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How to Cut a Straight Line With a Circular Saw

Cutting a Straight Line With Circular Saw

Have you ever tried to cut a straight line with a circular saw? You make a pencil line on your plywood, but despite your effort to have the blade follow the line, it wanders away from it? This is the hassle we’ve all encountered. At the end of the day, we realized we’ve just wasted our time, energy, and even plywood.

The truth is, a circular saw isn’t good at moving in a straight line, unlike some other saws.  And when we try to force them on track, they bind up.

Here, in this guide, we look at four major ways you can effortlessly make a straight cut with your circular saw.

What is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a cutting tool with a rotating blade. A circular saw is a tool for cutting many materials such as wood, masonry, plastic, or metal. In woodworking the term “circular saw” refers specifically to the hand-held type and the table saw and chop saw are other common forms of circular saws.

Types of Circular Saw Cuts

This guide focuses on making three types of cuts: rip cuts, crosscuts, and miter cuts.

Rip Cuts: cuts made along the length of the wood

Cross Cuts: as the name implies, a cut made across the width of the wood

Miter Cuts: diagonal cuts, meaning that they’re neither along the plywood’s length or width.

How to Make Straight Cuts with a Circular Saw

Saws don’t generally come with a fence, meaning that you have to use them freehand. Using a saw freehand makes it difficult to make straight cuts. Hence, it’s important to invest in a fence or cutting guide.

Here are four typical ways to make straight cuts with a circular saw:

Speed Square

The importance of learning the ‘speed square’ method of cutting a straight line with a circular saw is that it is useful for other shop chores. This method is simple and more suitable for making shortcuts.

Speed Square Straight Line Cut Steps 

  • Measure the piece of wood to cut and make marks of the line to cut
  • Set the saw on the workpiece, along with the marks
  • Set the speed square against the base plate of your saw
  • Pressing the base plate of your saw against the square, make your cut

Where Is A Speed Square Useful?

This method is more useful when making rip cuts and crosscuts, especially when the cuts are shorter than the length of the speed square. You can also use this method when making 45-degree miter cuts.

Crosscut Jig

A jig or circular saw cutting guide is a useful method for making precise miter cuts and crosscuts.

Typically, you’ll need a larger piece of wood to act as a base for the jig and serve as a guide for the saw blade. Also, this method requires that you glue a narrow piece of wood to the larger one. This serves as a fence for the base plate of the saw.

Depending on the length of cut you want to make, you can make a jig of your desired length.

Crosscut Jig Steps

  • Measure the piece to cut and make marks
  • Position the jig that its edge is on the marks you just made and fasten
  • Position the saw that its base plate presses against the fence
  • Make your cut

Where Is A Crosscut Jig Useful?

This method is useful when making miter cuts and crosscuts. However, it’s worth noting that how far the cut can go depends on the length of the cutting guide.

Kreg Rip-Cut

One excellent tool for cutting a straight line with a circular saw is using the Kreg Rip-Cut. This tool comes with most popular circular saws and is available as an aftermarket accessory for your saw. The fence of this tool presses against the edge of the workpiece and guides the blade of the saw when making a cut.

Kreg Rip-Cut Steps

  • Measure and make marks on the workpiece to cut
  • Set the fence of the Kreg Rip-Cut that the blade is on the line to cut
  • Using the handle of the Rip-Cut, press the fence against the wood as you
  • Make the cut

When Is a Kreg Rip-Cut Useful?

This method of cutting straight lines with a circular saw is useful when making repetitive cuts and cuts up to 24” wide.

Kreg Accu-Cut

This is a similar method to the Kreg Rip-Cut but different in its usefulness for cutting any width board. With this method, you can turn your circular saw into a track saw. This method provides your saw with a track to ride on.

This method works similarly to the Rip-Cut method. The only difference is that Accut-Cut comes with anti-slip guide strips, which eliminates the need for clamping your Accut-Cut in position.  Giving the blade a straight line to follow, Accut-Cut makes it easy to make straight cuts with your circular saw.


  • Measure the piece to cut and mark the line to cut
  • Set the Accut-Cut that its edge is on the line
  • Set the saw on the track
  • Make the cut

Where Is It Useful?

Using the Accut-Cut to cut a straight line with a circular saw is useful when making long straight rip cuts and crosscuts and making miter cuts of any degree.


Making a straight cut with a circular saw freehand is usually a nightmare, as it’s not meant to make such a cut on its own. However, with the right fence or cutting guide, you can seemingly cut a straight line with your circular saw. This piece has provided you with four ways to make this happen.

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