How Deep Can I Cut with My Circular Saw Blade?

how deep can a circular saw cut

A standard circular saw blade is 7 ¼” with a cutting depth of 2 ½” at maximum.

This size is typical for most home uses, but there are other sizes that you may prefer depending on the job that you are trying to accomplish.

Generally speaking, the greater the size of the blade, the deeper the cutting depth.

But there is more to it than just the cutting depth.

There are special sizes that are mostly used for professional work such as on construction or demolition sites where the blades range from 10 ¼” up to 16 5/16”.

Such blades of this size are rarely on the consumer market, but they do have cutting depths that range from 4 /14” up to 7 5/16”.

In some cases, you may notice that the cutting depth is less than half the radius of the blade.

That is because the pivot that holds the blade is wider and only allows for a certain depth to be reached.

But if you are doing work around the home, then standard-size blades are all you’ll ever need.

Circular Saw Cut Depth: Min & Max

Blade SizeCut Depth at 90°Cut Depth at 45°
5 ½ inch1 ¾″ (1.75 inches)1 3/16″ (1.1875 inches)
6 ½ inch2 13/32″ (2.4 inches)1 11/16″ (1.6875 inches)
7 ¼ inch2 ½″ (2.5 inches)1 13/16″ (1.1875 inches)
8 ¼ inch2 7/8″ (2.875 inches)2 ¼″ (2.25 inches)
10 ¼ inch3 11/16″ (3.6875 inches)2 ¾″ (2.75 inches)

Different Types of Circular Saw Blades

There are different types of circular saw blades available that specialize in different types of cuts.

And obviously, if you want the best cuts with accurate depth, you will need to find the right circular saw blade for your needs.

What follows are the types of circular saw blades you can find at your local hardware store.

1- Standard Blades

Standard blades are the most versatile and designed to cut wood in a variety of ways.

Crosscut: You’ll find a lot of teeth on this type of blade with some versions going up to 80.

The high number of teeth allows you to make sharp, fine cuts with precise depth into the material.

However, they take much longer to cut compared to a rip-cut or framing blade. 

Framing: This is similar to a rip-cut blade as they have a low number of teeth, usually around 24.

Framing and rip-cut blades are perfect when you need to cut a large amount of material quickly.

Plywood: This type of blade has the most teeth, often up to 100 on a blade.

They are designed to make the finest cuts into material that might otherwise be damaged by rip-cut or even crosscut blades.

Rip-Cut: These circular blades have a low number of teeth, some as little as 16, and are designed to rip through wood quickly.

This type of blade is perfect for making large, quick cuts.

You will often find this type of blade on a job site when cutting large amounts of material quickly is needed.

2- Diamond Blades

As the name suggests, this type of blade is made out of steel and has synthetic diamond interlaces along the edge and sides.

This type of blade is mainly used to cut through masonry, but it can also work for other materials such as stones, tile, and concrete.

Some of the different types of diamond blades include the following.

Continuous Rim: You will not find any teeth on these blades.

They are primarily designed to cut through the tile. So, do not try to use them on materials such as wood.

Segmented: This type of blade does not have teeth per se but is segmented with edges covered in diamonds.

A small gullet separates each segment which does provide advantages you find in blades with teeth.

Segmented blades are not as accurate and clean as other types of blades, but they are fast.

You can slice through brick, concrete, and hardwoods quickly, but the edges of the material will be messy.

Turbo-Rim: Like continuous-rim blades, turbo-rims have no teeth.

However, they are serrated which provides considerably more cutting potential.

Usually, these blade varieties are better suited to slice through brick and concrete.

3- Abrasive Blades

These blades are more akin to grinders rather than saws.

Most of them are made with aluminum oxides and silicon carbide to “grind” their way through hard materials such as steel.

So, they do not use teeth in the traditional sense.

In addition to metals such as steel, you can use abrasive blades to cut through masonry, but diamond blades are better for that type of work.

Types of Circular Saw Blades

How to Choose the Right Blade?

Circular blades come in different sizes, thicknesses, and the number of teeth.

The number of teeth is important because the fewer, the faster it will cut through the material.

Although that will lead to a rougher cut.

While a blade with more teeth can make sharp, fine cuts into the material, but it will take longer to accomplish.

1- Size

You’ll find that circular saw blades come in several different sizes.

So, you will need to limit the size selection to the saw that you own.

When picking check the arbor size and maximum diameter of the blades that your saw can take.

Small blades that are only 7” in diameter will only work in handheld models of circular saws.

While larger 12” blades are best suited for table saws.

Smaller blades as you might guess make shallower cuts compared to larger blades.

2- Wet or Dry Cutting

Some saw blades are designed to be cut wet while others cut when dry.

Knowing this will help you choose the right type of saw blade.

Dry:

Dry cutting is for intermittent use and is best suited for smaller jobs such as home improvement projects where space may be limited.

This type of cutting is the only option if you are using small handheld saws or cordless versions.

Wet:

This type of cutting absorbs the excess heating that occurs when the blades slice through materials.

It also washes away the debris created by the materials that have been cut.

Wet cutting is used mostly for masonry and tile, which helps make the process go faster and cleaner.

In addition, wet cutting helps preserve the life of the blade since it keeps the heat created by friction down to a minimum.

However, keep in mind that wet cutting is only for saws that are designed for that purpose.

Trying to wet cut using circular saws only designed for dry cutting may result in an electric shock.

3- Hook Angle and Kerf Number

When you are selecting between different types of blades, there are two additional considerations that you need to make.

First is the hook angle which affects how quickly the blade will move through the material.

The higher the hook angle, the faster it will rip.

The lower the hook angle, the cleaner the cut will be.

The kerf number is also important. This refers to the thickness of the blade.

