Can a Circular Saw Cut a 4X4? Yes – Here’s How

Do you have a 4X4 that needs cutting with a saw? If you have a circular saw, you might wonder if it’s a suitable tool. Can you cut a 4X4 with a circular saw?

A circular saw can cut a 4X4. Measure the length of your wood, and then cut the sides as far down as possible. The saw may not go through, so you will have to cut more than one side to get the desired result. 

Keep reading to learn more about using your circular saw to cut a 4X4.

Factors That Affect Cutting a 4X4 With a Circular Saw

There are a few things about your circular saw that can make it difficult to cut a 4X4, but not impossible. Let’s talk about these factors before discussing how to work around them. 

Cutting Depth

Circular saws vary in size and can measure anywhere from six to ten inches (15.24 to 25.4 cm). This may not seem like much of a barrier, but the cutting depth for a circular saw is much different from the actual size. Depending on the size of your circular saw, you only have between two and three inches (5.08 and 7.62 cm) of cutting depth to work with. 

This means that a six-inch circular saw will only give you the ability to cut about two inches (5.08 cm) deep, making it difficult to imagine cutting a 4X4 when most circular saws do not reach four inches (10.16 cm) of cutting depth. 

Consistent Measuring

Because you will not be able to cut the 4X4 with a single cut, you will need to measure the 4X4 accurately, all the way around. This will ensure that the cut is even all the way through and prevent you from needing to do much cleanup afterward with a saw or sander. 

We all know that accurate measuring is vital in any type of sawing, but it is especially important to get it right here. A small inaccuracy can greatly alter the shape of the 4X4 requiring you to start over. 


Before cutting a 4X4 with your circular saw, you should ensure that the blade is sharp. While you can still cut through it with non-sharpened blades, you may not get the desired result. 

Sharp circular saw blades make cutting easier and can help create a much smoother finish. So, it is important to do this before any tough projects like this one to keep your cuts smooth and easy. If you want some more details about the benefits of sharpening your circular saw blades, check out our article “Is It Worth Sharpening Circular Saw Blades?” 

How To Cut a 4X4 With a Circular Saw

Now that you know some of the factors potentially standing in your way when using your circular saw to cut a 4X4, let’s go over how to do it:

1. Measure and Prepare the Wood

As I explained above, this will not be a one cut and done project. So, it is important to carefully measure your cutting line before you start cutting. 

Mark the cutting line clearly as well to prevent any confusion when cutting. Remember, you should measure and mark all four sides as you will need to clearly see them all cut properly. 

If you are familiar with using a circular saw, you know that it can cause the top of the wood to splinter. Of course, you can normally fix this with some sanding and painting, but it is something you can prevent. Placing masking tape over the cutting line can help reduce splintering, so consider placing some masking tape on before you draw the cut line. 

2. Don’t Cut Exactly on the Line Yet

If this is your first time cutting a 4X4 with a circular saw, you should try a practice cut first. Don’t cut in the exact area you need first in case you have any issues or make a mistake. In fact, we recommend measuring a few inches away from the final cut line and starting there. This will allow you to try out this cutting technique without ruining your cut. 

3. How To Perform the Cut

At this point, you’re probably looking at the 4X4, your two-inch circular saw blade, and  wondering how this will work. Well, let’s get into the details: 

  1. After you have your lines measured and drawn onto your wood, start on one side, cutting the 4X4 all the way through. Bear in mind that this isn’t going to finish the cut right away. 
  2. Turn the wood 90 degrees to the next side. If you measured accurately, the line you cut should match up with the line you drew on that side. The cut will be about halfway through the wood, while the mark will continue. 
  3. Place the circular saw into the already cut groove that you started by cutting the first side. This will allow you to cut more accurately as you will just follow the previous cut you already started. From there, do the same thing you did with the last end, cutting all the way to the edge. 
  4. Repeat these steps, turning the 4X4 another 90 degrees and cutting it. 
  5. Do it one final time for the fourth side. 
  6. Once you finish, you should have cut the wood all the way through. 

4. Finish the Cut

Depending on the size of your circular saw blade and how accurately you performed the cut, you may already have a 4X4 cut how you want it. If so, you can move on to the next step. If not, let’s talk about how to finish it. 

If the circular saw didn’t cut the 4X4 all the way through, that’s okay. This can happen with circular saws, especially as their blades tend to be small. This means that you may need to finish cutting further. 

The best way to finish what your circular saw started is to use a handsaw, as this will allow you to easily cut through the remaining wood and finish what your circular saw started. 

Now, you may be wondering why you shouldn’t just use the handsaw instead of the circular saw. We recommend using the circular saw even if it doesn’t cut all the way through because it is a lot easier and requires less effort on your part. 

So, despite needing to finish with a handsaw, the circular saw handles most of the cutting for you, leaving only a small section, if any, to cut by hand. 

5. Finishing Touches

Once you finish cutting the 4X4 all the way through, you may have some cleaning up to do. While masking tape will help the wood splinter less, there is still a chance that it will. You will probably need to sand the wood to ensure it is smooth and there are no splinters. This can also help you clean up any mistakes or issues you may have had during the cutting process. 

It is especially important to sand the wood before trying to coat or paint it, as the circular saw can leave it a little rough. So, take extra time to sand the wood before adding anything else to it. 

Final Thoughts

While it may seem odd, you can certainly use a circular saw to cut through a 4X4. It will take more time and effort, but you can get it done. By using our method above to get the job done, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is. Also, don’t forget to use masking tape to prevent splinters.

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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