How to Cut a 4x4 with a Circular Saw

How to Cut a 4x4 with a Circular Saw

How to Cut a 4x4 with a Circular Saw

Since most circular saws will not cut through a 4x4 piece of wood in a single pass, cutting from multiple sides is required.

In this guide, I'll show you exactly how to use your circular saw for cutting a 4x4.

Things You Will Need

  • Circular Saw.
  • Speed Square.
  • Sacrificial Sheet (MDF or Plywood ).
  • Pencil.
  • Masking Tape.
  • Hand Saw.
  • Quick-Grip Clamps.

Begin by placing the 4x4 piece of wood onto the work surface.

A sacrificial sheet is not compulsory as the thickness of the wood is more than that of the blade, but it's still good to use one for extra safety.

Placing the 4x4 piece of wood
Placing the 4x4 piece of wood

You need to mark the cut line on the 4x4 first.

With the help of some masking tape, cover all four sides of the wood before marking the cut line.

Masking with tape
Masking with tape

The use of masking tape considerably reduces any chance of splinters forming on the 4x4.

Using a carpenter's pencil and a speed square, mark the line of cut on the 4x4.

Marking side using carpenters pencil and speed square
Marking side using carpenters pencil and speed square

After marking the wood on one side, rotate the wood once and continue marking on that side.

Mark on all four sides of the 4x4 lumber.

4x4 with cut line marked on all four sides
4x4 with cut line marked on all four sides

Adjust the circular saw to its maximum depth before cutting.

Blade depth over the edge
Blade depth over the edge

Next you need to set the circular saw blade next to the cut line.

To do that, you need a straight edge setup with which you can cut in a straight line.

To do this, measure the offset from the blade to the edge of the shoe and transfer that distance onto the cut line.

Marking the offset distance of the circular saw
Marking the offset distance of the circular saw

Next, you need to fix the speed square at the offset line such that the blade of the circular saw falls right next to the cut line when the saw is placed against the speed square.

Fix the speed square such that the circular saw blade coincides with the cut line.

Clamp the speed square onto the wood using a quick grip clamp.

Clamp the speed square with wood
Clamp the speed square with wood

Place the circular saw by pressing against the speed square with the blade just next to the cut line.

Remember to place the blade on the scrap side of the line so that the part you intend to use has the exact dimension.

Never place the blade on the cut line.

Begin cutting the 4x4 along the previously drawn cut line.

After cutting through one side of the timber, rotate the wood piece by 90 degrees.

4x4 after cutting one side
4x4 after cutting one side

Using the notch made from the first cut, align the blade again with the second face of the 4x4 and begin cutting.

placing blade inside the notch
placing blade inside the notch

Continue cutting with the circular saw until all four sides are cut.

four sides sawed
four sides sawed

If the pieces do not separate, use a hand saw to cut through the rest of the thickness.

Cutting with hand saw
Cutting with hand saw

Insert the hand saw into the notch and finish the cut, separating the wood into two.

With this step you have successfully completed cutting the 4x4.

Piece cut from 4x4 lumber
Piece cut from 4x4 lumber

Tips for accuracy and safety while cutting a 4x4

  • Make sure depth is set all the way down before you begin adjusting.
  • While marking, never mark just as a point. Instead, mark it as a 'tick' mark or a 'crow's foot' mark. Doing so helps in identifying the point to be cut easily.
  • Stay away from the saw while cutting.
  • Before making any adjustments, make sure the saw is unplugged.
  • If the piece completely seperates from the wood, let it fall. Never try to catch it while holding a runnning saw in your hand.
  • Never stay right behind or too close to the running blade to avoid injury in case of kickback. Kickback is extremely dangerous and must be prevented at all costs.
  • Using masking tape before drawing the mark on it can help reduce splinters to lend a more pleasing finish.
  • Make sure to cut outside of the line, so the wood piece that you intend to use has the correct dimensions.
  • Use a rasp to clean and smoothen the cut after sawing. Alternatively, A hand sander or sanding paper can also get the job done.
  • Once the saw is turned on, keep it steady but never try to force it back in case it veers off.
  • Using excessive force will create pinch points in the wood leading to damage for both the user and the saw.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How deep can a 7 1/4-inch circular saw cut?

A 7 1/4-inch standard size circular saw blade would be able to cut a maximum depth of 2 1/2 inches. To cut deeper than that, use a circular saw blade of greater diameter or use a hand saw. You may also cut the material from all sides using a circular saw if you cannot entirely cut the material in one pass and one direction.

2. Can a circular saw be used to cut metal?

Using a ferrous-metal-cutting circular saw blade, you will be able to cut mild steel sections of about 3/8 inches thick. Do not use regular masonry blades to cut metal as they are specifically designed to cut materials like timber and plastic. Using regular blades to cut concrete or metal will result in chipped or broken teeth along with a possible chance for injuries.

3. What size circular saw do i need to cut 4x4?

The two most common sized circular saw blades are a 7 ¼ inches blade, which has a cutting depth of up to 2 ½ inches, and a smaller 6 ½” blade with a maximum cutting depth of 2 1/8 inches (at 90 degrees). The depth of both of these blades is further reduced if you are cutting at an angle. So a regular blade cannot cut a 4x4 in a single pass. However, a 4x4 can be cut if multiple passes are made from all four sides using any of these blades.

4. Can you put a 12-inch blade on a 10-inch table saw?

You cannot put a 12-inch blade on a 10-inch saw; however you can put a 10 -inch blade on a 12-inch saw, assuming both have the same diameter arbor holes. A 12-inch blade can work for more extended periods and is more durable than a 10-inch blade, but if you are looking to make precision and accuracy, use the 10-inch blade.

5. Why does circular saw get stuck?

A circular saw gets stuck when the blade depth is set too deep. An adequately set blade depth not only prevents kickbacks and binding but is also safer and more efficient in cutting. Additionally, if the blade depth is set too deep, there is a high chance that the blade might bend and then wobble, causing rough cuts and potential injury.

About V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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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 beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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