How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Circular Saw

How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Circular Saw

How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Circular Saw

When it comes to making grooves or dados in wood, a circular saw can do the job for you.

Although a groove can be cut using more sophisticated tools, a circular saw is the most affordable and widely available tool to achieve this.

Things You Will Need

  • Circular Saw
  • Wood For Cutting the Groove
  • Speed Square
  • Two Clamps (Quick grip clamps preferably )
  • Mallet
  • Chisel

Video- Cutting a Groove with a Circular Saw

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Step-by-Step Method to Cutting a Groove Using a Circular Saw

The method to cut a groove varies depending on whether you need to cut a groove along the length of the wood or along the width (cross) of the wood.

I'll explain how to do both.

Cutting a Groove Along the Length

In this section, I'll explain how to use a circular saw for cutting a groove along the length of the wood.

You could use a speed square for making a lengthwise groove with a circular saw, but a rip-fence is the ideal accessory.

To do this, first, place the wood over the sacrificial sheet.

If you are using a relatively thin piece of wood like a 2x4, there might not be enough space to run the circular saw.

The solution, in that case, is to place another wood piece with the same thickness on the side of the wood to be cut, for support.

Setting the Wood piece on the sacrificial sheet
Setting the Wood piece on the sacrificial sheet

Next, Mark the groove boundaries on either side using the speed square.

Marking the lengthwise groove line
Marking the lengthwise groove line

After the groove is marked for cutting, adjust the blade length and clamp at the middle and at the end.

Adjusting the blade height
Adjusting the blade height

Using the rip-fence or saw the track, align the blade with the groove boundary while keeping in mind the kerf loss.

If you don't have either of those, make a straight edge using scrap wood and use it as a guide for cutting.

Aligning blade and groove boundary
Aligning blade and groove boundary

Make multiple passes inside the groove to make a series of cuts within the groove area.

After making multiple passes with the circular saw
After making multiple passes with the circular saw

After this, use a chisel and hammer to remove the cut-up wood.

chiseling
chiseling

With this step, you will now have a smooth and clean lengthwise groove.

If there are splinters, use sanding paper to hand-sand the rough edges.

Sanding with sand paper
Sanding with sand paper

With this step, you'll now have a smooth and accurate groove in the wood piece.

Wood with length-wise groove cut in it
Wood with a length-wise groove cut in it

The difference between a rabbet and a groove is that a rabbet is made at the edge of the wood piece, unlike a groove.

It is possible to make a rabbet with a circular saw if that's what you are looking for.

2. Cutting a Groove Along the Width (Cross)

Place the sacrificial sheet on the table and place the wood to be grooved, on top.

Using a speed square measure and mark the groove onto the wood while making sure both lines are parallel.

Marking groove line with speed square
Marking groove line with a speed square

Adjust the height of the blade in the circular saw to match the depth of the groove you need.

To do this, keep the blade at the edge of the wooden piece and adjust according to the cross-section of the wood visible from the side.

Adjusting the height of the blade in the circular saw
Adjusting the height of the blade in the circular saw

Remember, cutting more than half of the thickness might make the groove too deep and separate the wood into two.

Set the speed square such that the blade of the circular saw falls just inside the boundary line of the groove. Then clamp the speed square in place.

In case you only have one speed square, Make a pass on one side and then unclamp the speed square and clamp it next to the other boundary line.

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

The loss in wood due to the thickness of the blade is termed kerf loss.

After cutting both boundaries of the groove, continue cutting inside the groove area to remove wood. multiple passes with the saw should do the trick.

Making multiple passes with the circular saw
Making multiple passes with the circular saw
After making multiple passes with the circular saw
After making multiple passes with the circular saw

All that's left now is to hammer and chisel away any pieces that stick out. Leading to a splinter-free, smooth groove.

Chiseling away the wood to make the groove
Chiseling away the wood to make the groove

Here's that clean groove along the width of the wood.

Widthwise groove
Widthwise groove

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how to cut a groove in wood with a circular saw

You may be interested in these:

Cutting Thick Wood with Circular Saw

How to Cut Thick Wood with Circular Saw

Yield: Cut a Thick Piece of Wood
Prep Time: 1 minute
Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

This DIY guide will teach you how to cut a thick piece of wood like a 4x4 or 6x6 using a Circular Saw

Materials

  • 1. Wood for cutting
  • 2. Sandpaper

Tools

  • 1. Circular Saw
  • 2. Speed Square
  • 3. Clamp

Instructions

  1. Fix masking tape in the area where you wish to cut- to prevent splinters.
  2. Draw the line of cut on all 4 sides using a speed square and pencil.
  3. Set the depth of the circular saw blade to the maximum.
  4. Use a speed square as the straight edge for guiding the circular saw.
  5. Clamp the circular saw such that the blade aligns with the line of cut.
  6. Start the saw and cut the first side while keeping the saw pressed against the speed square.
  7. Using the notch of the first cut, cut the adjacent side.
  8. Repeat this process for the other two sides as well to cut on all 4 sides.
  9. If the offcut is still attached to the rest of the wood, use a handsaw to cut and detach it.
  10. Sand with rasp or sandpaper for finishing.


Completed cutting the thick wood with circular saw

Notes

If you don't have a rip fence, use a straight edge.

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

DIY Profile
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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