How To Make Straight Cuts With A Circular Saw-Multiple Methods

How To Make Straight Cuts With A Circular Saw-Multiple Methods

How To Make Straight Cuts With A Circular Saw-Multiple Methods

Straight cuts with an unguided circular saw is difficult to do freehand, but following these methods I discuss will yield a straight cut every time.

I discuss four methods you can use for a straight cut with a circular saw.

Video-How to Make Straight Cuts with a Circular Saw

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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Straight Cuts With a Circular Saw

Method 1: Using a rip fence

In the first method, I'll show you how to use a circular saw for making straight cuts with a rip fence.

A rip fence is an attachment that usually comes along with a circular saw. Its useful while trying to make a straight cut along the edge of the wood.

Rip fence for the circular saw
Rip fence for the circular saw

Place the wood on the work surface and draw the mark using a speed square.

Fit the rip fence to the circular saw. Next, adjust the rip fence with the edge of the wood so the saw blade aligns with the mark made on the wood. Then, begin cutting along the mark.

Cutting using rip fence on circular saw
Cutting using rip fence on circular saw

However, since the rip fence follows the edge of the wood while cutting, how straight your cut is will depend directly on how straight the wood's edge is.

This method is easy to execute and prefered when accuracy is not your primary concern.

Method 2: Using a Straight Edge

A straight edge can help make long cuts and, unlike the rip fence, can assure straight cuts irrespective of edge shape. 

A straight edge can be any long piece of wood with a perpendicular, smooth edge that helps guide the circular saw throughout the length of the wood. 

The length of the cut made with a straight edge is directly dependent on how long the straight edge is. Meaning the longer the straight edge, the longer the cut. 

To make a straight edge, take a thin sheet of plywood and a long wooden plank (dimensions doesnt matter as long as its edges are straight).

Glue or nail the wooden plank on top of the plywood while making sure the edges of both are aligned with each other.

Nailing the plywood with plank
Nailing the plywood with plank

Now cut off the excess plywood that projects more than the blade of the circular saw.

With this, your straight edge is done. Use this to make a straight cut along with any wood of varying edges. 

Finished straight edge
Finished straight edge

Alternatively, you could use a long spirit level (say 48 inches) and clamp it down using two quick grip clamps on either end. 

Just be careful as to never tighten the clamps too hard and damage the level.

Clamping the level
Clamping the level

For cutting using either the straight edge or the level, place the wood on the work surface and mark it for cutting.

Now place the straight edge/level, make sure its aligned with the mark made on the wood, and clamp it in place.

Clamping straight edge
Clamping straight edge

Fix the straight edge/level with two quick grips and saw along the mark.

Additionally, you may use masking tape and mark the line on top of it, so the amount of burr produced is kept to a minimum.

Method 3: Using a Speed Square

This method involves two clamps and a speed square. It's ideally used for making a straight cut along the width (Cross Cut).

Begin by placing the wood on a surface and marking the cut using the speed square.

Marking the cut using the speed square
Marking the cut using the speed square

Measure the distance from the edge of the circular saw to the blade of the saw, make that distance from the edge of the wood to be cut.

Measuring the distance
Measuring the distance

Place the speed square at that distance so it may guide the blade while cutting the wood. 

Now the blade should align with the mark on the wood. Finally, cut the wood all the way through.

Aligning blade with mark
Aligning blade with mark

Keep in mind that this particular method has a couple of drawbacks, mainly that it can only help cut wood that is of a particular width or higher, and the length of the speed square limits the length of the cut. 

Method 4: Using a Circular Saw Track/Guide

For this method, you need a circular saw track like the Kreg Acc-cut or the Kreg Rip-cut.

Using Kreg Accu-cut

As the first step, measure and mark the width of the wood you need to cut using the circular saw.

Use a tool like a speed square to achieve this.

Marking the width line
Marking the width line

Place the Acc-cut near the line and place the circular saw on it.

Placing the circular saw on Acc-cut
Placing the circular saw on Acc-cut

Adjust the Acc-cut such that the blade of the saw is just outside the line you marked earlier.

Blade position
Blade position

Make sure the Acc-cut follows the marked line at both ends.

Once the position of the Accu-cut is fixed, lock the circular saw in place in the Acc-cut.

Locking the blade height
Locking the blade height

Now, turn the circular saw on and move it along the Acc-cut track to do the ripping.

Ripping
Ripping
Ripped piece
Ripped piece

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Using Kreg Rip-Cut Tool

If you don’t want to mark a line and instead want to use the edge of the wood as reference, you can use the Kreg Rip-cut tool.

However, for this, the edge of the wood must be straight.

Place the rip cut guide with the edge pressed against the wood piece.

Placing the rip cut guide
Placing the rip cut guide

Mark the width of ripping using a pencil and tape measure.

Measuring the width
Measuring the width

Place the circular saw and set its position such that the blade falls just outside the point marked.

Placing the circular saw
Placing the circular saw

Lock the circular saw in place and start the ripping by turning on the circular saw.

Move the saw and the guide together until you complete the cutting.

Ripping
Ripping

This method is similar to using a rip fence, but you can set the ripping width a lot higher than in a small rip fence.

With this you have successfully completed the straight cut you need.

Ripping Completed
Ripping Completed

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How to make straight cuts with a circular saw
how to make straight cuts with a circular saw

How to Make Straight Cuts with a Circular Saw

Yield: Straight cuts with a Circular saw
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Learn how to make straight cuts with a circular saw

Materials

Tools

  • 1. Rip Fence/Kreg Accu-cut/Kreg Rip cut

Instructions

  1. Using a ripe fence- Use the rip fence as the guide and press the fence against the edge of the wood to make the cut.
  2. Using a straight edge- Make a plywood and wood plank straight edge to make the cut with circular saw.
  3. Using kreg Accu-cut tool- Use the accu-cut guide to make a straight cut.
  4. Using Kreg Rip-cut tool- Use this tool to guide the circular saw with the edge of the wood as reference.

About V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

DIY Profile
V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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