If you are a beginner woodworker, you might probably be wondering what size circular saw to cut 4x4 lumber. The answer to this question is:
Both 7 1/4-inch and 6 1/2-inch circular saws are capable of cutting 4x4 lumber. However, it needs a special technique in order to cut through lumbers with such thickness as the blade of both saws have depth limits.
Yes, you heard it right! you can actually use your 6 1/2 and a 7 1/4 inch circular saw to cut through thick pieces of lumber such as a 4x4 wood. However, there’s a catch, and that is you need to have a steady hand, and you need to use a special technique in order for it to work.
What Size Circular Saw to Cut 4x4: Circular Saws and Their Cutting Depths
As you probably already know, a circular saw is a powerful tool that is used for cutting various materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and more. It consists of a blade that is mounted on an arbor, and it is powered by an electric motor.
The blade of a circular saw is what does the cutting, and the depth of cut is determined by how much of the blade is exposed.
For example, a 7 1/4-inch circular saw has a depth of cut of 2.5 inches, which means that it can cut through materials that are up to 2 to 2.5 inches thick. Similarly, a 6 1/2 inch circular saw has a depth of cut of 2.18 inches, which means that it can cut through materials that are up to 2.1 inches thick.
So, how is it possible for these saws to cut through 4x4 lumber when their depth of cut is only 2 or 2.5 inches? The answer lies in the fact that you don’t need to cut through the entire thickness of the lumber in order to make a clean cut.
In other words, you only need to make a partial cut through the lumber, and then you can turn it over and make another partial cut from the other side. When you do this, the two partial cuts will meet in the middle, and you will have cut through the entire thickness of the lumber.
This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds.
How to Cut a 4x4 Lengthwise with a circular saw? (Rip Cuts)
As I already mentioned, it is possible to cut a thick wood such as 4x4 with the help of a circular saw but it requires a special technique. Let’s go through the process of cutting a 4x4 lumber with the help of a circular saw step by step:
1. Set the Blade Depth to Maximum
The first thing you need to do is to set the blade of your saw to the desired depth. For this particular project, we will be using a 7 1/4-inch circular saw, and we will be setting the blade to a depth of 2.5 inches.
2. Start Cutting One Side at a Time
Next, you need to make a cut through the lumber. Start the saw and carefully guide it through the lumber until you have made a cut that is about halfway through the thickness of the lumber. Remember to let the blade work through the wood and don’t force the saw downwards. It can only cut through half of its diameter.
Once you have made the first cut, you need to turn the lumber over so that the uncut side is facing up. Now, you need to make another cut through the lumber, and this time, you need to start from the other side. Again, guide the saw through the lumber until you have made a cut that is about halfway through the thickness of the lumber.
3. Follow Through and Split the Piece
When you are done, you will notice that the two partial cuts will meet in the middle, and you will have cut through the entire thickness of the lumber. You can use a hacksaw for this part in case the lumber has still some work left. However, most of the part is already done by your circular saw so you don’t have to worry too much about the precision of the cut
And there you have it! This is how you can use a circular saw to cut through a 4x4 lumber. Just remember to use the proper technique, and to be careful when you are handling the saw. If you do this, then you will have no problem making a clean cut through the lumber.
How to Cut a 4x4 at 45 degrees with a circular saw? (Bevel Cuts)
Next, you might be interested in bevel cuts i.e. at 45 degrees. These types of cuts are important for joining 2 pieces of lumber at 90 degrees. Here’s how you can make a bevel cut with a circular saw:
1. Set the Blade Depth to Maximum
As always, the first thing you need to do is to set the blade of your saw to the desired depth. For this particular project, we will be using a 7 1/4-inch circular saw, and we will be setting the blade to a depth of 2.5 inches.
2. Adjust the Bevel Angle
After setting the blade depth, you need to adjust the bevel angle of the saw. For this particular project, we will be setting the bevel angle to 45 degrees.
3. Start Cutting One Side at a Time
Next, you need to make a cut through the lumber. Start the saw and carefully guide it through the lumber until you have made a cut that is about halfway through the thickness of the lumber.
Once you have made the first cut, you need to turn the lumber over so that the uncut side is facing up. Now, you need to make another cut through the lumber, and this time, you need to start from the other side.
