how to cut thick wood with circular saw

How To Cut Thick Wood With Circular Saw? – Woodworking Tips 2023

When cutting thick wood, a circular saw is a handyman’s go-to tool. However, most standard circular saws aren’t designed to cut all the way through a thick wood stock. Even if the blade reaches that length, you won’t be able to cut a large stock in a single pass.

That’s why you will notice woodworkers cut from different sides. However, it’s not that easy as it looks. Let me show you how you can do it accurately.

Cutting A  6×6 Stock With A Circular Saw

Most of the wood stocks out there are usually 4×6, which are usually square enough cut on all sides. If the wood piece you are working with has a short 12″ stretch, you can put a steel square on it to act as a guide.

If you cut around all the sides, you can make a good cut using a circular saw. Make sure to mark all the sides with a pencil and the square. The marking phase is the most important since it will tell you if the lumber is good or bad.

If the markings of the pencil don’t line up on all four sides when you come around to the beginning, you will be able to tell the condition of the stock. If it’s bad lumber, you can fix the markings later on.

  1. First, mark the cut location.
  2. Use a rafter square and pencil to extend the marking line around the post.
  3. Keep on rotating the stock as needed and line up the square from where you have started.
  4. Make sure to transfer the line on all four sides.
  5. Now, take out your circular saw and set the cutting depth to its maximum setting.
  6. Align the saw blade with the cut line. Don’t start the saw just yet.
  7. Take your rafter square and position it against the shoe. This will act as a guide for the saw.
  8. Keep the saw shoe firmly seated with the square for maximum accuracy during the cut.
  9. Make the first cut. Now, rotate the stock after the first cut and align the blade again using the kerf from the previous cut.
  10. Repeat step 9, and make sure to use your rafter square to align the blade.

At this point, you have cut on all four sides using a circular saw. Before starting the second cut, don’t start cutting from the inside of the kerf. Pull the saw back a little and start the saw, and then cut along the kerf.

If it’s a large material, there will be some uncut wood left at the center. At this point, you can use a reciprocating, or a hand saw with a long blade. Now, complete the cut.

And that’s how you cut a thick wood a circular saw.

Now, we are not done just yet. What if the stock is a 3-inches thick? Wood-like, this is big, heavy, and harder to cut with a circular saw.

Rules For Cutting Thick Woods

It’s really common to get burns and less-than-stellar cuts unless you’re using the right blade. For example, if you make a rip cut using a 50-tooth combination blade, you can make some decent cuts on ½-inch, four-quarter, or even anything like two inches thick.

This type of blade is sufficient for general purpose cutting, ripping, cross-cutting, and all that. But this type of blade really reaches its limits when you introduce twelve-quarter lumber.

That type of stock is so thick and dense the blade will meet its match when you are trying to cut. If you attempt to cut a thick stock like this one, you will have a hard time. Obviously, you will get a lot of resistance.

That’s not the only problem. The cut won’t be clean either. You will get a lot of burn marks too. That’s just kind of the way it goes when you use a blade with that many teeth to make a rip cut to that thick wood.

Lesser Is Better

To achieve a clean cut without any burn marks, you will need to swap out the blade, and you will see a huge difference. Make sure to use a dedicated ripping blade.  A dedicated ripping blade has an aggressive forward rake with deep grooves between the teeth.

Also, it has fewer teeth than you might be thinking. For example, your ideal rip-cutting blade only needs to have a 24-tooth count. Seriously, this is the type of blade you want to use if you’re going to be ripping hardwoods, and you want to get a nice crisp, clean cuts.

The cut will go really fluid with less resistance. The best part is that there won’t be any burn marks. This is really a testament to the reason to use a dedicated ripping blade, especially when you are dealing with thick hardwoods.

Alternative Methods

What if you don’t have a ripping blade? One trick you might be thinking of doing is maybe taking that cut in a couple of passes. What I mean by that is you start with the blade just an inch or so above the table, and you make the cut.

You raise the blade a little bit more, and you make the cut again. After that, you raise the blade the final amount and make that final cut.

What that does is it puts a lot less stress on your tools and on that blade. As you push, you don’t feel like you’re fighting that board nearly as much. You might reduce the number of burns and stuff you’re going to get.

That is what I thought too, but it doesn’t work that way. There is a reason why there are dedicated circular saw rip cutting blades.

Final Words

Follow the steps mentioned above if you want to make the cut a lot easier. Also, the better way to go about this is just using a ripping blade. And now you know how to how to cut thick wood with a circular saw.

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