Project Guide

How to Crosscut and Rip with a Circular Saw

Crosscutting with a Square
Crosscutting with square - Cutting Ripping with Circular Saw

Special squares, like the one shown here, help guide the saw through a short cut. Put the raised edge against the stock and guide the saw along the other edge.

Ripping with a Circular Saw
Ripping with circular saw - Cutting Ripping with Circular Saw

Cutting along the length of the board (ripping) is accomplished with the help of a rip attachment or by clamping a board in place as a guide. The rip attachment, shown here, is fine for making narrow cuts. For cutting wider pieces, make a cutoff guide.

Making a Ripping Cut-off Jig
Making cuts - Cutting Ripping with Circular Saw
  • Make the jig from two strips of 3/4-inch plywood, each 8 feet long. One piece should be about 5 inches wide; the other should be as wide as the saw base plus 5 inches. Have the home center or lumberyard cut them so you'll get straight cuts, then screw them together so that the edges align.  
  • Guide the saw along the fence piece, cutting the wider piece to width in the process. 
  • Place the cut edge of the jig along the line and clamp or screw it in place. Guide the saw along the narrower piece to cut along the line.