How to Cut a Straight Line with a Circular Saw

How to Cut a Straight Line with a Circular Saw: The Methods

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It is not easy to handle a circular saw. Yes, you have the control, but when that thing starts, it takes up a life of its own. You need some sort of expertise or guide to be able to cut straight lines or edges. People usually ask how to cut a straight line with a circular saw and they are often answered vaguely.

Hence, we will provide you with two simple methods that you can follow to create accurate cuts with a circular saw.

How to Cut a Straight Line with a Circular Saw: The Suggested Methods

Method One: Freehand

For this method, you will be needing the following:

  • Longboards
  • Sawhorses
  • Circular Saw
  • Two screw nails (the width of your cutting board)
  • Pencil
  • Combination Square
  • Drilling Machine

The Steps

Securing the Board

Before you start cutting, you must make sure that your board is stable by securing your cutting board to the sawhorses. You can do such with the help of nails. Just drill or hammer one nail on each side of the board, making sure that the nails are not placed or are away from the wanted cutting line.

Creating a Guideline

Cutting a straight line will never be possible without a guide. Hence, use a pencil and a combination square to draw a parallel cutting line on the cutting board.

Positioning Your Finger

Apart from the drawn guide, the proper position of your finger that will guide the saw is also vital. For this, place your finger on the wide part of the circular saw’s shoe and away from the blade. Gently press the shoe between your first finger and thumb. You must also make sure that the distance from the uncut wood and the saw is one inch.

Cutting the Wood

Recheck if the saw is properly aligned with the guide that you have made. If it is, then, switch on the saw and use your finger as a guide for the saw to cut along the guideline that you made.

Some Tips to Consider

  • If you notice that your saw is going off track, stop and start again at least six inches before the point that you started to wander.
  • Ensure that you keep cutting past the line or edge to have a perfect end to the straight line; otherwise, the ending will get messed up.
  • Do not work with this method if your finger will be too close to the blade or if your board is not smooth.

Method Two: Using A Saw Guide

For this, you will need the following:

  • Saw Guide or Straight Edge (bought or DIY) made from plywood or MDF
  • Circular Saw
  • Base made of hardboard, MDF or plywood
  • Screws
  • Glue
  • Wood Clamps
  • Chalk or Pencil
  • Combination Square

Creating a DIY Saw Guide

Here is a way to make your saw guide just in case you are running short of cash since for this, you just need to use leftover materials

  • Draw a straight line four to five inches away from the edge of one side of the plywood.
  • Following the line you made, cut the plywood.
  • Turn the cut edge upside down to place one end in the center.
  • Screw the two pieces but make sure that none of the parts are shorter or smaller than the other.
  • Use your circular saw to cut off all of the extra inches to ensure that the two pieces are of the same size.

The Steps


Place the saw guide over the base. Make sure that they are of the same lengths. If not, cut off the extra length of the longer material.

Guideline Creation

With the help of the combination square and a pencil, make a measured cutting line.


Place the guide on this line and use the clamp to secure the guide on to the cutting board.


Place the circular saw along the guide and start cutting by using the guide to keep you on track.


As you can see from above, the methods on how to cut a straight line with a circular saw are both quite easy to follow depending on how experienced you are.

The first method is for experts and takes about five minutes to make the straight line. The second method is for amateurs or people who do not have time for mistakes. The saw guide method takes approximately 30 minutes even if you have to construct the saw guide yourself.

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