Again, guide the saw through the lumber until you have made a cut that is about halfway through the thickness of the lumber.
4. Follow Through and Split the Piece
After you’ve made the first cut, you’ll notice that the two partial cuts will meet in the middle, and you’ll have cut through the entire thickness of the wood. If the timber has any more work to do, a hacksaw may be used in addition to this step.
Pro Tip: Always use a marker or a pencil to mark your piece before cutting it. This will minimize the risk of making any mistakes.
What is The Best Circular Saw Blade Size to Cut a 4×4?
There is a variety of different blades that can be used effectively with circular saws. However, when it comes to blades that can cut 4x4, there is something that you need to understand.
In order to make it simple, here’s a general rule of thumb that will help you understand how thick of a wood your current blade can cut. Every circular saw blade can cut up to one-third of its size. For example, if you have a saw that is equipped with a 7 1/4 inch blade, it will have a maximum cutting depth of 2.5 (as mentioned earlier).
After applying this rule to different kinds of blades the 6 1/2-inch blade will be able to cut through 2.1 inches thick pieces in one go. Similarly, as the size of the blade increases such as 10 inches can cut up to 3.3 inches.
Only a 12-inch circular saw blade is capable of cutting through a 4x4 post. However, there are a few issues that you will need to keep in mind. The first one is that most circular saws are designed for small blades therefore, you can’t fit a bigger blade without compromising on safety.
Additionally, mounting a larger blade means more surface area and increased weight. Thus it will put too much pressure on the saw’s motor and as a result, it can easily damage it.
So, if you’re looking for the best way to cut a 4x4 with a circular saw then you should use a 12-inch blade. But, make sure that your saw is designed to handle that size of the blade and it can also support the increased weight.
What size circular saw to cut 2x4?
Ok, now you might also be wondering whether you can cut a 2x4 with a circular saw or not. And if yes, then what size circular saw can cut a 2x4 in one go? The answer to this question is:
A circular saw that is 6-inches and above will be able to cut through a 2x4 both at 45-degree angle as well as at 90 degrees. However, a smaller saw can only cut through the same 2x4 at 90 degrees. This is because the area of the cross-section changes as the angle is shifted from 90 to 45.
However, as mentioned earlier, there are ways to cut thicker pieces of wood with circular saws by cutting them side by side. By following this method you can cut through a 2x4 with any size of a circular saw.
Things You Should Keep In Mind While Cutting a 4x4 with a Circular Saw
When you’re working with a circular saw, there are always certain safety concerns that you need to keep in mind. Here are some things that you should keep in mind while cutting through a 4x4 with your circular saw:
- Make sure that the saw is properly secured on the workbench before starting the cut.
- Always use a guide when cutting with a circular saw. This will help you make straighter cuts.
- Be extra careful while making the cuts. A 4x4 is a thick piece of lumber, and it can be easy to lose control of the saw if you’re not careful.
- Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from sawdust and wood chips.
- Use a dust mask to avoid inhaling any fumes from the saw or the wood.
- Always unplug the saw before changing the blade.
- Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the saw.
- Keep your fingers away from the blade at all times.
- Use a push stick or a jig to help push the wood through the blade if necessary.
- Be careful not to overheat the saw. If it starts to smoke, unplug it and let it cool down before continuing.
Cutting through a 4x4 with a circular saw can be a challenging task. But if you follow the above-mentioned tips, you can do it safely and easily.
Apart from that, I would suggest you use a miter saw with a 12 inch blade for better results. It is because circular saws are designed to be handy and are not that powerful. If you have a miter saw then it will be easier for you to make cuts at different angles.
So what size circular saw to cut 4x4? I’ve already answered this question in detail. But to conclude the above information. A 7 1/4 inch circular saw can best cut the 4x4. But, it is not recommended to cut a 4x4 with a circular saw.
The better option would be to use a miter saw or a table saw. These are more powerful and can easily make cuts through the 4x4. So, if you’re looking for the best way to cut a 4x4 then I would suggest you use a miter saw or a table saw.
I hope this article was helpful and you were able to find the answer to your question. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
I would be happy to help.
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