How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

Ripping a narrow board might seem tricky to do with a circular saw, but it is definitely possible to do this neatly by following a set of simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Circular Saw With A Rip-fence.
  • Sacrificial Piece of Wood/Sheet.
  • The Narrow Board for Ripping.
  • Two Quick-Grip Clamps.
  • Speed Square.
  • Masking tape/Painter's tape

Video Guide-Ripping Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

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Watch the video on how to do this before moving on to the step-by-step instructions with photos below!

Step-By-Step Guide to Ripping Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

In this section, I'll show you how to use a circular saw for ripping narrow boards in a step-by-step manner.

First, lay down the sacrificial sheet on your work table.

The sacrificial sheet is meant to act as a buffer between the board that needs to be ripped and your work table.  

Next, place the board to be ripped on top of the sacrificial sheet and fix masking tape over the board before drawing the mark on it as it will greatly reduce the amount of burr produced and lend you a finer finish after ripping.

Masking tape on board
Masking tape on board

Now it's time to mark a line length-wise to help guide you during the ripping process. For marking, make use of a speed square to achieve a straight and accurate line.

Marking with speed square
Marking with speed square

Once the line of ripping is marked, clamp the board on the sheet down using two quick grip clamps. Use one clamp in the middle and another on the farther end of the board.

Clamping one in middle and one in end
Clamping one in middle and one in end

After clamping, adjust the blade height of the circular saw.The blade height should be such that the blade makes a through cut in the board while grazing the sacrificial sheet.

Adjusting the blade height
Adjusting the blade height

After setting the blade height, you can move on to the ripping.

Before ripping the board, you need to consider the kerf loss. Kerf loss refers to the amount of wood lost while sawing, due to the thickness of the blade.

since the thickness of the blade is usually 1/8th of an inch, you're only looking at a marginal loss. Make sure to place the blade just outside the line that you marked for getting an accurately sized piece after ripping.

Once the blade is placed at the correct position, lock the rip fence in place to begin the ripping.

If you don't have a rip fence, make a straight edge using scrap wood and use it as a guide for cutting.

To rip the board, align the blade with the mark made earlier and switch on the saw.

Use the rip fence to guide the saw along the length of the board.

Ripping the board
Ripping the board

Upon reaching the middle of the board, remove the quick grip clamp and re-attach it at the end to where you started so you may continue sawing without the board slipping.

Taking off the clamp blocking the circular saw
Taking off the clamp blocking the circular saw

Continue sawing till the end and the clamp at the end needs to be unclamped just like in the previous step.

Re-attach that clamp at the middle of the board and resume the ripping.

With that you have completed ripping the narrow board using a circular saw.

Narrow board after ripping into two
Narrow board after ripping into two

You might be interested in these:

Tips to Improve Accuracy While Ripping

  • Use a sharp blade with an appropriate number of teeth.
  • Make sure the board has a straight edge before ripping. If the board edge is not straight, you cannot use a rip fence to get a straight cut.
  • If you are using wet wood or treated lumber, use a blade that's appropriate for that purpose.

How to be Safe While Ripping Using a Circular Saw

  • Always wear ear protection and a mask while using a circular saw.
  • Unplug the circular saw wire before making adjustments. It's safer to unplug rather than turn off the circular saw.
  • Ensure the blade and rip fence are locked in place before starting the ripping.
  • Always hold the circular saw firmly before ripping.

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How to rip narrow boards
Ripping a narrow board with Circular Saw

How to rip a narrow board with a Circular saw

Learn how to rip a narrow board using a circular saw

Instructions

  1. Clamp the board on a sacrifical sheet
  2. Draw the ripping line on the board
  3. Use a rip fence or straight edge to set the ripping width
  4. Start ripping and reclamp whenever the saw reaches a clamp.

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

Connect With Me
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