Using a Circular Saw to Rip Narrow Boards

If you need to rip a long piece of wood for your DIY protect but you do not have a table saw, then have no fear! You can get it done with a circular saw just as easily.

Cutting boards with a circular saw is definitely not an easy task, however ripping up narrow boards can be done with this particular tool.

So, how do you properly rip narrow boards with a circular saw?

Ripping narrow boards with a circular saw can be easy if you know what you are doing. Know how to use your saw, clamp down the wood properly, and make your measurements before you begin to cut.

What is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw uses a toothed blade to cut using a rotary motion that spins around a fixed arbour.

Circular saws are used for cutting lots of different materials including masonry, wood, plastic, and even metals. Circular says can be hand held or fixed to a larger bit of machinery.

Most circular saws are powered with electricity, but there are some models that are petrol powered or hydraulic powered.

Safety First

Before you begin to get started ripping up narrow boards with a circular saw, it is important to consider your safety first.

First, you should ensure that no children are in the area that you will be working in.

Secondly, ensure that you have enough safety equipment to do the job. You should make sure to invest in some safety goggles or face shields in order to protect yourself from splinters, debris, or other flying particles. If your saw makes a considerable amount of noise, you may want to get yourself a pair of ear muffs or ear plugs as well.

After you purchase your safety equipment, ensure that you are properly familiarised with your power tools. A circular saw should not be used by a beginner woodworker.

Here are the additional tools you will need to get started:

  • Pencil and ruler or square
  • Measuring tape
  • Wooden board that is bigger than the narrow board that you want to cut
  • Stand or sawhorses
  • Pair of clamps
  • Circular saw

Now you are ready to get ripping up those narrow boards with your circular saw.

1. Measure

Before you start cutting, make sure you measure the dimensions using your ruler or square and a pencil. Use the pencil to mark the dimensions of the wood that you want to result from cutting.

2. Fix the Board

Place your larger wooden board on top of your saw horses or workbench. Then place the board you want to cut on top of that.

Clamp the two boards together on the workbench.

3. Adjust Your Saw

Before you begin actually cutting your narrow board with the circular saw, do a few reference cuts into an expendable piece of wood first. The idea here is to measure the thickness of your cut and to see if you are holding the saw at the appropriate height.

Test your saw with another piece of wood to ensure that the saw is parallel to the platform you made with the larger wood board and your sawhorses.

4. Rip the Narrow Board

After you have properly adjusted your saw and preformed several reference cuts, you are ready to begin cutting your narrow board with the circular saw.

Hold the blade of the saw very steady over the pencil marks. Switch it on and slide the blade along the cutting line.

Make sure that you do not put any pressure on the saw itself as you move it along to cut the narrow board.

5. Take the Saw Off

Once you reach the end of your measured line, turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop spinning. Now you can safety take off the saw.

Additional Tips and Tricks

If you have followed the steps above, you will be able to successfully rip a narrow board with a circular saw. Here are some more tips and tricks to make sure that you make the perfect cut.

  • Do not put force on the saw while you are making your cuts.
  • After adjusting your saw, make sure that you cut the board with one slide of the saw. Stopping in the middle of a cut can ruin your work.
  • Make sure to use both of your hands while you work.
  • Double check that your clamps are holding onto the wood very tightly.
  • If you have access to another person, have them hold the sawhorses or platform steady while you saw.
  • Situate yourself along the side of the wood as you cut in order to minimise recoil from possible kickbacks.
  • Do not use a dull blade. If you do not know whether you should replace the blade or not, go with a new blade.
  • Hold the saw firmly when turning it on.
  • If you do not use a face shield, make sure that you at least wear a face mask to protect yourself from dust and debris.

Types of Blades

There are several types of blades that can used with circular saws.

Cross-cut blades are best to cut wood or wood composites. They are specifically used for cutting against wood grain. These blades usually have between 40 and 80 teeth and will give you a nice and clean finish to any cut that you make with them.

Combination blades are more generic cutting blades that can come with a wide range of number of teeth. These blades are best used for cross cutting or rip cutting.

Framing blades have 24 teeth and are best suited to rough carpentry. If speed is more important to you than a clean cut, a framing blade will suit you well.

Plywood blades have 100 or more fine teeth and are best for cutting wood when you do not want any splinters as a result.

Thin-kerf blades have a narrow profile and are suited for fast cutting. They are very energy efficient as well.

Hollow-ground blades have a thin body and fat teeth. This makes wod less likely to pinch or bind around the blade while you are cutting with it.

Continuous-rim blades are specialist blades that are edged with diamonds. They are also referred to as diamond blades. They are used for cutting tile and slate instead of wood and include a very fine finish. These blades are usually used for wet cutting.

Turbo-rim blades are another type of diamond blade that can cut materials like brick and concrete. They have a serrated edge and will not leave a fine finish. They are usually only used for dry cutting.

Segmented blades are diamond blades, but the rim is divided into gullets. They cut more quickly than other types of diamond blades and leave a rough finish when cutting concrete or brick. They come in wet and dry cutting types.

Abrasive blades can cut brick and concrete like diamond blades can but they are made of wither aluminium oxide or silicon carbide. They come in wet or dry cutting types.

Rip-cut blades can be best used with wood and wood composites. These blades are used to cut along the wood grain. They have 16 to 40 teeth and cut aggressively and remove waste wood with large gullets.

Conclusion

While ripping a narrow board with a circular saw is no easy task, it can be successfully done with the help of our helpful guide. If you follow these steps, along with our tips and tricks, you will definitely be able to accomplish this difficult task.

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