How to Square 2×4 Without Table Saw? (3 Easy Methods)

Tiny curves or rough edges on lumber are really annoying to work with. And most carpenters use a table saw to square the edges. But it’s common not to have a table saw if you aren’t a professional. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t square the lumber properly. There are plenty of other options. 

So, how to square 2×4 without a table saw

To square 2×4 without a table saw, you need a speed square to measure the corners. You can use a circular saw to square the wood. For that you need a minimum of 5- ⅜ inches saw. Also, you can use a miter box, as it has a 90o angle slot. And then square it with a hand saw. You can use a jointer too.

Don’t get overwhelmed already. We are going to explain all the methods in detail. Keep reading. 

How to Square 2×4 Without Table Saw? 

Carpenters have been squaring the lumber for making furniture for ages. Even when there were no modern tools, they used to make beautiful furniture. 

Now, we have many modern tools in our hands. So, you don’t have to think that table saw is the only option for squaring. Let’s see some of the options to square a 2×4 without using a table saw. 

Method 1: Use a Circular Saw

Using a circular saw to square 2×4 is easy. You just need some tools. Here are those. 

  • Obviously, a circular saw ( for 2×4, use 5- ⅜ inches saw or bigger)
  • A speed square for perfect measurement
  • A ruler or a level
  • 2 saw horses
  • A wooden board
  • And a pencil or chalk whatever you prefer

Before getting to work, there is a warning. If you see some abnormality like smoking in a circular saw while working, stop operating it. It can be dangerous. Troubleshoot the problem first.

Alright! Let’s get into the squaring process.

Step 1: Setting the Stage

Place both of your saw horses parallelly to set the stage. And place the lumber on them. 

Step 2: Identifying Straight Edges

Pieces of wood have some straight edges and some irregular edges. Identify those straight edges and mark them with a pencil. 

Sometimes the wood can be too dark to understand the pencil marks. You can use chalk, or even better, masking tape. 

Step 3: Using Speed Square

Now, you have straight lines. Take the speed square, and align it perpendicularly with the straight edges. And, draw a perpendicular line to the edge of the wood. 

Pull the line all the way to the end of the piece of wood. Use a ruler or chalk for the marking.

Step 4: Cutting with Circular Saw

Turn on your circular saw, and align the blade with the edge of the marked line. And start cutting along the line. 

Step 5: Resolving Rough Curves

After the cutting is done, inspect the board. And check if there are any rough curves. If you find any. Stick masking tape over there. And cut those parts again using the saw.

Step 6: Cutting From the Width

Now, From the end of the board. draw a second perpendicular line. And cut along the line using your circular saw. 

Step 7: Inspecting

Inspect if the sides are straight using a speed square. 

Repeat the process for all the sides of your 2×4 board. And you will have a square board.

If you want more precise lines, you can run the board through planer if possible. It will give a nice finishing touch. You should only do it by yourself if you know how to use a planner. Or take help from an experienced person. 

Method 2: Use a Hand Saw and Miter Box

Do you want an affordable way and don’t wanna use electric tools?  Hand saw is a good option. You can achieve a square piece of the board by using a miter box. But It will need some practice. Miter boxes are really easy to use. 

Here are the tools you’re gonna need for this method. 

  • For a 2×4 piece of wood, you gonna need a 14” miter box
  • A hand saw

You can check out the 14” meter box from here. 

Let the process begin. 

Step 1: Marking

Mark the board with chalk or pencil where you wanna cut. 

Step 2: Placing 

You can both cut your lumber board at 45o and 90o angles with a miter box. For squaring the 2×4, we are gonna need the 90o slot. Place the board’s mark area aligned with the 90o slot of the miter box. 

Step 3: Securing

Secure your lumber board in the meter box. 

Step 4: Cutting

Carefully place your hand saw onto the 90o slot, and cut your board. 

That’s how you will get rid of the curvy edges and get a square board. 

But you can use this method only when the four edges of the board are curvy. If the length of the board is curvy, a circular saw is the better option. Also, you can use a jointer for that. 

Method 3: Use a Jointer

A jointer can be a good substitute for a table saw if you have access to one. You should keep some things in mind before using a jointer. 

Knowing the Machine

For using a jointer, you have to know the ins and outs of the machine. First, know how to fence the machine. And, how to adjust the depth of the cut for a 2×4 board. Also, know how to change the blades. 

Setting Limits

Setting the lower limit in the jointer is important for safety reasons. An upper limit also should be set. Set the depth of the cut so that it moves visibly with each pass. But, while doing that it doesn’t exhaust the motor.

Use a Hand Saw for Extreme Curve

The jointer has a limit on how many crooks or curves it can take. If your board is too curvy, mark a straight line with a pencil. Then use a hand saw or band saw for cutting it roughly. 

After straightening it out a little bit, use the jointer for precise squaring. 

Keep these things in mind, if you use a jointer. And that were the methods you can use for squaring 2×4 instead of a table saw. If you do woodwork often, you can keep some common tools you’re gonna find handy. 

What Safety Measure Should You Take While Squaring? 

Whether it’s electrical or manual, working with a blade is always risky. So, try to keep these things in mind, before starting squaring. 

  • Reading the manual before using an electric cutter is a must.
  • Always make sure the blade is sharp and not rusty no matter which saw you use. Sharp blades are safer to work with.
  • When using a saw, use protective goggles. Don’t wear loose clothing. 
  • Always use both hands while operating a circular saw. It will give you better control over the machine. 
  • No matter which saw or machine you are using for cutting, learn to hold it properly. 
  • Before using a circular saw or jointer, always check if the wires are okay. 
  • Unplug the electric saw when you are not using it.
  • Always set the wood board firmly. 
  • While using the jointer, always keep the blade guard in place.
  • Keep a first aid box near you. 

Follow these tips for a safe squaring operation.


Can You Use A Circular Saw As A Table Saw?

Yes, you can use a circular saw as a table saw. Although cutting a longer board is more hassle-free with a table saw. But let’s say you have a good circular saw and you are expert enough. In that case, smooth sawing can be achieved from it too. You can use saw horses for placing the board. 

Is A Tile Saw The Same As A Table Saw?

No, a tile saw and a table saw are not the same. For cutting tiles, a wet tile saw is necessary. You use a table saw for cutting wood. You can cut wood with a wet tile saw, but it’s now recommended. But you can never cut tiles with a table saw. Tile saw blades are much sharper than a table saw. 

What Is The Disadvantage Of Circular Saw?

The main disadvantage of the circular saw is it’s extremely dangerous to use. It has a higher risk of kickback. When something gets onto the blade while using, the saw kickbacks toward the operator. Also, with a circular saw only cutting in one direction is possible. And the blade gets easily blunt. 


That’s all from us about how to square 2×4 without a table saw. Hope we could describe the methods easy enough for you to understand. 

You can cut and square boards with many options other than table saws. You just need some practice. And never forget to follow the safety measures before getting started. 

Have a good day and be safe.

Kevin Smith

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *