The circular saw may be one of the most versatile tools around. It can cut through drywall, pipes, and smaller pieces of lumber.
However, when it comes to cutting a 4×4 with a handsaw, it becomes difficult to get a straight edge. Why? Because the board has to be perfect for it to fit together seamlessly with other boards.
Today, we will walk you through how to cut a 4×4 with a circular saw.
What You'll Learn...
- 1 What You’ll Need
- 2 Cutting 4x4s with a Circular Saw
- 3 What Size Circular Saw Do I Need to Cut 4x4s?
- 4 How to Cut Already Mounted 4×4 Posts with a Circular Saw
- 4.1 1) Remove the wood screws or nails attached to the wood
- 4.2 2) Rest the circular saw blade on the wood
- 4.3 3) Cut the wood down the middle of your board, keeping the circular saw power cord underneath
- 4.4 4) Continue making these cuts until you’ve got a few pieces down your 4×4 that are 1×8 in size
What You’ll Need
- Circular Saw
- 4×4 Board
- Drill with a 1/8″ diameter bit, putty knife, or utility knife.
- Clamps to secure board while cutting
- Two sawhorses or other sturdy wooden surfaces
- Tape measure to measure the length of lumber
- Marking pen, pencil, or chalk to mark the cut line
Cutting 4x4s with a Circular Saw
Cutting 4x4s with a circular saw is a very simple technique. Just follow the instructions below, and you’ll be off to the races!
1) Mark the cut line on the board to be cut.
Lay down a length of masking tape along the mark, and then draw a second mark parallel to it. This represents the blade of your circular saw.
2) Set your circular saw for the same depth of cut as you would on a table saw
This is usually just over 1/4-inch for plywood or hard woods and about 3/4-inch for soft woods.
3) Make the initial cut.
Make sure your safety goggles are secure, turn the saw on, and then move it slowly along the tape line of your mark. Stop every few inches to clean up any splinters or tear-out that may have occurred.
TIP: If your cut is not perfectly straight, you can use a chisel or a router to clean up the edges of your board. You may want to clamp down a stop block at one end of your board to make the second cut similarly quickly.
4) Make subsequent cuts.
Once you have made the first cut and cleaned up any pieces of wood that may be torn off, place the stop block at your second mark to begin the second cut in a similar fashion.
It may take some time to make all of these cuts, but once you gain experience, you will be able to make clean and straight cuts much quicker.
You can also use this saw for cutting more complex shapes such as triangles or circles. Always make sure that you have a firm grip on your circular saw and that you are not cutting above your line of sight. If you can’t see the line, it is easy for your saw’s blade to slip and cause injury.
Also, keep the blade sharp, so it cuts quickly without splintering the wood.
Circular saws are also helpful in ripping 4x4s into smaller boards by using a straightedge and guide track in place of a stop block or tape. You may want to use a rip fence and guide track if you are cutting boards bigger than your saw.
What Size Circular Saw Do I Need to Cut 4x4s?
A 24-inch blade is the most effective size for cutting 4x4s because the teeth are large enough to grip the wood properly. If you have a smaller blade, the blade will be unable to cut through the wood, so you may need to adjust the length of the saw.
The 20-inch saw is best for cutting sheet lumber and cedar. This size saw can cut sheet lumber that’s only 3/4 inches thick, but it lacks enough power to cut 4x4s. It also won’t be able to handle 5/8-inch plywood.
It’s worth noting that some models of circular saws can handle plywood better than others. Look for their label to see if they have a 4×4 capability. This will usually be printed on the blade.
How to Cut Already Mounted 4×4 Posts with a Circular Saw
Cutting a 4×4 that’s already mounted in place vertically is no easy task with a circular saw. The wood is too tall to cut and hold in place, there’s too much material to make solid cuts through, and it can be tricky to safely feed the blade of your circular saw all the way through.
However, finding a 4×4 that’s already mounted in place should make cutting through it and cutting smaller pieces much easier since all you have to do is use a circular saw as a regular jigsaw. This section will show you how to cut the wood piece in half using your circular saw.
1) Remove the wood screws or nails attached to the wood
Removing nails from wood is simple. You can do this with a flathead screwdriver, but we recommend using a power drill. Place an edge of your circular saw blade against your board’s two most outer edges, then place your power drill about midway between those edges.
2) Rest the circular saw blade on the wood
Place the circular saw power cord underneath the wood to keep it from lifting. Place your wood block on top of the edge of your work surface, again with the power cord underneath.
Hold down one handle of your circular saw in one hand and place the of your circular saw’s blade on top of this handle.
Now you can start cutting using a regular circular saw instead of trying to cut a piece that’s not flat against its surface.
3) Cut the wood down the middle of your board, keeping the circular saw power cord underneath
Because the circular saw cut is already made, you won’t have to worry about cutting through the board’s thickness.
4) Continue making these cuts until you’ve got a few pieces down your 4×4 that are 1×8 in size
You can continue using this process to cut up all 4x of these boards into smaller pieces. Often, you can use 2x4s to build the structure of your home, but if you ever have a 4×4 lying around, you know how to take it apart.