How to Use a Circular Saw as a Table Saw

Using a circular saw for a table saw is an innovative way to perform straight-line cutting whether on the job site or for the home do-it-your-selfer. You will need some materials to set up the circular saw, but the lumber and plywood can be used again for other projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Two saw horses
  • 48-inch by 48-inch by 3/4-inch thick plywood
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's square
  • Circular saw
  • Extension cord (optional)
  • 16p nails
  • Hammer
  • 48-inch long 2-by-4
  • Small wood wedge

Instructions

    • 1

      Set the two sawhorses approximately 36 inches apart from each other, and then lay the 4-foot square piece of plywood on top of them.

    • 2

      Use the tape measure and find the center of the plywood 24 inches in from all sides. Make a mark with the pencil.

    • 3

      Using the square and pencil to make an 8-inch line, with the center of the line at the center point of the plywood. In other words, mark two 4-inch lines that run in either direction from the center point you made in Step 2. This line will be where the saw blade comes through the 3/4-inch plywood tabletop.

    • 4

      Plug the circular saw into the power outlet; you may have to use an extension cord if the saw's cord will not reach. Make a plunge cut into the plywood along the line you just marked. Be sure the circular saw's depth adjustment is at its deepest setting for this plunge cut.

    • 5

      Remove the saw from the plunge cut and make another cut alongside the first cut line. You will want about 1/4-inch in width for the blade to fit into the plywood opening.

    • 6

      Use the carpenter's square to align the saw with one side of the plywood top while the saw is setting idle in the opening. Use the pencil to mark all edges around the saw.

    • 7

      Use the 16p nails and the hammer to drive the nails partially into the plywood, but not through the wood, in approximately four locations around the circular saws metal base. The saw should be sitting upright and the nails driven at the four corners of the circular saw. Use the hammer to bend the nails over the metal base of the circular saw to hold it securely onto the plywood.

    • 8

      Flip the plywood over so only the saw blade is exposed to the up side of the table saw's wooden top. Use the 48-inch long 2-by-4 and lay it against the saw blade. Use the tape measure to align the 2-by-4 with the edge of the plywood so it sits an equal distance, front and back, from the saw blade to the edge of the plywood.

    • 9

      Use the pencil to mark a thick line from the saw blade to either end of the 2-by-4. This line represents the edge of the cutting blade. You will use this line to "set" the 2-by-4 a measurable distance from the blade. In other words, if you want to cut a board down to 6 inches in width, you would hold the 2-by-4 6 inches from this line. The 2-by-4 will be used as the fence for the improvised table saw.

    • 10

      Set the 2-by-4 fence by temporarily driving the 16p nails at either end of the 2-by-4 fence to secure it in position. You will have to pull the nails every time you want to reset the fence distance from the cutting blade.

    • 11

      Use the wood wedge and push it into the trigger switch of the circular saw so the saw will run all the time. You can simply unplug the saw from the extension cord or outlet to turn the table saw on or off.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using a circular saw for a table saw should not be done all the time since some circular saws use a gearbox that must be constantly immersed in an oil bath. These types of circular saws should only be used in a pinch since extended run time may ruin the gearbox. This type of improvised table saw can be inherently dangerous since there is no blade guard or emergency stop switch used.
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