How to Cut a 45 degree Angle with a Circular Saw [Step-by-Step]

How to Cut a 45 degree Angle with a Circular Saw [Step-by-Step]

How to Cut a 45 degree Angle with a Circular Saw [Step-by-Step]

Making 45-degree cuts with a circular saw might seem like an intimidating process, but with a little bit of preparation and practice, anyone can do this.

There are two possible 45-degree cuts with a circular saw, a bevel cut, and a miter cut.

In this guide, I'll show you how to do both.

You can use this method to make a cut on any material like baseboards, door trim, window trim among others. I'll be demonstrating on a wooden board.

Also, the brand of the circular saw does not matter for this method.

Things You'll Need

  • Circular Saw
  • Sacrificial sheet (MDF or plywood)
  • Speed Square
  • Tape
  • Two Clamps
  • A Rasp or Sandpaper
  • A Straight Edge or a Level

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting at 45 degree with a Circular Saw

There are three types of cuts you can make at 45 degrees with a circular saw. I show all three methods below.

However, remember that you can make cuts of any angle with a circular saw.

1. Bevel Cutting at 45 Degree with a Circular Saw (Along the Length)

As the first step, I'll show you how to use a circular saw for cutting a bevel at 45°.

Begin by placing the sacrificial sheet onto the working surface. The sacrificial sheet is meant to protect the work surface from the blade.

Place the wood to be cut on the sacrificial sheet.

Now fix masking tape over the area where you would like to draw the mark.

Masking tape on wood
Masking tape on wood

This is done so that while cutting the wood, masking tape will prevent splinters.

Using a speed square and a pencil, draw the mark over the masking tape.

Drawing line with speed square
Drawing the line with a speed square

Once the mark has been made, measure and mark the offset distance from the saw blade and the edge of the shoe of the saw.

Blade to Edge of Base Offset
Blade to Edge of Base Offset
Offset measuring on saw
Offset measuring on saw

Transfer this offset distance onto the wood to be cut.

Transferring the offset
Transferring the offset

Place a straight edge or a long level at the edge of the drawn line and clamp it down in place.

This straight edge will guide the circular saw along a straight line as you make the cut.

As the offset distance (from the blade to the shoe) was transferred onto the wood, the blade of the saw will align perfectly with the mark.

Make sure that both the end and the middle of the wood are clamped and secured.

Clamping a straight piece on to the wood
Clamping a straight piece on to the wood

To adjust the angle of the blade, loosen the screw near the angle guide to free the blade.

Setting the angle on the circular saw
Setting the angle on the circular saw

Using the indicator provided on the saw, adjust the saw blade angle with the help of the angle guide on the saw itself.

In this particular case, you can set the angle to 45 degrees.

Indicator on 45 degree mark
Indicator on 45-degree mark

Adjust the depth of the blade according to the depth of the wooden piece you wish to saw.

Circular Saw after setting the 45 degree angle
Circular Saw after setting the 45 degree angle

Begin cutting by using the clamped speed square as your guide. Saw completely through till the end and make sure the wood is separated completely into two.

Making the cut along the edge
Making the cut along the edge

Provide the finishing touches using a rasp or sanding paper.

Finishing touches using a rasp
Finishing touches using a rasp

2. Bevel Cutting at 45 Degree with a Circular Saw (Along the Width)

Start by placing the sacrificial sheet onto the working surface.

Now, place the wood to be cut on the sacrificial sheet.

Fix masking tape over the area where you would like to draw the mark.

Masking tape on wood
Masking tape on wood

Using a speed square and a pencil, draw a mark over the masking tape.

Drawing a line with speed square
Drawing a line with a speed square

Once the mark has been made, measure and mark the offset distance from the saw blade and the edge of the shoe of the saw.

Measuring offset
Measuring offset

Transfer this offset distance onto the wood to be cut.

Transferring the offset
Transferring the offset

After positioning a straight edge or a level to align with the line, clamp it down along with the wood using a quick grip clamp.

