Circular sawing – process description and design guide

Circular sawing involves the use of a rotating cutting blade that can be fed horizontally, vertically, or at an angle into the material. Circular sawing is highly accurate because of the rigidity of the machines and the cutting blade.

This process can produce burr-free surfaces and can reduce the need for secondary finishing operations.

The process produces a larger kerf than bandsawing, although circular saws as thin as 1.5 mm (0.060 in.) are available. These thin blades, however, cannot maintain the tolerances and high cutting forces for which circular sawing is noted.

This process is used primarily for stock cutting or the creation of straight prismatic channels along the length of a workpiece.

Circular Saw Cutting a PVC Profile

Typical Applications

  • Stock cutting.
  • Carpentry.
  • Building trade.
  • General engineering use.
  • Creating channels/grooves in materials.

Mechanical design guidelines

  • Cutting depth is constrained by how much of the blade’s radius is exposed.
  • This process is more commonly used for stock cutting, however it is possible to create basic prismatic features (e.g. channels, lap joints or tongue and grooves).

Process variations

There are many versions of this process with either the workpiece being fixed and the blade is movable or vice-versa). Hand-held circular saws are also available.

Alternative names

  • Cold saws, cold sawing

Environmental implications

Can be extremely noisy. Ear protection should be worn for extended operation.


Circular saws represent a larger capital investment than bandsaws or hacksaws. They are generally used for high volume cutting of steels or non-ferrous alloys.



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