How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts News & Opinion

How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts


A while back, we showed you how to make a more accurate crosscut with your circular saw. Now it’s time to improve the quality of the cut and maybe you’re a little frustrated. We’ll show you how to make better circular saw cuts by tackling the most common issues most new Pros and DIYers encounter. Whether you’re being paid to get the job done or working on your own home improvement, you’ll enjoy the results and your craft more.

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We’re using the Makita Brushless Rear-Handle Saw – one of the most powerful cordless circular saws available. It has more power than our corded worm drive, so it’s a great choice whether you’re crosscutting or ripping wood.

How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

Check out more details in our review by clicking here.

How To Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

Step 1: Slow Down

When we did our cordless circular saw shootout, how fast each saw cut was a big part of our data. That’s great for testing power, but not so much for quality results. If you’re seeing a lot of splintering from tearout and you’re having a hard time following your cutline, slow down. Let the blade and the motor do the work. Your job is just to captain the ship and guide its path.

Step 2: Increase the Tooth Count

As you move from rough cuts to finish cuts, go with a higher tooth count on your blade. They’ll cost more, so only use them when you need to. The higher the tooth count, the smoother the cut. Some can leave you with a finish close to that of 220 grit sandpaper.

How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

Step 3: Reduce Tearout – Without a Track Saw

If you’re doing carpentry level finish work, a track saw is often your best bet to get the finest finish. But that’s not a tool that every DIYer owns or even every Pro. One trick is to stick a piece of masking or painter’s tape over your cutline to reduce tearout. You’ll have to mark your line over the tape, but you’ll get a better finish.

How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

Pro Tips on How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

There are a few tricks of the trade that go along with this to make your results even better. Here are a few that our Pros use.

Tape the Shoe

We’re not talking about throwing duct tape around the upper and outsole to keep your shoes held together. This is a trick for when you’re working on a finished surface that you don’t want to mar. Covering the bottom of your circular saw’s shoe with painter’s tape will help it glide over your finished surface easier and avoid scratching it up.

How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

Flip the Material

Place the side that will be showing facedown. Tearout occurs on the back of the cut on the top facing side, so flipping the good side down puts any tearout you get on the part that won’t show.

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Use a Straightedge

Similar to the rafter square trick for crosscuts, clamping a straightedge down to guide your saw on longer cuts can maintain the accuracy of your cut.

How to Make Better Circular Saw Cuts

Makita 18V X2 Brushless Rear-Handle Circular Saw Specifications

  • Model number: Makita XSR01Z (Bare), Makita XSR01PT (Kit)
  • Power Source: (2) Makita 18V LXT battery packs
  • Max Cutting Depth: 2-9/16-inch cutting capacity at 90 degrees
  • Bevel Capacity: 0 to 53-degree bevel with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees
  • Magnesium base and blade guard
  • Electric brake
  • Built-in tether notch
  • Rafter Hook
  • No Load Speed: 5100 RPM
  • Price: $199 (bare), $359 (kit with 5.0 aH batteries)

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Brad Copeland

Great article. For those of us without a track saw, you can use something called a Door Board (or a poor man’s track saw). I have both a 3’ and 5’ Door Board and you can make one to fit any circular saw. It allows you make a straight cuts with confidence every time and eliminate tear out.

Here is a good “how to” example: https://nickferry.com/2015/11/make-straight-cuts-every-time-with-a-door-board-ep60/