19 Circular Saw Uses (Materials, Type Cuts & Situations)

Circular Saw Uses (Materials, Type Cuts & Situations)

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When it comes to the world or construction, one of the most versatile and popular tools out there is the circular saw. A circular saw is a relatively small type of saw that features a circular blade that moves at very high speeds. This type of saw can be used for many applications and materials. Let’s take a closer look at circular saws and figure out exactly what they can do for you.

9 Practical Circular Saw Uses

A circular saw has many practical uses, or in other words, many applications that it can be used for. Let’s take a look at nine of the most common tasks or applications that you might use a circular saw for.

Flooring

The first application that a circular saw can be used for is flooring. Floor boards need to be ripped and cross cut down to size in order to achieve the right measurements. A circular saw is the perfect type of saw to make both of these types of cuts, and is therefore an integral tool used in flooring.

Roofing

Another application or trade that a circular saw comes in handy for is roofing. Just as with flooring, room beams, ceiling rafters, and roof boards need to be ripped, resawed, and cross cut down to the appropriate size. Seeing as a circular saw can make all of these cuts, it’s a perfect tool to use in the roofing trade.

Framing

Yet another task that a circular saw can be used for is framing. Here we are talking about building frames for houses and structures. Those structural support beams and various frame components all need to be cut down to size, which generally involves ripping, resawing, and cross cutting, all things that a circular saw can do.

Fence Making

Although this is related to the previous jobs I’ve mentioned, if you need to cut a bunch of boards down to size for that new fence you are building, a circular saw is definitely an ideal tool for the task.

Using Circular Saw to Make Fence

Crown Molding & Veneer

Although a dual compound miter saw is the far better tool to use for cutting crown molding, as it is more or less a super advanced circular saw that comes with its own integrated work table, if your miter saw is on the fritz, a circular saw can help you out of a tight spot. Technically speaking, circular saws can make most of the cuts required to work with crown molding and veneer.

Cabinetry, Picture Frames, Boxes, Crafts & More

As mentioned above, circular saws are very versatile tools, and if you are working with wood, chances are you can use a circular saw. Whether you are making planters, cabinets, dressers, chairs, picture frames, or anything in between, we guarantee that you can put a circular saw to good use.

Plumbing – Cutting PVC Pipes

A circular saw can also be used to cut PVC and other similar types of piping down to size, which therefore applies to the plumbing trade. It’s not the first tool a plumber needs, but it can come in handy.

Brick, Stone & Cinder Block Work

If you are building structures out of masonry, and you need to cut individual stones, bricks, or cinder blocks down to size, a circular saw can be used for this as well.

Cutting Metal Pipes & Sheets

If you need to cut fairly thin metal beams, thin and hollow metal pipes, or even metal sheets such as aluminum siding, with the right blade, a circular saw can do this as well.

Metal Cutting Circular Saw Blade

6 Types of Cuts a Circular Saw Can Do

Now that we have looked at the most common practical applications that a circular saw can be used for, let’s take a look at the different cuts that this type of saw can make.

Cross-Cuts

The first type of cut that a circular saw can make is a simple cross-cut. This is when you cut a board along its width to shorten the length of it. In other words, if you need to shorten boards or other materials, a circular saw can get it done.

Miter Cuts

You may also use a circular saw to make miter cuts, which in essence are really just cross-cuts made on an angle. Now, of course, the miter saw is the better option for this, as you can tilt the blade, whereas with a circular saw, you have to tilt the lumber being cut. That said, although it’s not as easy as with a miter saw, it is doable with a circular saw.

Rip Cuts

Another type of cut that can be made with a circular saw is a rip cut, which is when you cut a board along its length and through its width, with the aim being to create thinner boards. When you make a rip cut, the length and thickness of the board remain the same, but the width is reduced.

Resaw Cuts

You can also make resaw cuts with a circular saw, which is technically a type of rip cut. Here, you also cut along the length of a board, but instead of cutting through the width, you cut through the thickness. So, with a resaw cut, the length and width of the board stay the same, but the thickness is reduced.

Bevel Cuts

A good circular saw will come with a base or foot that allows the blade to bevel to a specific side, or in some cases, to both sides. Therefore, a circular saw can be used to make bevel cuts.

Compound Cuts

Seeing as circular saws can be used to make both miter and bevel cuts, there is no reason why you couldn’t use one to make compound bevel and miter cuts.

Making a Bevel Cut with a Circular Saw

What Materials Can Be Cut with a Circular Saw?

Let’s take a quick look at the various materials that a circular saw can handle.

Wood

The most common material to be cut with a circular saw is wood. This is the primary purpose of this type of saw, with most blades being designed specifically for this purpose.

Plastic

Circular saws can also be used to cut plastic, particularly hard and rigid plastic such as PVC piping. A good all purpose or carbide tipped blade will do fine here. Small to medium size teeth tend to work best.

Metal

Given that you have the right blade, such as a fine tooth carbide blade, you may also cut thin metal beams, small metal pipes, and even things like aluminum siding with a circular saw. That said, very thick, dense, and strong metals may not work with circular saws.

Masonry

A circular saw can also cut masonry such as granite, marble, cinder blocks, and brick too. However, what you need for this task is a diamond-tipped blade.

Diamond Tipped Circular Saw Blade

Summary

As you can see, the circular saw is perhaps one of the most versatile and widely used types of saws out there. When it comes down to it, the circular saw has so many uses and practical applications that every handyman, repairman, carpenter, contractor, and everyone in between should have one in their tool arsenal!