How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Table

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Circular saws are very popular and useful tools often used by carpenters and other workers for cutting various materials like acrylic sheets, plexiglass, countertops, etc. In this article, we tell you how to use a circular saw without a table.

How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Table

There are primarily two methods to use a circular saw without a table, but both require taking some common safety measures. Not abiding by the safety measures is a common cause for injuries.

Safety Measures

  • The circular saw should be in perfect condition. Tighten any loose parts and ensure that there are no naked wires.
  • If any changes are to be made to the blades, make sure to properly de-energize the circular saw before starting with the process.
  • Test if the blades are sharp enough by making some sample cuts.
  • Wear proper safety gear, which includes glasses, gloves, and ear-guards.
  • Keep electric cords away from the area of work.
  • Ensure you have someone to assist while using a circular saw and always operate it using both your hands.
Hand holding a circular saw blade
  • Stand on one side of the circular saw to protect you from potential kickbacks.
  • Any kind of jewelry or loose clothing that might get stuck in the circular saw should be tied back carefully.
  • There should be enough space for the circular saw to move freely between the open and close positions.
  • Prepare a stable position for the material to be cut and ensure that the blade is 1/8 inches thicker than the material.
  • Hold on to the saw once you have begun cutting till the saw has stopped spinning.
  • Keep children away from the work area as circular saws can cause serious injuries.

Method #1: Pressure-Treated Plywood

This is the easiest method of using a circular saw without using a table.

Tools Required

  • Pressure-treated plywood or some wood with high moisture content
  • Wood pencil or some marker
  • Clamps
  • Safety gear
  • Foam board (optional)
  • Sawhorse

Step 1: Use Smooth Blades

In this method, you need to use pressure-treated plywood or any other kind of wood that is rich in moisture content.

Special types of circular saws are best suited for this process that comes with a special non-stick covering, reducing friction and making the process smooth.

Step 2: Fit the Saw in an Edge Guide

Edge guides are essential because they move along the sides of the plywood and ensure that the cut is even between two points.

Therefore fit your circular saw firmly into the edge guide before proceeding so that the cuts are uniform, smooth, and there are a minimum number of jerks.

Step 3: The Depth of the Blade Needs to be Set

Ensure that the depth of the circular saw blade is perfectly suited for the chosen material to be cut, to avoid binding. The saw must be able to just go through the material.

Usually, the depth of the blade should be about 0.25 inches when the material to be cut using the circular saw is wood.

Step 4: Use a Sawhorse

The number of sawhorses you will require depends on the material to be cut, its size, and its length. For small wooden chunks, a single saw horse will be sufficient.

Broader and longer pieces of wood require two or more sawhorses. Place the marked area of the material to be cut between the sawhorses.

To be able to cut in any desired direction, place the leftover pieces of wood on top of the sawhorse. Use the right circular saws for gaining higher precision.

 Step 5: Use Foam Boards

A foam board is usually needed to cut wider material like plywood and is placed on the floor. Depending on the material and its size, you have to decide the number of foam boards needed. 

Foam boards have varying thicknesses, and you must choose one that is thicker than the cutting depth of the blade. This ensures that the saw does not cut into the floor or under the material.

Close up of a circular saw

Method #2: Use a Saw Track

A saw track can be used to cut using a circular saw without a table. You can make your saw track or buy one from the market.

Tools Required

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Combination square
  • A chalk line
  • Wooden screws
  • A drill with a countersink bit
  • A regular drill
  • Edge guide

Step 1: Make the Saw Track

Take two boards (preferably straight ones). The smaller board is to be two and a half inches wide, and the larger is to be a foot wide and three-fourths of an inch thick.

Depending on the base of your circular saw, cut the larger board at about four to four and a half inches wide. The smaller piece of wood should cover the outside line area. 

Make the wood stable using clamps on the vertical edge. If it is still unstable, use the countersink drill to make a hole and put some screws through it.

Step 2: Set the Larger Board

Fix the large board forcefully on the table with clamps. Make a plunge cut and place the saw base adjacent to the smaller board.

The rest of the large board is to be cut off. The horizontal end of the material to be cut will be a reference for the smaller board, and the blade should start from there.

Step 3: Cut the Material

Before beginning the cutting process, make all markings. Do all markings carefully and with great precision to avoid any kind of errors or mismatches.

Fit the circular saw with an edge guide. Set the blade accurately so that it goes through the wood without cutting the under the surface.

Begin to cut along the lines already marked and do it smoothly to avoid any rough edges. This video will help you understand the process better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Substitute a Table Saw With a Circular Saw?

If you do not have a table saw, you could use a circular saw with a track or any other guide to cut wider boards. If finesse is not important, a jigsaw can do the trick.

How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Sawhorse?

A sawhorse is a handy tool that provides stability to the saw. In the absence of a sawhorse, you can use foam boards or a saw track.

Conclusion

A circular saw is a very handy tool. It may seem impossible to use it without a table, but having proper knowledge of alternatives to use can make your life easier and less complicated.

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.