How To Cut Plywood With Circular Saw

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Cutting plywood isn’t a task limited to construction workers and carpenters. Everyone may need to cut a piece of plywood sometime to fix something. In the following article, we have brought you a complete DIY guide to learn how to cut plywood with a circular saw easily.

How To Cut Plywood With Circular Saw

Let us understand step-by-step how to cut through plywood using a circular saw:

Step #1: Gather the Tools and Position the Plywood

Prepare yourself for the process by getting a working circular saw, safety glasses, measuring tape, and a pencil for marking.

Place the plywood piece on the working table with the finished side facing downward for minimal bursting. Make sure that the panel has sufficient support and leave ample space for the material that’s cut to fall free.

Drawer full of pencils

Though a professional carpenter uses posts to hold the sheet steady, you can use a piece of rigid foam insulation.

You need to put the foam down on the work table and place a plywood sheet over it.

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Step #2: Use a Pencil to Mark the Wood

Align to the cut with the help of a measuring tape and use a pencil to make a mark. Now, take a ruler and draw a straight line across the plywood. If the ruler is not long enough, you can use a chalk box to mark the cut line.

It is a good practice to use a utility knife to score the marked line before cutting. Run the knife several times to make the marking strong.

A thumb rule of cutting plywood is ‘measure twice for every cut.’ It is common to make a mistake or misalign your saw while cutting. This will help you avoid errors.

Furthermore, if you are using a circular saw for the first time, it is better to get used to it by practicing on small pieces of wood. Practice makes perfect!

Warning!

Make sure that your hands are dry and the handle of the circular saw isn’t slippery. Otherwise, you will end up making a zigzag cut and might even cause an accident.

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Step #3: Choose the Right Blade for Cutting the Plywood

The “one size fits all” rule doesn’t apply to the blades for cutting plywood. There are various types of blades available for cutting different materials with a circular saw.

For cutting plywood smoothly, you need to choose the one with a high number of carbide teeth.

The saw manufacturers provide regular blades with a circular saw, but they often result in semi-finished jobs with loads of wood chips. 

Man holding a circular saw

Step #4: Adjust the Circular Saw Blade Properly

It is essential to adjust the blade of the circular saw to the proper depth before starting the cut. You can change the blade depth using the adjustment lever on the circular saw. 

Loosen the base of the saw by pulling the lever. When the depth of the blade is slightly lower than the thickness of the wood, tighten the lever to fix the base in place.

Step #5: Prepare the Wood for Cutting

If you have softwood ply, then you can easily cut through it using a circular saw. However, hardwood particularly needs a blade guide to be cut through.

There’s no doubt that you will end up splintering, or come out with a wavy edge if you try a freehand cut, as most of the time, the vibrations get the best of inexperienced users.

Therefore, it is advisable to have a steel line as a guide to make the job neater and more manageable.

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Warning

If you’re right-handed, firmly hold the steel line with your left hand and cut while holding the saw with your right hand using a solid grip, and proceed the cut outwards from your body. Hold the line with your right hand and cut with your left if you’re left-handed. Keeping the saw in that manner ensures that you don’t cut yourself.

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Step #6: Use the Circular Saw to Cut the Plywood

Hold the circular saw firmly without touching the trigger. Align the front of the sole with the cut line, ensuring that the teeth aren’t in contact with the plywood yet.

Switch on the saw and slowly lower the blade into the plywood and align with the guide notch as you move ahead through the cut.

Continue pushing the saw forward in a smooth and continuous motion, maintaining a good grip throughout the cut. Do not switch off the saw till the blade emerges from the other side of the plywood.

Here’s a video guide to help you use the circular saw to cut through the plywood sheets efficiently and safely.

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Man holding a circular saw

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Necessary to Wear Safety Glasses While Cutting Plywood Sheets Using a Circular Saw?

Yes, it is necessary to wear them because small wooden chips may get into your eyes while operating the saw. This precautionary measure prevents minute dust particles and fragments from entering your eyes.

Why is it Required to Support the Plywood While Cutting it?

The plywood may slide down on your workbench, and it can lead to injuries or an angular cut on the sheet. Always make sure that the plywood sheet has ample support, and it doesn’t slide down the workbench.

What Should be the Ideal Blade Depth?

You should always keep the blade depth more than 0.5 cm greater than the wood’s thickness.

Where Should I Stand While Using the Circular Saw?

Recoil is always expected due to saw action, so it’s better to position yourself on the side of the circular saw line. Also, don’t stand just behind the saw line, as you may initially not be aware of the magnitude of recoil.

Conclusion

By using a circular saw, you can cut plywood sheets of any shape. However, they are frequently used for obtaining rectangular sections.

Due to its high rotational speed, you may not be able to get an even cut, but you can always use a sander to smoothen the edges afterward.

There are many activities where you may need to cut a plywood sheet—for example, a temporary wooden partition, new tabletops, school projects, repairing wooden cabinets, etc.

Now that you know to cut the plywood sheets using a circular saw, you no longer need to call a carpenter.

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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.