A pair of saw guides

I finally bought myself a circular saw a few weeks ago. I’d managed without one until now, using either handsaws or my jigsaw to break down sheet material. I found that I never quite got a perfect edge with them though and I wanted to improve my accuracy for some breadboards I’m making so spend a bit of birthday money and bought a cheap saw.

To go with it I decided to build a pair of guides, based on a design I’ve seen a number of places. Basically it’s a giant benchhook with a strip of wood to guide the saw running down the middle. You clamp it in place with the edge on your cut line and it keeps the saw straight.

To start with, I had a couple of bits of ply that were about the right size. If they hadn’t been you could have just clamped a bit of wood to the sheet and used it to make the base.

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I measured my saw base and then marked a square line either end to align the piece of pine that I was using to guide the saw

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A generous bead of glue

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Then clamp it into position. This is where it got a bit interesting, I didn’t have a clamp wide enough to clamp the middle so I used a bit of scrap to bridge the gap. I think this bit of wood is called a caul but whatever the name, it worked great.

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I wandered off to do other projects while the guide dried in place, then flipped it over and glued a short piece of scrap across the guide. This serves as both a stop and to make sure the guide stays square to the board being cut. If you want to make an angled cut it still works fine, you just have only part of the stop touching the board.

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Once that was dry the final step was to turn it over, and use the guide to trim itself to width. This just means making a cut along the guide so that the base is cut to width.

I had decided that I was going to make both a long and short guide, so made that one up as well Here’s the end results, though they still need a bit more sanding to remove the excess glue and maybe a coat of oil

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I took a few photos of the short one in action for your viewing pleasure. Mark your cut, then align the guide so that it sits just on the edge of the line. Clamp it in place, making sure that the clamps won’t interfere with the saw’s motor otherwise you won’t be able to make the cut (yes, I learnt this when I went to trim them to width!)

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Then after the cut. Just about perfect, and all for the price of a bit of scrap wood and a few minutes work.

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