The thicker the blade, the better it will cut through tough materials.

They also tend to last longer as well. The thinner the blade, the more accurate and deep the cut will be.

However, thin blades are less durable and not well suited for cutting lots of material.

What can you cut with circular saw blades

What Can I Cut with a Circular Saw Blade?

Circular saw blades can cut through different types of material.

Although they are mostly associated with wood, they can also cut through concrete, masonry, and metal.

Because the blade spins from a center point, it offers plenty of power to cut into thick materials if you are using the right type of blade.

When buying blades for the deepest cutting circular saw, look for different types of materials you will be using it for.

Woodworking:

Standard circular saw blades are well-suited for wood.

You do not need a fancy or expensive saw blade to cut through wood.

The main consideration is the number of teeth on the blade.

If you are doing lots of cutting in a short time, then you’ll want a saw blade with fewer teeth.

If precision cutting with clean edges is your priority, then you’ll want more teeth in the saw blade.

Plywood:

Although plywood is wood, it is a different type of wood.

You will need a specialty blade that is specifically designed for plywood.

Otherwise, standard blades will tend to destroy the plywood and not just cut it.

The blades used for plywood tend to have a high number of teeth, and low kerf number. And it will make fine, precision cuts that preserve the integrity of the wood.

Ferrous Metal:

If you are cutting steel, then you will need an abrasive blade.

This type of blade is perfect for cutting harder metals such as steel.

Non-Ferrous Metal:

If you are cutting softer materials such as brass, bronze, or aluminum, then using carbide-tipped non-ferrous blades is perfect.

You’ll want to choose a blade that has an anti-kickback design so that you are not surprised by any sudden movement from the material itself.

Concrete:

For this type of work, you will need a turbo-rim or segmented diamond blade.

You will need to check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you choose the right type that delivers the cut you want.

Segmented blades are perfect for demolition work, cutting quickly through the concrete.

While turbo-rim blades are better for cutting concrete with precision.

Tiles and Masonry:

Diamond blades and wet cutting are best suited for cutting through tiles along with some types of concrete cutting as well.

And for masonry, you’ll want to use an abrasive disc to do the cutting.

Abrasive discs are well suited for cutting masonry and cost far less compared to diamond blades.

The only downside is that abrasive discs can wear out quickly, so have extras on hand if you are doing a lot of masonry work.

when to sharpen circular saw blade

Is it Worth Sharpening My Circular Saw Blades?

This depends on how much you paid for the saw blades.

If they are of low quality and inexpensive, it is generally better to replace the blades.

However, if they are more expensive and of higher quality, then sharpening them will be cost-efficient.

It will save you money and reduce waste. This is especially true of carbide blades which can be quite expensive.

But how do you know when the blades will need sharpening?

Cuts:

The first thing you will notice, although it will be subtle at first is the quality of the cuts.

The overall quality will slowly degrade over time as the teeth get duller.

For reference, take a photo of a cut you made with the blade fresh from the box.

Every so often, compare the photo to a cut you recently made into similar material.

You should be looking for any burr or lessening of quality on the surface. If it is noticeable, then you should sharpen the blade.

Motor Noise:

If the motor is starting to work harder, then it may mean the blade is becoming duller.

Of course, there might be something wrong with the motor itself, but it’s far more likely that it is having to work harder to cut through the material.

If you are smelling burning oil, that is a sign of the motor working harder as well.

As soon as you notice a difference in how the motor is working, particularly if the sound is a higher pitch when cutting, that is the time to sharpen the blade.

You can either sharpen the blade on your own or hire a professional.

A professional will do an expert job, but you can expect to pay from 25 up to 50 cents per tooth.

This will result in a like-new blade that should last about as long as if you purchased another one.

But keep in mind that carbide-tipped blades will be more expensive to sharpen.

Given the expense, that is why sharpening a low-quality, the inexpensive blade is not worth the cost.

But that doesn’t mean you should toss out a cheap blade if it can still cut safely.

You should use such blades for demolition work where the quality of the cut is not relevant.

But if you paid more than $50, then consider getting it sharpened by a professional as the cost will be lower compared to buying a new blade.

This is especially true if you paid $100 or more.

how to adjust the depth of circular saw blade

Can I Adjust the Depth of My Circular Saw Blade?

Yes, next question?

Seriously, you can adjust the depth the blade cuts into the material.

You just need to make the proper adjustments to get the depth that you desire.

In most cases, you will need to loosen the baseplate located on the back of the saw.

Next, put the baseplate on top of the material and then move the blade either up or down to get the depth of cut that you want.

Once you are finished with the alignment, replace the shoe level back to lock the blade into position.

When you are changing the depth of the cut, you do not want to go too deep as the cut will not be as smooth.

Plus, with the teeth exposed at the bottom you may put yourself in danger, so be sure that the blade does cut all the way through with about a quarter inch sticking out below.

For example, if the material is two inches thick, then set the blade to cut at 2 ¼”. 

This will provide a smoother, cleaner finish to your cuts. It will reduce the friction and help prevent creating a lumpy surface area.

But what if you need a larger blade to cut through the material?

That is no problem as long as the blade size does not exceed the maximum size the saw itself will allow.

So, if you have a saw size of 2 1/4″, then the blade size cannot be any larger, but it can be smaller.

Final Thoughts

Circular saws are easy to use.

But choosing the right type of saw blade is vital to getting the type of work you want to complete accomplished.

If you do not use the right saw blade, you can do more than simply make a bad cut.

Additionally, you may be putting yourself in danger if you have no idea what blades to use and their cutting depth.

The overall depth of the cut will depend on the size of the blade itself.

Be sure to align the blade properly so that it just cuts through the material itself without too much exposure to the risks involved.

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