug the Saw’s Cord into a Socket

Plug the power cord of your circular saw into a socket then start sawing on one side of the post at the cut line using your saw. Once you complete the first cut, turn over the post to the other side. Then, saw at the cut line as you did on the first side. Repeat the process until you have cut all the four sides.

Or, you could opt to use a high powered cordless circular saw instead.

One final note – this guide shows you how to cross cut a 4×4 post. If you want help on rip cutting with a circular saw, we have a guide here.

Types of Circular Saw Blades and Their Uses

There are different types of circular saw blades available and each is great for a specific application. If you’re wondering which blade to use for your project, we have useful information that will help you know more about circular saw blades. 

Masonry Blades

There are two types of masonry blades available. The first version is designed for cutting tough materials such as marble, concrete, and granite. The other version can be used on softer materials such as ceramic tile and bricks. Masonry cutting blades are toothless and consist of silicon carbide reinforced with fiberglass.

A wall made out white bricks

Wood Blades

Woodcutting blades are available in different types. However, their main difference is their quality of cut and they fall into two main categories: 

  • Construction Blades: These blades have more teeth, typically forty or more that result in a fine cut. If you do not want a smooth cut, you can opt for blades with teeth between 20 and forty, which are ideal for basic carpentry work. The teeth on these blades have deep gullets that remove sawdust and wood chips effortlessly.
  • Plywood Blades: These blades have several small teeth up to 160 per blade and are built with high-speed steel. Due to the small number of teeth, they usually produce a small amount of sawdust while the cut is cleaner. The blade also cuts straighter because of much of the blade coming into contact with the material. You can also use plywood blades to cut laminate.

Metal Blades

Metal cutting blades come with heat expansion slots integrated into the blade to dissipate the heat usually generated when cutting metal. Like the masonry blades, they are also toothless. 

With a metal cutting blade, you can cut aluminum siding, aluminum flashing, copper tubing including non-ferrous and ferrous metals like bronze and brass.

Acrylic Sheet Blades

Although some plywood blades are perfect for cutting acrylic panels, the outcome is usually unsatisfactory. So, the best thing you can do is to use a circular saw that is designed with a fine blade. 

You can achieve straight cuts using a saw with a fine blade, especially if you clamp in place the straight edge guide workpiece and the panel. 

Three circular saw blades

Plastic Blades

Blades with many teeth are designed to cut soft, non-ferrous metals and different types of plastic materials. This means you can use a wood blade with more than forty teeth to cut plastic pipe. However, you need to consider how fast the blade cuts. 

Keep in mind that the slower the speed, the better. However, if you try to force the blade quickly into the pipe, it can chip along the cut line, or kick back towards your direction due to getting stuck in the pipe. So, to avoid all these problems, feed the blade slowly and carefully into the pipe.

Features to Look for When Buying a Circular Saw

Before buying your circular saw, there are factors you need to consider to ensure you get the right saw for your project and needs. These are the essential features you need to check while comparing different models:

Shoe Plate

This is the part that gets affected most of the time whenever you drop your saw. The part guides your saw along with the board while you make a cut. Due to this, you should ensure the saw you pick has a sturdy shoe plate to prevent it from bending in case you drop your saw accidentally. 

Shoe Plate Material

Another thing that is worth paying attention to is the material used to design the shoe plate. Some shoe plates use cast aluminum or magnesium while others use stamped aluminum.

However, the cast aluminum or magnesium shoe plates are very robust and solid. They also don’t bend easily. 

On the flip side, their stamped aluminum counterparts bend easily when you drop your saw mistakenly. You should also avoid applying a lot of pressure on such shoe plates as it can make them bend.

Circular saw cutting wood

Precision

This is another important feature that you should check as it will allow you to cut straight every time you make cuts. To achieve this, you need to have quality saw blades. So, you should get a good blade that is compatible with your saw to get accurate cuts.

Since some saws don’t come with quality blades, test your blade after it has been delivered. If it is not cutting as accurately as you desire, consider looking for a good blade.

It’s also important to mention that different blades cut different materials as we have mentioned above. So, consider this before buying the blade.

Bevel and Depth Adjustments

Circular saws feature levers to help you adjust the bevel and depth of your saw. There are also levers to enable you to control the blade guard. Make sure the levers are large enough to allow you to make the adjustments easily. 

Small levers will give you a difficult time when making bevel and depth adjustments. Moreover, the bevel and depth scale should either be cast or engraved on the saw to make reading easy.

Blade Visibility

It’s crucial that you see the blade before making the cut. This will enable you to direct the saw easily along the mark. So, you should go for circular saws that come with a window or crevice between the blade and auxiliary handle to help you see the blade line clearly from the top position.

Conclusion

If you are a beginner woodworker planning to cut a 4 x 4 post using a circular saw with no prior experience, use this guide to help you master the process without any difficulties. Remember, when cutting these posts, use a sharp blade to achieve finer cuts. 

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.