How To Rip A 2×4 With Circular Saw

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Tools like a jigsaw, a handsaw, and a table saw can be used to cut 2×4. However, a circular saw is the most efficient tool to cut wood swiftly and effectively. Its efficiency lies in the powerful rotating motion of its blades. Here’s a guide on how to rip a 2×4 with circular saw.

How To Rip A 2×4 With Circular Saw

Working with a circular saw might be complicated for beginners. However, if you understand the basics of this powerful tool, you’ll be able to finish projects faster with greater efficiency.

Step #1: Inspecting the Saw and the Blade

The most important part of the saw is the lower blade guard. It would help if you determined whether the various parts of the saw are functional, and the best way to do so is to observe its movement keenly.

The lower blade guard should snapback to its original position instantly as you let go and pulls back with no interruption.

Man holding a circular saw with saw dust flying in the air

This instant snapping ensures that the lower blade guard is working perfectly. If there is no such snapping, replacing the lower blade guard is recommended as it is an essential part of the circular saw.

Inspect the Power Source & Teeth

A circular saw usually operates on electricity. There are cordless circular saws available in the market. This type of saw requires you to check the level of the battery charge constantly.

Next, examine the teeth of the circular saw blade. Ensure that the teeth are sharp and that there is no presence of cracks anywhere in the entire saw. It is recommended to sharpen the blade before each use.

Step #2: Set the Blade Appropriately

Setting the saw’s blade requires you to put in the exact depth of the blade, which would determine the depth of cut made by the saw.

It is known that if you set the blade depth too deep, the risk of kickback increases greatly. A circular saw blade with more width makes your circular saw stick to the wood when cutting. Therefore, it does not produce the desirable cut.

The next problem that arises with a deeper saw blade is the risk of overexposure. Ideally, the lesser the exposure of the blade to the wood, the better would be the outcome.

Aim to expose the blade as minimally as possible. Ideally, the blade should be no more than ¼ of an inch below the wood. Setting your blade depth right will guarantee a smooth and straight cut.

Step #3: Clamp the Wood

Now, clamp the 2×4 wood. The cut made should not be more than ½ inch of the breadth of the wood. One hold-down clamp is required to hold the wood firmly while the cuts are being made. The single hold-down clamp is the best way to support the 2×4 wood from one side alone.

A sawhorse is an ideal substitute for a single hold-down clamp. The portion of the wood that you intend on cutting off must hang over the sawhorse freely. You must tightly clamp the other part of the wood to provide a smooth cut.

Circular saw ripping a 2x4 wood


Most beginners tend to clamp their wood from both sides. It is a very costly mistake as it can hamper the efficiency of the circular saw. You will observe the hold-down clamp falling slowly, and the circular saw will start resisting and recoiling while performing the cut. Avoid this at all costs.

If you’re in the market for a beginner circular saw, we have an article to help you pick.

Step #4: Cut Across a Straight Line

Mark the wood appropriately before starting the cutting operation. You can use a pencil and scale to do the appropriate marking.

It is a crucial step as it can help you make a straight cut. Swaying away from the mark results from shaky hands or the vibration caused by the circular saw, which destroys the smooth and fine cut required.

Using a protractor and a meter scale helps you mark a straight line on the 2×4 wood and is also beneficial while cross-cutting. 

Click here to see a video illustrating how to rip a 2×4 wood with a circular saw. Don’t miss out on any step if you desire the perfect outcome.

How To Prevent Kickback

You may come across a situation where the circular saw blade starts swinging away from you. If this happens, you must stop the cutting procedure immediately. Do not try to push the blade back on the line when it is running.

Switch off the power of the saw and wait for the blades to stop rotating.  Doing so will help you avoid any damage to the 2×4 or yourself. Bring back the blade to the marking done before.

Remove the saw from the wrong markings and readjust it to the correct place. You can now start the saw again.

The usage of speed square equipment is an alternative to this constant need for readjustment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Select the Best Blade for a Circular Saw?

Choosing the right blade for a circular saw depends on various factors like the blade’s biting power, tooth count, and arbor size. Biting power refers to the blade’s capacity to effortlessly pierce through the material without leaving any coarse edges.

Pile of 2x4 wood

Knowing the number of teeth in your blade will help you pick up the right piece for your requirement. Blades with a higher tooth count result in highly smooth cuts and vice-versa.

Lastly, identifying the saw’s arbor size is crucial for finding the right blade that fits perfectly.

What is the Best Saw to Cut 2X4?

There are several tools like jigsaws, handsaws, table saws, and more that can do the job of cutting a 2×4. A circular saw, however, is more efficient and effective than these tools.

It’s a considered part of every essential 2×4, plywood, or any wood cutting DIY toolkit. The reason behind this lies in the powerful rotating motion of the sharp blades of the circular saw.

But wait, there’s more. It’s pretty versatile and easily portable, so you can use it to cut different materials apart from wood. Circular saws can rip through a piece of metal. Thus, it can easily pull a 2×4 properly if you take the necessary precautions.


The steps mentioned above are necessary to make straight cuts on 2×4 wood using a circular saw. The main objective of using a powerful tool like a circular saw is to complete the project quickly.

It would be best to complete the procedure without any interruptions and take the best safety precautions.

A circular saw is a potent tool, but even a slight mistake can cost you the entire project. Before using the circular saw, you must understand its different parts and the steps involved in the cutting procedure.

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.