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    Woodworking without a Tablesaw





    Most folks think they need a tablesaw to produce simple, yet high-quality furniture projects. That said, the investment required to purchase a portable or full-blown cabinet saw can be a major impediment to anyone hoping to build their first table or bookcase. The good news is, you don’t need a tablesaw to get started building furniture. You can make precise, square cuts with a conventional circular saw when coupled with an accurate cutting guide. For even more information on this technique, be sure to catch our video on How to Build a Workbench. A very similar cutting guide is highlighted in episode one.

    This style of cutting guide has a fence against which the side of the saw base rides. The edge of the guide is representative of exactly where the saw blade will cut. To make it even easier to use, I added a lip on the bottom of the guide. The lip is squared against the cutting edge of the guide and allows you to but the guide up to your workpiece and slide it right over to your cut line. It really couldn’t be easier to use. Here’s how to make a simple circular saw cutting guide:

     

    Materials

    The base of the guide is made from a piece of 1/2-in. thick plywood or MDF (as seen here), a 3/4-in. wide piece of hardwood which will act as the fence against which the saw will travel, and a scrap of hardwood for the lip. Screws and glue hold the entire assembly together.

     

    Construction

     

    Measuring circular saw blade offset

    Begin by measuring the offset of your circular saw’s blade from the edge of the saw’s base plate. In my case, it was about 5-1/8-in.
    click to enlarge

     

    Now make tick marks on either end of your plywood or MDF board that are a bit further in than that 5-1/8-in. number (this measurement will vary slightly between saw models). In my case, I made my tick marks at the 5-1/2-in. mark.
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    Use a long straightedge to connect these two points.
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    Next, apply a bit of glue on your fence material, line it up against the line you drew earlier, and drill/screw on one end of the fence.
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    Work your way down the fence, holding it to the line, and drilling/screwing in more fasteners. I used five screws on my cutting guide.
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    Now with your cutting guide clamped down firmly onto a work surface, cut off the extra material on the cutting guide. Remember how you marked in further than that 5-1/8-in number? This is why. By having material to cut off, you’ll ensure that your saw blade will always be perfectly aligned with the edge of the cutting guide, allowing you to line the guide right up to whatever mark you wish to cut along on a workpiece.
    click to enlarge

     

     

    Apply some glue to the lip material and screw one end of it onto the underside of your cutting guide’s base.
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     Using a combination square

    Set a square against the edge of the guide base along which the saw blade will travel and square the lip material up to it. Complete the attachment of the lip with a few more screws.
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    Put it to Use

    In the photo below, you can see this saw guide in action. Notice how the side of the saw blade runs right along the cut line on your workpiece. I've highlighted the waste piece being cut off in red for clarity. With a guide like this, you can easily cut accurate squares and rectangles--the foundation of basic woodworking. To get the best possible cuts, be sure to mount your saw with a high-quality blade and always check to be sure that the blade is perfectly square to the saw base. To do this, simply loosen the nut that allows the base to swivel for angled cuts and place a square besie the blade. Now just angle the base until it meets the square and tighten the nut.

    Using a circular saw guide


    Ed_Pirnik

    Comments

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    arcarro
    João Lopes writes:

    Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is very cool. Thanks so much for writing all of the excellent information! - Comprar camiseta polo

    mayclaire
    Mayclaire Rogers writes: Very nice tips. Thanks for sharing something which really work. As I was about to have woodwork, I'll be using these tips. - Integrity Spas
    julieannsilva1
    Julie Silva writes:

    I just finished this little project, and it seems to work well. The only feedback I can offer is that the fence's thickness (1/2 inch) can interfere with my saw's cuts when my blade needs to be adjusted down to its lowest point of just under 3" (for cutting a thicker piece of wood). I'm not sure if my Skil saw is a typical one, but the handle on the outer side got in the way when I tried making a cut, when it was adjusted down to its lowest blade point setting. It seems like a solid new addition to my workbench accessories, though. Thank you!!

    1falcon1
    Bill Sellers writes: Hi Julia, The fence does not need to be that high. This is a VERY old school jig, in fact there are commercial low profile versions but I like the simple clean build of this one. build yours to fit your saws shape and enjoy.
    user-2609512
    Johnny Lavis writes:

    Thank you for all the good and very helpfull tips. As i am a complete novis to woodworking i can use all the help i can get.

    1falcon1
    Bill Sellers writes:

    Another thing to do with this jig is to set the other side up for your router. I have seen many variations of this jig over the years. They work very well.

    WayneGilbert
    Wayne Gilbert writes:

    These are some GREAT Ideas you all have here. Glad I found youall, Looks like I will be here for a while.Thanks

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