Do You Need A Workbench For A Circular Saw Or Can You Go Without?
Usually, it is advisable to have a workbench or table of some sort when using this tool. However, if you do not own one then you can still use the circular saw by placing a track underneath it or using sawhorses.
There are two main ways to effectively use a circular saw when you do not have a bench or table.
The most common problem with not having a table designed for this is that you often do not have a fixed guide to help you cut straight. For this reason not only will we discuss how to use a saw under these conditions but also how to do it well.
Though these methods are not as effective as having the desired equipment, we have broken it down into steps to keep it as safe and simple as possible.
Using A Saw Track With Your Circular Saw
Many saw tracks fix to the table or workbench however some can be purchased that are portable and fix directly to the wood you are cutting.
After selecting the correct version and size of the saw track, fasten it to your wood or to wooden supports above your wood. Measure out what you need to cut, and mark it accordingly.
Fit your saw track with an edge guide and place it along the measured markings you made. Then adjust the depth of the blade so that when it cuts, it goes through the material you want to cut but does not go any further.
In case of any mishaps, it is a good idea to make sure that you have scrap wood underneath or foam boards. This way, if the blade does go further than you calculate it is not too much of an expensive mistake.
Begin cutting and stop to readjust as needed.
Use A Sawhorse With Your Circular Saw
Another way to use a circular saw without a table is to build or purchase sawhorses. These are supports with triangular angled bases to help you stabilize your wood on top.
For smaller pieces that you need to cut, you may only require one sawhorse. However, for larger projects, you may need two of them to create a scaffold that you can lay your wood across.
After determining the length of your wood, place your sawhorses apart so the wood can be placed firmly on top and you can cut between them.
Measure and mark where you are going to cut and place a clamped edge guide along your marked lines. Then you can begin cutting your wood.
What Should You Not Do With A Circular Saw?
For best results without a table, there are a few things you should avoid doing. Some of these are for safety reasons and others are so that you can avoid cutting mistakes.
- Do not start without measuring your material twice and marking where you want it cut.
- Do not attempt to follow the line you have drawn without an edge guide to keep it straight unless you are experienced in freehand cuts.
- Do not force down or put a lot of pressure on the saw as this can bow the wood or cause other damage.
- Do not cut through obstructions. This can include nails/screws in the wood or if your saw isn’t properly adjusted, items underneath it.
- Do not set the saw depth too deep. At maximum, it should be no more than ¼” beyond what you are cutting.
- Do not firmly fix the wood you are cutting on both sides. The wood needs flexibility and a way to fall, otherwise, you will face kickback.
- Do not stand directly behind the saw, if it kicks back it will go straight into you.
Can You Use A Circular Saw Freehand?
If you do not have a table it is very common and relatively easy to cut freehand. However, if you are not experienced in doing so and need to make precise cuts, it is not recommended.
As one of the most common tools in a workshop, a circular saw is favored for its versatility. This includes the ability to use the saw freehand without a guide or clamps.
Though a guide and clamp would ensure a much better chance at a straight cut, many find that it is a lot of work to set up when you could just cut the wood right away.
New users of the circular saw may find this challenging at first but freehanding a circular saw is reasonably safe and extremely quick. The more you do it the better you will get and the straighter and more reliable your cuts will get.
However, since you are relying more on your own ability than the guides you set up, it may not be for everyone.
Freehand cuts may be best used for rough cuts where accuracy is not entirely essential. It is also a good way to get it to the rough size before you secure it and make the final cut.
Though this method is much quicker and rougher, you would still need to measure your wood and draw a line which you will do your best to follow.
Though a table or workbench can be preferable for its ease of use on large projects, many people simply do not have one to use. Therefore it is good to take note that there are other ways to use a circular saw productively.
Once you get used to the methods mentioned in this article and have used them a few times, they will come naturally to you and you will be able to use a circular saw wherever you go.
You will also find that almost all types of cuts can be made without the use of a bench or table. This will make you much more effective in your projects and much more adaptable to different situations.
Make sure you review our list of things you should not do, try out the different methods, and find what works best for you.