If it is your first time purchasing a circular saw and you intend to use it to cut 4×4, you might get confused about which circular saw size is best for cutting 4×4. Of course, circular saws come in various sizes ranging from 3-11/32″ to 14″, and not all sizes can cut 4×4. Besides, the sizing of the circular saw refers to the size of the saw blades that fit the circular saw. The size of the diameter of the saw blade will also dictate the depth of cut the circular saw can produce.
For example, if you got a 7-1/2″ circular saw, the maximum depth of cut it can produce is 2-3/4z” (190mm). Hence, with such a circular saw, you can’t cut well a 4×4 on a single pass. On the other hand, a 10-3/4″ can cut a maximum depth of 3-13/16″. Yet, it can’t cut a 4×4 on a single pass. This fact leaves us with the 12″ and 14” circular saws. The 12” can cut a depth of 4″, which means you can barely cut the 4×4 using the 12″ circular saw.
Some circular saws, however, can accommodate larger circular saw blades. But if you try to fit your standard saw with a larger saw blade, there is always a danger that the motor might get overloaded which might prove detrimental to the life of the circular saw. Moreover, you need to adjust the circular saw, like getting the guard retracted to accommodate the larger saw blade. Such adjustments, however, might increase safety risks and put you at risk of injuries.
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Cutting 4×4 Using a Standard-size Circular Saw
The most commonly used circular saw is the 7-1/4″ circular saw, which got a 2-1/2″ cutting depth. As such, it is incapable of cutting the 4×4 in one pass. Hence, it will help if you make several passes to cut the 4×4 completely. Although doing this might compromise quality and end up with mismatched edges, you can still have an excellent cut using this method if you know how to do it right. But before you engage in this method, you must have a pencil and speed square ready.
It will also help to clamp the workpiece firmly. You can rest the workpiece on both sides. However, you should ensure that the workpiece is level and is near the area you will cut. Then, measure and make your cutline.
It will help if you utilize the speed square to mark the four sides of the 4×4. Ensure that all your lines meet at the correct angles. Ensure likewise that the saw blade is squared with the shoe plate. Afterward, you do the first pass. Then, turn the timber and make the next pass. Moreover, you can turn it over again and make the third or fourth pass.
The circular saw will have a notch to indicate where the saw blade will make its pass. You might not make a clean cut on your first try, for this type of cut requires a learning curve. So, it will help if you practice getting the hang of it.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cutting 4×4 with Circular Saw
Aside from knowing the simple steps when cutting 4×4 using the circular saw, I think it will also help if you familiarize yourself with the FAQs when cutting 4×4 using the circular saw:
What are the Better Ways to cut 4×4?
Portability and ease of use are the two primary characteristics of circular saws. Other power saws are bench-mounted for larger tasks. Besides, you also have other options when you use your circular saw to cut 4×4. Your first option, of course, is to make several passes using your ordinary and standard circular saw. You can also use a beam saw, miter saw, or other types of saws. Lastly, you can fit your circular saw with a larger saw blade.
Aside from the Circular Saw, Which Other Saws Can I Use to Cut a 4×4?
The circular saw might not be the best power saw to cut 4×4. Aside from this saw, you can also use other power saws like the jigsaw, chainsaw, reciprocating saw, miter saw, table saw, and bandsaw. You can also use a hand saw for this purpose.
The ideal saw, of course, to cut a 4×4 is a 12-inch miter saw, or a 10-inch radial saw. You can also use a slide saw, which is perfect for making such a cut.
You can also use other instruments like the handsaws and reciprocating saws. Nevertheless, you should never be remiss about the safety protocols when using whatever tools. Ensure that you follow these protocols to always be on the safe side.
Is Beam Saw Perfect for Cutting 4×4?
Circular saw innovations have not yet reached their pinnacle, and at present, it is still innovating. At present, for example, SKILSAW and Makita have rolled out circular saws referred to as “beam saws.” The beam saws are extensive, with 16-3/16″ saw blades. These saws are also weighty. The SKILSAW version, for example, is 27 pounds.
So, if you want a tool that could cut 4×4, you can use these beam saws, and they might be your best options at hand, for the beam saws are designed for cutting thicker materials. Since they got this unique design, they are also equipped with safety features.
The circular saw might be one of the handiest tools you can use to cut wood. Yet, it is also not designed to cut thicker materials like 4×4. So, you need to improvise if you want to cut 4×4 using your standard circular saw. Moreover, as mentioned above, you can use the beam saw to cut 4×4 with ease and with less risk.
However, if you are adamant about cutting 4×4 using your standard circular saw, you can always follow the simple steps mentioned above. You can make several passes to ensure that you completely cut 4×4 using your standard circular saw. Yet, as discussed above, you need to do several practices to get the hang of it and achieve a better result.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker and carpenter who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.