Usually, we take out the circular saw when the task at hand is rough and the precision is not in priority. Even so, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do a precise 45-degree angle cut – it just requires a little more knowledge and preparations.
In this article you will learn how to cut 45 degree angle with circular saw, which is necessary during many applications of woodwork or carpentry, such as the production of wooden boxes or the installation of window trims.
The 45-degree angle cut made by a circular saw usually belongs to one of the two generic types: the bevel cut and the miter cut.
To successfully perform either of them we will make use of:
- a wood we’ll be cutting
- a circular saw
- some clamps
- carpenter’s pencil
- sandpaper (or a file)
- speed square
Additionally, you might need some protective gear, retractable tape, masking tape, and an additional wood board to put underneath – it will protect your table in case the saw goes in too deep.
You can also use a dust collection port since some unnecessary particles are bound to fly around when you cut wood with a circular saw.
- How to do a 45-degree Bevel cut
- Measure a cut line and mark it
- Adjust the depth of a cut and the saw’s bevel
- Clean up the resulting cut
- How to cut 45 degree angle with circular saw
- Mark a Cutting Line
- Place a Speed Square in Position and Clamp It
- Pick the Desired Saw Blade Depth
- Perform a Cut
- Sand the Surface
- Compound Miter
- How to Do a Cut in Angle Different From 45 degrees
- Bevel Cuts Different From 45 Degrees
- How do you cut a perfect angle with a circular saw?
- How do you miter cut a 45 degree baseboard with a circular saw
- Some advice that works with most circular saws
How to do a 45-degree Bevel cut
A bevel cut is best used when you need to form a clean and tight corner, like when a baseboard is being installed, when you’re building a cabinet box, or doing a window trim. The resulting cut will have great aesthetics as long as it’s done correctly.
The best tool for doing bevel angular cuts is a compound miter saw, but a circular saw can work as well. For a bevel to be as accurate as possible, you need to place a guide on top of the wood with some clamps on top so it won’t wobble or slip afterward.
Measure a cut line and mark it
The first step is to make ourselves a marking to see where we’ll cut the wood piece. Marking can be easily done by using a speed square.
Choose where you will be doing a cut and mark a straight line until you can see it clearly. After this, you put the speed square aside for a moment and place the circular saw onto the wood surface.
There are two separate lines on the shoe of a circular saw – one for a 0-degree cut and another one for a 45-degree. We will use the latter since cut a 45-degree bevel is what we’re aiming for. Line it up with a marking you drew earlier.
Now you need to support the shoe with a speed square and clamp it in place. It must be right next to the line you drew before and will serve as a guide while cutting a 45-degree angle. Make sure it stays in one place firmly and doesn’t move even when pressed on.
Adjust the depth of a cut and the saw’s bevel
Use a depth adjusting lever to set the angle of the bevel to 45 degrees. Tighten it after the angle is set. One last step of preparation is to set the depth of a blade. It must stick out just slightly below the surface you’re cutting on.
The depth doesn’t matter too much if you’re okay with making a rough cut but can help a lot if you want to do it cleanly.
Now all that’s left is to make a cut – line up the circular saw against the edge of the square and start moving it. Don’t rush with the process so there won’t be any slip of the hand. Make sure that the square is aligned well with the base plate throughout the entire process.
You must be especially careful when cutting is almost done since this is a part where the circular saw has the highest chance to rebound.
Clean up the resulting cut
After the bevel angle cut is done, there will be a lot of little splinters on top of it. Use a piece of sandpaper or a file to sand the edge and get rid of them. Now you got yourself a clean 45-degree bevel cut.
This is a process for cross-cutting, but you might as well use the circular saw to make a rip cut following the same procedure. The only difference is that you would need a longer cutting guide. A rip fence and a straight edge guide are suitable for this task.
How to cut 45 degree angle with circular saw
Miter cut is more suitable when it comes to making doors, decks, windows, boxes, or picture frames.
