How To Use A Circular Saw Without A Table? [3 Methods]

You can easily cut large sheets with a circular saw without a table. That’s right. It can be done if you know how to use your tool properly.

Most woodworkers prefer to make freehand cuts meaning the circular saw is only being guided by their hands. The better you are at that, the straighter you cut will be.

This method is great for rough and fast cuts. However, this could be your finished cut, and all of it depends on how clean you need the cut to be.

You can always take that cut piece to your table saw and make a final pass to clean things up. What if you don’t have a table saw?

This is where things might get a bit tricky. In this article, I’m going to show you three effective methods you can follow so that you can make the most use of your circular saw without a table.


Cutting Large Sheets With A Circular Saw Without A Table

Here are three options for cutting large sheets of plywood and other material using a circular saw, even if you don’t have a table to work with.

Tools You Will Need

  1. A circular saw
  2. Safety goggles, earplugs, and gloves
  3. Straight edges/thin chalk line

When it comes to straight edges, a four- or six-foot level works great. You can also use straight, long pieces of 1×1. If you have a really long eight-foot rip cut to make you can use a thin chalk line to snap a cut line.

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Method 1: The Free Hand

The first method I’m going to talk about is the freehand method. This is great for rough, fast cuts. You can use this method for cutting stuff like subfloors, wall sheathings, or for finished plywood.

The freehand method is great when you are trying to size it down before you take it to the table saw for the finished cut. Here are the steps to follow.

  • Start off by simply measuring and marking two reference points at your desired dimension on both sides of the plywood.
  • Then, take a straight edge, connect the two points by drawing a line and make the cut.
  • At this point, you can start cutting along the line using your circular saw.
  • It’s a great way to size big sheets down. It also helps to eliminate the burden of trying to crosscut these big sheets at the table saw.

That being said, the next methods are also going to help you size big sheets down that may or may not be cut again later.

Method 2: Using A Guide

the second option we’re going to look at incorporates the use of a guide. As you know, guides are a powerful tool in woodworking and carpentry because they help to keep the saw cutting straight, which produces a very similar cut then to that of a table saw.

Speaking of table saws, you can check out SawRush to find more guides related to table saws. Let’s get back to our main topic. Now, the cheapest way to make a guide is to use a piece of straight wood and a few clamps.

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So, this time instead of using the straightedge to simply draw a pencil line we’re going to clamp it down and use it as a guide.

Things you will need to make a guide:

  • Two Clamps

This method will require two clamps, and it does take a little bit longer to set up, but the cut is significantly better than the previous option.

  1. In a similar way to the first option, you start by measuring and
  2. marking for your cut.
  3. the next step is to find the offset of the saw blades so that you can set the straightedge to the correct position.
  4. If you flip your saw over, you can see that the blade is inbound or offset from the edge of the shoe.

Tips: A lot of people like to measure that distance, but it can get confusing to know which side of the blade you should measure from. Mark the opposite side of the shoe and make sure that the side isn’t the finished side.

After that, simply clamp your guide to the marked lines, line up the saw and make your cut.

Method 3: Using A Guide With A Clamp

Now, another method that is my personal favorite is to use a straightedge that has a clamp built right into it.

This obviously speeds things up because you are not dealing with two separate clamps plus, you’ve upgraded to a metal guide which is always straighter than a wood one.

The method is the same as before. This time, you are just shifting to a more professional tool to get the job done.

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Final Thoughts

And that’s all there is to it. That’s how you use a circular saw without a table. A last piece of advice would be to use a circular saw track. Look that one up.

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