How To Cut 45 Degree Angles With a Circular Saw – A Step-By-Step Guide


How To Cut 45 Degree Angles With a Circular Saw? A circular saw is usually the best tool for cutting on tips, but it can be hard to get right if you’ve never done it before. If you do any woodwork, likely, you’ll sometimes need to cut on 45-degree angles.

Fortunately, it’s not very difficult, and anyone with basic woodwork skills should be able to pick up this skill relatively easily. This article will cover what you need to cut 45-degree angles with a circular saw and how to do it safely and accurately.

Tools & Materials

To make the process run as smoothly as possible, ensure you have all the proper tools and materials before getting started:

Cutting with a circular saw.

Cutting with a circular saw.

Cutting a 45-degree Bevel

Bevel cuts are generally used for baseboards and trim or cabinetmaking. The method is simple and produces an excellent, clean cut.

A timber bevel cut.

A timber bevel cut.

Step 1 – Mark Cutting Line

Before you begin cutting, determine how far your cut needs to be from the edge of the timber. Measure and mark this point using a speed square.

Step 2 – Align Saw And Speed Square

Line up the 45-degree kerf indicator on the saw’s shoe with the line you’ve just marked. Then, bring your speed square and place it directly next to the saw’s shoe. Secure it in place with a firmly tightened clamp.

Step 3 – Set Up The Circular Saw

Before cutting, it’s vital to adjust your saw’s bevel angle and blade depth correctly. Start by finding the blade angle adjustment and tilting it to the 45-degree position.

Next, adjust the cutting depth of the saw. You can do this by sliding the blade guard until the blade sticks out below the wood board as desired. Most experts recommend using a cutting depth in which the edge is slightly below the timber, creating a cleaner cut.

Step 4 – Cut The Timber

Line the saw up with the speed square you positioned earlier. It will act as a guide while cutting. Take your time on this step, as once the cut is made, there’s no going back.

Begin the cut, moving the saw smoothly and slowly. Continuously check that the shoe is flush with the speed square guide.

Cutting a 45-degree Miter

Another common type of cut is a miter. These cuts are commonly used for boxes, frames, and deck boards.

A timber frame with miter cuts

A timber frame with miter cuts

Step 1 – Mark Cutting Line

Using a speed square, line up the 45-degree edge where you want the cut to be and mark it. Then, bring in your saw and line up the 0-degree kerf indicator with the line you drew. With the saw in position, clamp down your square along the edge of the saw’s shoe.

Step 2 – Set Blade Depth

Loosen the blade guard knob and slide the guard until the blade is only slightly sticking out below the bottom of the timber. As a general rule, about ¼ inch is a good amount.

Step 3 – Begin Cutting

Realign your saw’s shoe with the speed square guide you set up earlier. Power on your saw and begin smoothly and carefully cutting along the line. Continue to check that you are flush with the square and your cutting line. 

Cutting a Compound Miter

A compound miter cut is a combination of a standard miter and bevel.

Step 1 – Mark Line And Set Up Guide

Use a speed square’s diagonal edge to mark the desired 45-degree cutting angle. Then, position the 45-degree indicator of your saw along this line. Bring the yard up against the saw’s shoe and clamp it down.

Step 2 – Adjust Bevel Angle And Blade Depth

Using the adjustment knob, loosen the mechanism and tilt the saw to 45 degrees. Remember to tighten the knob back up. Next, set the blade depth by reducing the blade guard knob. You should ideally have the blade extending just below the bottom of the timber.

Step 3 – Carefully Make The Cut

With all the preparation complete, you can begin cutting through the timber following the line you marked earlier and the speed square. Make sure to move smoothly but deliberately, and take your time. You only have one chance to get this right.

Tips for Safety and Accuracy

When making 45-degree angle cuts with a circular saw, you should always wear all the proper safety equipment. It includes safety glasses, hearing protection (ear muffs), and in some cases, a mask (for certain types of wood).

Safety equipment for woodwork

To make cleaner, more accurate cuts, use a sharper blade. Most circular saws come with a framing blade, so instead, use a particular type known as a ‘finishing’ blade. Also, make sure to keep both hands on the saw. This will maintain a level of safety as well as increase accuracy.


This article has provided step-by-step instructions for cutting 45-degree angles with a circular saw. Contact us today to learn more and gain a more robust understanding of cutting with a circular saw!

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