What Is The Purpose Of a Circular Saw? (Explained For Beginners)

A circular saw is important woodworking equipment that no hobbyist or professional woodworker can do without. So, as a woodworker, you may have asked yourself, “what is the function of a circular saw?”

A circular saw works similarly to a table saw, except that instead of feeding wood through the machine, you pass the machine through the stationary piece or board. A circular saw may be used to make freehand cuts, although they will be straighter if done with a “fence” or a “guide.”

Let’s look at all of the different ways you may utilize a circular saw after we’ve established what one is.

The 5 Cuts You Can Do With A Circular Saw

The circular saw is the most important handheld power tool to have. If you don’t own a table saw or have restricted space, it’s an excellent piece of equipment for woodworking projects.

Since it is a portable tool, you may use it to construct woodworking projects anywhere, even on your driveway, patio, or in your home’s balcony. Here are some examples of how the circular saw is used.

1. Cutting Through Big Sized Timber In Sawmills

Circular saws have previously been used to cut through big pieces of timber in sawmills. Before the huge saws now used in sawmills, they utilized circular saws to cut through huge timbers. Sawmills today favor bigger circular saws with a blade diameter of up to three meters.

2. Cutting Through Logs For Firewood

Circular saws have extremely strong blades that spin at a high rate, making them ideal for cutting through hard and hardwood such as firewood. It’s not unusual to see circular saws utilized to cut cordwood.

3. Cutting Through Metals

The circular saw with a wide blade and sharp teeth is ideal for cutting through metals such as steel, brass, and bronze. Cutting slots into the sheet metal used in other manufacturing processes using a circular saw with a guide or fence makes it easier.

A circular saw with a large tooth count will ensure that your metal or wood has smooth and uniform cuts.

4. Creating 45 Degree Angle Bevels

If you require a straight or 45-degree cut, your circular saw is ideal for the job. You won’t get perfectly sloped angles, but it will suffice in a pinch.

5. Cutting Through Plywood

For most woodwork jobs, you’ll be using plywood of many different sizes and shapes. As a result, the circular saw may be used to cut through plywood because it does so cleanly and neatly.

What Materials Can a Circular Saw Cut?

After reading about the numerous uses of a circular saw, you might be interested in finding out what materials it can cut through.

I have already listed a few of these materials in the section above, but let us look at these and a few other materials you might not have thought about.

The circular saw, as previously said, can cut through wood for firewood, long sheets of plywood, timber, and metal. You may be shocked to learn that a circular saw can also cut through PVC pipe and tubing.

Circular Saw to Cut PVC

When cutting through PVC pipes, a hacksaw is typically used since it is more versatile. However, if you don’t have a hacksaw handy and your only other tool in your arsenal is a circular saw, then cutting through PVC pipe may be done quite easily with this device.

However, it should be noted that when cutting PVC pipe or tubing with a circular saw, you need the right blade for the job. You might discover that using a blade with at least 15 teeth per inch will make it easier to cut through PVC pipes. Additionally, circular saws should not be used to cut through PVC pipes with a tiny diameter.

It would be wonderful if you didn’t cut through a PVC pipe with your circular saw, which is one-eighth of an inch thick. Because your blades don’t have enough support when you start cutting the PVC, this is why. Your blade will be stuck in the PVC, and you can either damage your saw or injure yourself in the process.

You may also use your circular saw to cut through metal. You must also make sure you have the appropriate blade for the task, just as you would when cutting PVC or plastic. It is not suggested that you use a circular saw to cut steel since steel is considerably more difficult to cut with one.

Circular Saw to Cut Metal

When cutting metal with a circular saw, make sure you have the appropriate blade for the job. Furthermore, to avoid yourself from getting injured, always wear gloves, goggles, and protective clothing when using a circular saw because tiny metallic particles might get into your eyes or skin.

When cutting through metal, you should use a carbide-tipped cutting disc that is durable enough for cutting through all types of sheet metals and brass. 

Before cutting through the PVC pipe or metal, secure the materials to a firm, solid surface to avoid any movement while using the circular saw on any of these materials.

How Do You Use A Circular Saw Effectively?

I’ve already mentioned the function of a circular saw, as well as the various materials it may cut through. The last thing I’ll discuss is how to use your circular saw effectively.

You should use caution when using a circular saw, just like any other power tool in your shed or garage.

A circular saw is a useful and handy tool to have around, but if it isn’t utilized correctly, it can damage your saw, blades, or even hurt yourself. Let me walk you through some helpful hints to get you started using your circular saw effectively.

To assist you control the circular saw with both hands, it will come with two handles. The rear handle has a button that you must press to start the board or timber cutting. Some circular saws feature a safety switch that must be activated first before starting up to prevent accidental starts.

The blade is generally to the right of the motor, but a left-handed saw may be purchased if you are left-handed.

The base plate of the saw sits flat on the wood’s surface and maintains a constant angle between the blade and the wood, which is usually a 90-degree angle.

If you need to make angled cuts, a saw with a steel base that tilts is required. These circular saws include a gauge that you may change for the desired angle. If you need to make deeper or shallower cuts, you can adjust the blade to get you the right depth of cut that you require.

Also, most circular saws have a blade guard that automatically retracts when you start to cut. 

Circular saws are available in a variety of sizes and uses. The most popular blade size is 7 1/4″ which is perfect for woodworking and other DIY projects at home.

A standard circular saw will come with an all-purpose blade with 24 teeth and should be sufficient for most woodworking and DIY projects.

When cutting through plywood, you would use a finer toothed blade, up to 140 teeth blade for finer timber cuts. 

The circular saws come in battery-operated cordless saws as well as electrical corded saws. 

Before attempting to change the blade on your saw, be sure to check your owner’s manual. Remember to turn off the power first before changing the blades or making other adjustments.

There should be a lever or a button on the saw to keep the spindle in place while you remove the blade. Push down or hold down the button while removing the nut or bolt from your blade, then set it into position with the blade facing correctly.

The blade would have arrows indicating the direction of the spin. Remember that the blade spins counterclockwise and cuts on the upstroke. The wood you cut must be held securely to prevent injury and get perfect cuts.

A sawhorse or two is useful for this purpose. You should avoid clampeding down both ends of the wood to prevent the board’s two halves from merging together as you approach the end.

Clamping both ends of the wood can cause the saw to kick back and make the saw lunge toward your body. If the saw does bind or kickback, release the saw so that it is not “pinching.” 


I’ve given you all the information you’ll need to use your circular saw for DIY projects around the house and construction. You should now know what materials you can cut with your circular saw and how to utilize it for woodworking tasks effectively. Always bear in mind that your circular saw is a tool, not a toy.

Chief Editor @AccureteToolsOnline (or, in plain English, I’m the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is helpful for our readers.

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