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How to Make Straight Cuts with a Circular Saw?

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How to Make Straight Cuts with a Circular Saw

Though a table saw works more efficiently than a circular saw, almost all the woodworkers use it. It is considered as the perfect tool for slicing up plywood and other sheet goods and this is safer than a table saw. You will understand the power of a little circular saw while lifting up a heavy 100lbs sheet of MDF and placing it onto the saw.

However, if you are expecting a straight cut across a sheet of plywood, it must be a daydream. In almost all cases, you will drift off course and bind the blade. You can use a scrap-made jig to solve this problem. Both a circular saw and a scrap-made jig can help you to cut wood straightly.

Straight Edge Jig

A straightedge jig has a ¼-inch plywood base and there is a fence attached to it. The edge of the base and the saw’s blade get into the same line so that you can use the saw to trim the base maintaining the perfect width. So, you must be careful while setting up the jig to start cutting. At first, line up the base of your jig with the workpiece layout marks and then clamp it down. At this stage, the fence will back up your saw base and keep the blade in a straight position throughout the cut.

The procedure is given below:

  1. Take a piece of ¼-inch thick plywood or hardboard and rip it about 10 inches to 1 foot wide and 4 feet long. In this way, you can crosscut full sheets using the straightedge jig. If you can make the base 8 foot long, you can use it for longer rip cuts.
  2. Take a straight piece of ¾-inch wood/plywood and rip it to make the fence of the jig. The fence should be made a little wider than the distance a circular saw motor extends from its base. This extra width aids the process of clamping of the jig in place.  At first, bring the edge of the base and the fence in line and then fasten them with glue and ¾ inches long flathead wood screws to keep them in place.
  3. Take the straightedge jig and clamp it to the edge of a workbench. Then set your circular saw in such a way that the blade cuts through the base. Guide the saw’s base towards the jig fence and trim the base to the perfect width. Make sure you are using a sharp and carbide-tipped blade or a plywood-cutting blade to trim the base to the required measurement.
  4. It is easy to work with a straightedge jig because it can be custom-fitted to the saw. Prior to cutting a sheet, raise it off the floor with scrap blocking. It will create a space for the blade. The workpiece (whole sheet) should be supported enough on both sides of the cut. Mark the cut with a tick mark on each edge of the sheet and line up the jig with the layout marks accordingly. Once you are done with clamping the jig, you are ready for cutting!

Crosscut Jig

The crosscut jig uses a stop bar to position the jig’s fence in a square shape around the workpiece. One end of the stop is extended beyond the fence so that the fence can register the saw blade with the layout plan for that specific workpiece. The crosscut jig is mostly used for making crosscuts on tapered stock or zipping across quarter sheets of plywood.  The procedure is given below-

Crosscut Jig
  1. Make the jig fence by cutting approximately 8-10 inches wide piece of ¾ inches plywood. The fence should be 25 inches long. Cut the edges of the fence in such a way that the ends become square. Take a strip of solid wood and rip it to 1 ¼ inches wide and 12 to 14 inches long to make the perfect jig stop.
  2. Place the fence and stop together to align the end of the stop with the edge of the fence. One and half inches flathead wood screws join these parts. Fastening is done by driving the screws into countersunk pilot holes.
  3. Trim the extended end of the stop to the correct offset for the circular saw. To accomplish this task, place the jig over a large piece of 2x scrap and then clamp both of them to your workbench. Cut through the full width of the stop by guiding the saw against the jig fence with proper blade setting.
  4. At this stage, the jig is ready to use. Put a tick mark on your workpiece to set up the point of the crosscut. Then line up the stop with that mark, clamp the jig and start cutting. This is easy, quick and most importantly, straight!

RELATED POST: Reciprocating Saw – A Quick Glance

Finally, many people look here and there to find quality woodworking tips. In that case, the above tips would surely help you to succeed in your woodworking project.

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