Just as with the bevel cut, the secret is to fix your saw with a clamped guide. This allows you to keep the cutting process in check until it’s finished.
The process steps are similar to making a bevel cut as well. The difference lies in the angle of the circular saw itself – now it will be 0 degrees instead of 45.
Mark a Cutting Line
Same as before, use a speed square to draw a line you are planning to cut through. It’s easy to pick a 45-degree since it’s usually the exact angle of the speed square’s edge.
Place a Speed Square in Position and Clamp It
Place the saw on a working table and line it up with the 0-degree indicator on the shoe (a saw base plate that any circular saw has). Butt in the speed square right next to it, then place a clamp so it doesn’t move.
Pick the Desired Saw Blade Depth
This time we will be cutting perpendicular to the surface, so there is no need to choose the bevel angle – any of them will do. You can slide back the saw blade guard to set the right depth. Normally it should stick out 1/4 –inch lower than the bottom of a wooden surface.
Perform a Cut
Carefully line the saw’s edge is lined up with the speed square. Now turn on the saw and guide it while cutting material. At first, the blade guard might have some resistance, so you will need to push the guard carefully to retract it.
Sand the Surface
After the cut is done, remove unnecessary particles using either a wooden file or a piece of sandpaper.
Compound Miter is a separate way of cutting during which you do both the bevel angle cuts and miter cuts simultaneously. This will be resulting in a surface that has an angle on two of its edges. This way of using a circular saw is also called doing compound miter cuts.
The procedure for a compound miter cut is the same as described above, but this time you will need to choose both angles before you start cutting, while previously one of them could be neglected.
It’s also recommended to adjust the depth of the blade after you set up the bevel angle. The reason for it is that the higher the bevel angle is set, the lower the blade depth will become – that’s why you are setting it up afterward to not do the same adjustments twice.
As its name might suggest, a compound miter saw is the best for this kind of work, but even if you don’t have one – you can still make this cut by using a circular saw as an alternative. Most likely you won’t get the same precision as if you would use the miter saw, but the result will be just good enough.
The angles might vary but in the simplest case, you do both miter cuts and bevel cuts at the same 45 degree angle. In fact, you can choose any angle as long as your saw’s adjustments enable it so it depends mostly on the tool that is used.
How to Do a Cut in Angle Different From 45 degrees
There are two different methods of doing a miter cut depending on the angle you’ve chosen. We choose one by checking if the angle is bigger or lesser than 90 degrees.
Don’t forget that in a cut the blade is at 90 degrees, so you only alter the angle where the wood’s edge is placed at.
If the angle is lower than 90, then you stick to the previous procedure, but the step where you draw the line is slightly different. You need to rotate the speed square around its pivot point (which stays in one place) until it starts peeking out of the desk’s edge at the angle you’ve decided on.
To check what the current square’s angle is, you need to look at its slanted side where all the available angles are marked. After you’ve aligned a mark with the wood’s edge, you can start drawing a line and following the steps mentioned before.
At first, it might be a bit hard to define an angle on a speed square – in this case, you can replace it with a protractor and return to using the square later when the time will come to do the cut.
Usually, the speed square has a scale up to 90 degrees, so using it for bigger angles is a bit tricky.
In case you need an angle that exceeds 90 degrees, you need to subtract 90 from it, then rotate the wood board (don’t flip it) and make a cut as usual, but from the other side of the cut line. The 45-degree cut from one side would be a 135-degree cut from another. Other steps remain the same.
Bevel Cuts Different From 45 Degrees
Bevel Cut has three variations depending on the angle the saw cuts at. They include less than 45 degrees, from 45 to 90 degrees, and more than 90 degrees.
In any case, you need to adjust the blade angle. To do it, you need to loosen the screw that is holding the angle guide, until the blade can freely sway from its position. Use the markings on an angle guide to adjust the blade.
Note the offset distance between the saw’s base plate and the edge of the blade, then transfer this distance to the wood you’ll be cutting. Place a speed square next to the blade so they both align with the cutting line. Use clamps to make it steady as usual.
