How To Rip Narrow Boards With A Circular Saw

how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw

Do you have a narrow piece of wood or board that you want to cut? And you only have a circular saw to use?

Then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to do this easily.

You see, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. You might have tried it before and failed. And it’s perfectly normal. Using a saw on a narrow piece of wood can be somewhat awkward and uncomfortable.

But with the right directions and some trial-and-error, you’ll be able to get it right eventually. Even if you have a very narrow piece of wood, you should be able to cut it with the right preparation.

We’ll provide you with all the steps here, and you should be able to know how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw with ease.

What You’ll Need

Before we start with the steps, here’s what you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Protective gear
  • A circular saw with sharp blade
  • A narrow piece of wood to cut
  • A platform to put the piece of wood on (long and narrow works best)
  • Angle or measuring tape and pencil
  • Two clamps for attaching
  • Sawhorses or work table

So get all of this ready before we get to work. With the right equipment, cutting narrow boards should be a breeze.

How To Rip Narrow Boards With A Circular Saw – Step by Step

Now, just follow these steps to get the job done. You’ll see, it’s easier than it looks at first.

how to rip wood with a circular saw

1. Prepare Your Gear and Protect Yourself

The first part is a very important one. Preparation is the key here for making accurate cuts. But first, you’ll want to make sure you wear protective gear before you get to work.

Put on your gloves and your glasses – a shield would also do well here. You must keep yourself safe before you start.

Then, gather all of the equipment. Make sure you have everything that you need at hand before you start.

2. Choose The Platform and Create Cut Lines

Then, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right platform for the job. Ideally, the platform should be long and a bit wider than the wood you’ll cut.

Having a stable platform is necessary and it will prevent your saw from moving too much. You might need several slabs to support the wood you’ll be cutting, depending on the length of the cutting wood.

These slabs should be able to hold and support the wood you’re about to cut. The main reason to have this platform is to have more stability.

The slabs should be longer than the wood you’re cutting, and also quite high in order to support the circular saw.

Once you have the platform ready, you can start creating the cut lines on the piece of wood you’re preparing to cut.

This will allow you to make accurate cuts later on. Make sure you do the right measurements and draw the lines where they need to be.

These lines will also help you put down the circular saw clamps easier, because you’ll know exactly where the saw needs to be placed in order to make the cut.

Try to make these lines as straight as possible. Once you have them done, move onto the next step.

3. Clamp The Circular Saw

The next step is to start clamping the circular saw to the platform you’ve just created.

This step is necessary if you’re a beginner, although advanced woodworkers also tend to work without these clamps.

But we recommend that you use them. The clamps will provide you with a good level of solidity to perform the job. Set the clamps down onto the slabs or the platform below the working piece.

Sawing this narrow piece of wood will be much safer but also easier once you have the clamps in place.

4. Make A Reference Cut To Determine The Width of Saw

You can still change the blade in order to make it a bit more accurate. So it’s better to use a sacrificial piece of wood to see if the blade you’re using here is right.

If you believe that the saw is too wide, you can still change the blade and use a narrower one. Use sacrificial wood to make sure the saw is wide or narrow enough for you.

how to rip a board with a circular saw

5. Adjust The Height of Blade

The next step is to make sure the height of the blade is in the right place. Again, you can use a sacrificial piece of wood to determine the height.

It’s even better if you can place a piece of paper underneath the blade. This will help you make your decision easier.

You can determine the height of the blade once you have the working piece on the table. So make sure the height of the blade you use matches the piece you’re working on.

Setting up the blade before you start cutting is crucial for making accurate cuts. Don’t rush this step and take it very seriously. Because this will determine how you will make the cut.

Of course, you can still make adjustments, later on, so try it out on a sacrificial piece of wood.

6. Make The Adjustments and Let It Rip

So based on your trial on the sacrificial piece of wood, it’s time to make the final adjustments to the saw you’re using. Adjust the height finally.

Now it’s time to start cutting. Once you have the saw in the right place, you can start cutting.

Make sure the saw is locked into place nicely so that it doesn’t move around too much. And also make sure to wear protective gear before you start cutting.

You can stop the blade and make small cuts at first to see that everything’s going as it should be.

This step is important to make adjustments. You can start with a very small cut at first and then let it rip completely once you’re satisfied.

Move the piece of wood closer to you once you’re happy with the alignment. Continue this process until you cut the wood completely.

See also this video: How To Rip 2×4 With A Circular Saw

Tips and Tricks For Cutting The Board

Here are some tips and tricks you can follow to avoid some of the most common mistakes even skilled woodworkers make.

  • Make sure you secure the workpiece and use the clamps before you start cutting. This will help you keep the piece of wood in place in order to make accurate cuts.
  • If you use guides, then you need to secure them in place, too. You don’t want them moving around as you cut.

Final Thoughts

Cutting narrow boards is not always the easiest task. If you have a table saw, this process is a bit more comfortable.

But if you want to use a circular saw, you’ll have to be quite accurate in your work.

That’s what preparation is key here. You’ll want to make sure everything’s in place before you start making the cut. You can always make adjustments later on.

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