Circular Saw Cuts

Learn how to make your own cutting guide for straight circular saw cuts.


There are two basic types of cuts to make using a circular saw: a crosscut, which runs across the grain, and a rip cut, which runs with the grain. No matter what type of cut you're making, for best results it should be straight.

The simple homemade cutting guide shown here helps you produce straight, accurate cuts with your circular saw. It is made from a piece of 1/4-inch plywood and a straight length of 1/2-inch stock. You can make the guide any length you like, up to 8 feet long for cutting sheets of plywood.

Making Your Own Cutting Guide: Step 1

Start with a piece of 1/4-inch plywood that is at least 2-1/2 inches wider than the base of your circular saw. Glue and screw a 2-inch-wide strip of 1/2-inch-thick stock flush to the long edge of the plywood.

Making Your Own Cutting Guide: Step 2

Clamp the guide to a pair of sawhorses or on a bench. Place the saw base against the 1/2-inch stock and run the saw down the plywood, cutting it to width. Make sure the blade won't cut the bench or horses.

Making Your Own Cutting Guide: Step 3

To use the guide, clamp it to your workpiece with the sawed edge along a marked cut line. Guide the saw along the 1/2-inch stock to make the cut.

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