After you made sure that the wood piece is fixed in place, you can do an entire cut until the wood is separated into two pieces.
Don’t apply too much pressure so the saw won’t bend. Otherwise, your work might end up with extra cost for reparations in the better scenario.
When you’re finished, use the sanding paper on a freshly-made cut until it’s smooth. When you cut a 45 degree bevel angle, the process is pretty straightforward as there is nothing more to it.
If the angle is more than 45 but less than 90 degrees, then you will need to cut twice, since most saws aren’t able to tilt this much. The first cut angle is calculated as (N-45), where N is the full size of the angle you wanted.
When the first cut is completed, place the saw on another side of the wood and move the saw again with a blade placed perpendicularly to the previous cut mark.
If the angle is more than 90 degrees, then the principle is the same – this time you need to flip the wooden block upside down and switch to an N-90 angle with a circular saw.
How do you cut a perfect angle with a circular saw?
If you want to cut perfect angles circular saws are an essential tool. Before you start using the saw, you must make sure the blade is in good shape and that you’ve got a miter gauge for precision cuts.
Always examine the blade of the circular saw to make sure that it’s in good shape prior to commencing any work.
Sharp blades can cut more easily and cut down your time that you need to dedicate to a project. Follow these steps to make your circular saw more sharp remove the cover and expose the blade and then use a file, or sandpaper to get rid of any marks or burrs that are in the area of the saw.
If your circular saw has been properly sharpened it can easily cut through wood and will last for many years.
With a circular saw, you can easily cut perfect degree angles if you know how to use a miter gauge. Place the saw on the miter gauge so that the blade is at a degree angle to the wood. Then, adjust your wheel till it is locked into its position.
Then slowly slide the saw in the direction of the cuts you’ve created, making sure you keep the saw perpendicular to your board. For greater accuracy, be patient in calculating each angle, and make sure the cuts you make are precise.
How do you miter cut a 45 degree baseboard with a circular saw
Some advice that works with most circular saws
Start adjusting the circular saw blade depth of the blade from the lowest point possible.
Keep both hands on the saw while cutting – with a stronger grip you will get more control in the case it kicks back, and it will be easier to guide the direction the saw moves in.
Don’t cut straight where the line is drawn – move the saw outside a little so there will be an extra layer of wood after you’re done.
Use a led light when doing miter cuts – this way you won’t have any trouble seeing the cut line. This will make the task of taking a 45 degree angle with a circular saw a lot easier.
This additional layer can always be sanded down, but if the opposite happened and you cut in too much – it won’t be possible to return the wood back to its place.
The circular saw comes with a framing blade, but it’s better to use a sharp ‘finish’ blade since it prevents splintering and the resulting cut will be cleaner.
Don’t use excessive force so you can avoid creating pinch points that could damage the saw, as well as yourself.
If the saw went out of line, after all – don’t try to get it back in place since it’s too risky.
Read also our article How to Cut Wood Slices With Chainsaw – Ultimate Guide.
Now we learned how to cut 45 degree angle with circular saw. We also figured out the difference between the angular bevel and miter cuts – let’s sum it up.
Before cutting wood, you need to decide on what type of cut you need since the procedures of doing them slightly vary. Don’t place the saw on a work surface directly so you won’t damage it.
Measure and mark the cut line you’ll be following, but don’t force the saw blade back in case it got driven away for some reason. Add clamps to make sure the saw blade is steady and has a perfect alignment with a cut line.
Making miter cuts means you’ll be adjusting the angle of the blade, while bevel cut adjusts the position of the wood board itself. Sometimes those can be combined and used simultaneously.
When you started cutting, be careful of a knockback the table saws can produce from time to time. Make use of a speed square to both hold the saw blade in place and make sure the angle is right. Use sandpaper to clean the surface afterward.
And with this, you now know everything you’d need to use a circular saw for doing angled cuts. Good luck in putting this knowledge to use!