Why Does a Circular Saw Bind?

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Circular saws are very popular because they are handheld, portable, and easy to use. It’s a very efficient tool when used correctly. Like any other tool, it comes with its share of safety hazards, binding being one of them.

A circular saw bind results in a kickback, so it is crucial to understand the causes of binding in a circular saw and address them accordingly. So, why does a circular saw bind?

Why Does a Circular Saw Bind?

A circular saw binds because of failure to ensure proper blade depth; setting the blade too deep presents a danger because more blade surface is exposed while cutting than a properly set blade.

When the saw is too deep, kickback and binding will be inevitable. You should properly set the blade to eliminate any possible risks.

Let’s discuss the possible causes of binding in a circular saw.

Causes of Binding in a Circular Saw

Here are the most common causes of circular saw binding:

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  • Bowing of the circular saw guide
  • Cutting between supports
  • Type of blade used
  • Dull, broken, or warped blades
  • Number of teeth in the blade
  • Blade Setting
Man explaining why does a circular saw bind

Bowing of the Guide

The circular saw guide might be bowing as you cut wood. Bowing occurs when you put too much pressure on the guide. This not only skews the cut but causes binding as well.

Cutting Between Supports

Cutting between the supports causes a sag that pinches the saw blade, causing a kick and splinter to your wood.

Type of Blade

The kind of blade you are using can also cause binding in a circular saw. When you buy a circular saw, the kind that comes with the box is not always right for the type of cuts you want to do. Sometimes they warp as soon as you start cutting, resulting in binding. Get a blade designed for the kind of cuts you are making.

Dull Blade, Broken or Warped Blade

Dull blades result in binding, which leads to stalling and kickback. Warped and broken blades also cause binding.

Circular saw cutting wood

Number of Teeth in the Blade

An inadequate set of teeth provides poor clearance between the wood and the blade’s sides, causing binding.

Poor Setting of the Blade

Setting the blade deeper than it is required increases the size of the surface of the saw blade exposed. This may result in binding and an eventual kickback.

How to Prevent Binding in a Circular Saw

Do not cut between sawhorses; cut outside them. Let the shorter piece fall away first while the longer one remains supported between the horses. Here are some key ways to prevent binding:

  • Keep blades sharp: Sharp circular saw blades always find their way out of a pinching situation.
  • Keep saw blades clean: Sap or pitch build-up on the blade will increase its thickness. This will increase friction on the surface of the blade, which may result in binding.
  • Avoid pitchy and warped stock: This kind of stock causes pinching that results in binding and kickback.
  • Do not overheat the blade: Make sure the blade does not overheat since this may cause warping. Sap buildup on blades, dull blades, and unguided cuts may also cause the blade to overheat, resulting in kickback.
Man holding a circular saw

Below are other ways of preventing binding:

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  • Do not remove the circular saw from the cut when the blade is still rotating.
  • Release the switch immediately the saw stalls or binds.
  • Always hold the circular saw with both your hands to increase grip power.
  • You should guide the large stock to avoid pinching on the blade.
  • Place the saw shoe on the supported, clamped portion of the lumber to let the cut off piece fall freely.

Why Do Circular Saws Kickback?

Circular saws kickback when the blade suddenly binds in the wood and the saw gets forced back at you. To prevent circular saw kickback, make sure the blade will not bind in the wood. Move slowly through the cut, use a sharp blade, and don’t cut wood that is too thick for your blade.

Can You Turn a Circular Saw Into a Table Saw?

Both circular saws and table saws use a circular blade to cut through wood. With a proper guide, a circular saw can act as a table saw. However, a circular saw will never be able to replicate the accuracy and power that a table saw has.

Learn more about the similarities and differences in the table saw and circular saw.


A circular saw, when properly maintained, will do more good than harm. It has reliable performance and will help increase the woodworker’s mileage in woodwork projects.

You can move with it from one location to another, making it an even more suitable woodwork tool. We hope this post helps you understand circular saw binding and how you can ensure high safety levels as you operate the circular saw.

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.