Here’s a grab bag of tips to better cuts with your circular saw.
While there’s a cutting guide on your saw’s baseplate, don’t rely on it for finer cuts. Watch the actual cut instead. On some good saws, a section of the blade guard has been removed, so you can watch the blade bite the wood. If you don’t have this, lean over a bit, so you can see the leading edge of the blade where it meets the line.
A tip. For fine work, remember which side of the line your blade should be on.
To avoid splinters as the cutoff piece falls, speed up your cut at the very end of the cut, or support the piece so it doesn’t fall completely away.
To make a good 90-degree cross-cut, place a triangular rafter square on the wood, with the lip on the far side. Slide the saw’s baseplate along the straight edge of the square.
While a rip fence is a great accessory to help you cut long cuts along the grain, you can use other methods for rough carpentry. Lock a pair of locking pliers to the saw’s baseplate, so they glide along the edge of the board you’re cutting. Or position your hand at the leading corner of the baseplate to keep it a set distance from the edge of the wood. (As we mentioned last time, you should try and hold the saw with two hands whenever possible, so use this technique sparingly.)
If your saw blade will only adjust to 45 degrees, you can still cut greater angles by lifting up the saw’s baseplate. By placing scrap stock of various thicknesses under the baseplate, you can adjust the angle.