How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Table-2 Methods

How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Table-2 Methods

How to Use a Circular Saw Without a Table-2 Methods

When using a circular saw without a table, you have two options-use sawhorses or use a rigid foam insulation sheet.

If you prefer sawhorses, you need to make a pair of sawhorses with plans available online for free.

If that sounds tedious, you need to buy a rigid foam insulation sheet from a hardware store for the insulation sheet method.

In this step-by-step guide I'll show you how to use a circular saw using both methods.

Things You'll Need

  • A Circular Saw
  • Two Sawhorses
  • A Sheet of Plywood
  • Carpenter's Pencil
  • Masking Tape
  • Insulation Foam Board
  • Level (or Ruler)

Method 1: Using insulation sheet

Unlike the sawhorses, you can use insulation sheets to cut large plywood sheets as well.

What you need is a 4x8 rigid foam insulation sheet (Pink or white in color).

Rigid foam sheets are cheap and do not dull the circular saw blade.

Thus they're ideal sacrificial boards for cutting with a circular saw instead of a table.

rigid foam sheet placed on the floor
rigid foam sheet placed on the floor

Start by placing the insulating foam on the ground and lay the wood to be cut on top of that sheet.

Here, the insulation foam works as both a sacrificial sheet and the work surface.

Place the material you intend to cut on the foam sheet.

In this case we're using a plywood sheet.

Before cutting, remember to draw the cut line.

Use masking tape to cover the area on which you will draw the cut line. This helps in reducing splinters.

Fixing masking tape on the line of cut
Fixing masking tape on the line of cut

Mark the cut line using a pencil and a speed square.

If the line is long, extend the line using a straight edge or ruler.

marking the cut line using a speed square and pencil
marking the cut line using a speed square and pencil

Set the blade depth according to the thickness of the wood.

The blade should be deep enough to do a through cut in the material while grazing the foam sheet underneath.

Making the cut with circular saw
Making the cut with circular saw

Turn on the saw and cut all the way through.

If you need a perfectly straight cut, make a straight edge and use it as a guide for the circular saw.

With this step, you have successfully cut the plywood sheet without a table.

Cut completed with circular saw using the foam sheet as base
Cut completed with circular saw using the foam sheet as base

Method 2: Using sawhorses

Sawhorses are an excellent supporting structure for making cuts using a circular saw.

In this method, I'll be showing you how to make the cut using a couple of sawhorses.

I made this sawhorse using scrap wood I had and a simple free plan I found online.

Although I have a work table, I find a sawhorse incredibly useful when I don't want to risk my work table, especially for ripping large sheets.

Pair of Sawhorses as base
Pair of Sawhorses as base

They provide steady and comfortable seating for wood or any other material you intend to cut.

Begin by placing the material to be cut onto the two sawhorses.

Balance the wood properly, so it doesn't tip over and fall.

Before you cut, you mark the line of cut.

Fix masking tape on the area on which you will draw the cut line

fixing masking tape on the line of cut
fixing masking tape on the line of cut

Mark the cut line using a pencil and a speed square.

Marking the line of cut
Marking the line of cut

As there is no sacrificial board underneath, simply set the depth of the saw blade to the maximum and make the cut.

Press the material down on the sawhorse with one hand while cutting with the circular saw to avoid any movement.

Turn on the saw and cut all the way through.

Cut completed using circular saw
Cut completed using circular saw

With that you have successfully completed the cut using a circular saw.

Tips For Accuracy while Using a Circular Saw Without a Table

  • Remember to support the board equally over the sawhorse so as to prevent it from falling over.
  • Masking tape helps in highlighting the cut line in case of darker woods.
  • Using masking tape before drawing the mark on it can help reduce splinters and lend a more pleasing finish.
  • More teeth on the saw blade means better cut but takes longer to cut and large teeth means quick but rough cuts.
  • 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.
  • If you are using wet wood or treated lumber, use a blade that's appropriate for that purpose.
  • Use a sharp blade with an appropriate number of teeth.
  • Use a rasp to clean and smoothen the cut after sawing. Alternatively, A hand sander or sanding paper can also get the job done.

Tips For Safety while Using a Circular Saw Without a Table

  • Inspect the power chord for exposed wire and cuts. If the insulation is removed or exposed, consider changing the power chord immediately.
  • Before cutting any material, especially wood, make sure there are not obstructions such as nails inside the wood.
  • If you can smell something burning, immediately stop sawing and re-adjust the mask and saw blade.
  • Make sure the saw teeth are facing in direction of rotation. (Anti-clockwise direction in case of circular saw).
  • Using masking tape before cutting can help reduce splinters.
  • 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.
  • If the piece completely seperates from the wood, let it fall. Never try to catch it while holding a runnning saw in your hand.
  • Once the saw is turned on, keep it steady but never try to force it back in case it veers off.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you cut foam insulation?

You can cut foam insulation quickly with the help of a utlity knife or an electric saw, unlike other insulating materials takes special tools to cut.

What saw is best for cutting plywood?

For straight cuts, the most prefered power tool is the circular saw. Eventhough plywood can be cut using a circular saw, the accuracy of the cut will depend entirely on the user or the form of guiding mechanism used.

How do you cut plywood with a circular saw without splintering?

To cut plywood with a circular saw without splintering, make use of some tape. Stick some tape over the top and bottom before cutting the plywood. Cutting with a sharp blade also helps in reducing splinters.

What is the best angle for sawhorse legs?

The best angle to cut for sawhorse legs is around 15-degrees. You can easily achieve this by using a circular saw.

How tall should sawhorses be?

For an average user, the sawhorse is ideal at the height of about 26 to 32 inches from the floor. However, for people who wish to combine a worktop with sawhorse functions, the height can be a few inches taller.

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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