How to plunge cut with a circular saw

Written by elizabeth falwell
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How to plunge cut with a circular saw
Adjust the blade guard to make a plunge cut. (Priisk/iStock/Getty Images)

A plunge cut starts and ends in the middle of a piece of wood. It's called a plunge cut because you are literally "plunging" the saw into a piece of wood, instead of starting the cut from the edge of the wood. You would typically use a plunge cut to create a hole or cut-out shape in a solid piece of wood, to make space for a vent or piece of plumbing. A hand-held saw, such as a circular saw, is one of the best tools for making this type of cut.

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Things you need

  • Circular saw
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sawhorses or work bench
  • Extension cord

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  1. 1

    Use a tape measure (or ruler) and pencil to maker out the perimeter for your plunge cut. Make sure to follow the carpentry saying, "Measure twice, cut once," to avoid mistakes.

  2. 2

    Lay the piece of wood in which you'll be making the plunge cut on a flat, elevated surface such as a sawhorse. You'll want room beneath to make the cut without cutting into other materials. If you are making a plunge cut into a piece of wood that is already installed (such as a house's subfloor), then you can skip this step.

  3. 3

    Plug the circular saw into the nearest outlet. Depending on where you'll be doing this project, you may need an extension cord.

  4. 4

    Set the plunge depth on your saw. You do this by adjusting the safety (also called blade guard) to the desired depth. If you want to cut all the way through the piece of wood, you will raise the blade guard completely, so it does not block any part of the blade.

  5. 5

    Line up the saw's blade with the lines you drew in Step 1.

  6. 6

    Turn the saw on and slowly lower your circular saw blade into the wood. Move the saw slowly down the guide lines. Because circular saws make straight cuts -- not curved edges -- you will have to stop the saw and repeat for every straight line you wish to cut.

  7. 7

    Perfect any corners on your cuts using a handsaw or a jigsaw. These saws are better able to make curved or small cuts than a circular saw because of their smaller blades.

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