Clamping down straight edge
Clamping down straight edge

Make sure that both the end and the middle of the wood is clamped and secured.

Clamping middle and end
Clamping middle and end

To adjust the angle of the blade, loosen the screw near the angle guide so that the blade may now sway freely.

Angled guide
Angled guide

Using the indicator provided on the saw, adjust the saw blade angle with the help of the angle guide on the saw itself.

In this particular case, you can set the angle to 45 degrees.

Indicator on 45 degree mark
Indicator on 45 degree mark

Adjust the depth of the blade according to the depth of the wooden piece you wish to cut.

Saw blade over the edge
Saw blade over the edge

Begin cutting while using the clamped straight edge or level as your guide. Saw completely through till the end and make sure the wood is separated completely into two.

Bevel Cutting at 45 degree by pressing against the speed square
Bevel Cutting at 45 degree by pressing against the speed square

Provide the finishing touches using a rasp or sanding paper.

Finishing touches using a rasp
Finishing touches using a rasp

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3. Miter Cutting at 45 Degree with a Circular Saw

Begin by placing the sacrificial sheet onto the working surface. The sacrificial sheet is meant to protect the work surface from the blade.

Place the wood to be cut on the sacrificial sheet.

Measure and mark the length needed on the wood using tape.

Transferring offset to wood
Transferring offset to wood

Now, you need to mark the line of miter cut on the wood.

Before drawing the line fix masking tape over the area where you would like to draw the mark.

Masking tape on wood
Masking tape on wood

Using a speed square and a pencil, draw the mark over the masking tape along the line you wish to miter cut.

While marking the 45-degree line, make sure you use the slanted side of the speed square instead of the straight edges.

As the speed square is set at a 45-degree angle, you don't need a protractor.

Drawing a line with speed square
Drawing a line with speed square

Once the mark has been made, measure and mark the offset distance from the saw blade and the edge of the shoe of the saw.

Measuring the offset
Measuring the offset

Transfer this offset distance onto the wood to be cut.

Transferring the offset
Transferring the offset

After positioning the speed square to align with the line, clamp it down on the wood using a clamp.

Clamping down the speed square
Clamping down the speed square

Check whether the blade of the saw falls just outside the marked line.

Wood Clamped in the middle and the end
Wood Clamped in the middle and the end

Make sure that both the wood is clamped at the middle and the end.

Adjust the depth of the blade according to the depth of the wooden piece you wish to cut.

Cutting at 45 degree with the miter saw
Cutting at 45 degree with the miter saw

Begin cutting while using the clamped speed square as your guide. Saw completely through till the end and make sure the wood is separated completely into two.

Making the miter cut
Making the miter cut

Provide finishing touches using a rasp or sanding paper.

Finishing touches using a rasp
Finishing touches using a rasp

Tips for Safety and Accuracy

  • Make sure the saw is unplugged when changing the angle of the saw blade.
  • Use a sharp blade for cutting. Sharpening your circular saw blade is worth the cleaner finish you get.
  • Make sure depth is set all the way down before you begin adjusting. Doing so helps in identifying the point to be cut easily.
  • Never stay right behind or too close to the running blade to avoid injury in case of kickback. Kickback is when the back end of the blade catches hold of the wood, and the whole saw jumps back at you. Kickback is extremely dangerous and must be avoided.
  • Using masking tape before cutting can help reduce splinters.
  • Make sure to place the blade on the outside of the line, so that the piece you intend to use has the exact dimensions you need.
  • Once the saw is running, keep it steady but never try to force it back on the line in case it veers off.
  • Using excessive force can create pinch points in the wood.

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How to cut a 45 degree angle with a circular saw

About V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to MellowPine. We play around with basic woodworking projects, home improvement ideas, and decor for you to try out.

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V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to MellowPine. We play around with basic woodworking projects, home improvement ideas, and decor for you to try out.

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