How To Make A Circular Saw Guide

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Circular saws are used to cut a variety of materials, primarily wood. To cut wood properly, you require not only a stable base but also a saw guide. Saw guides help you to make the proper cut.

In this article, you will see how to make a circular saw guide.

How To Make A Circular Saw Guide

If you have a proper guide for the circular saw, you’ll be able to make straight cuts with ease.

Tools Required

  • Circular Saw
  • Clamps
  • A drill, preferably cordless
  • A set of drill bits
  • A safety gear which includes a dust mask, safety glasses, and earmuffs
  • A framing square
  • A straight edge
  • Some round head screws and some washers
  • Adhesive
  • Medium Density Fibre-board (MDF) sheet (since they tend not to split)

Safety Measures

The basic safety measures you need to take are:

  • The circular saw should be in proper working condition. All moving parts must be firmly attached, and there should be no exposed electric wires.
  • Ensure you are wearing proper safety gear, including a helmet, a pair of gloves, and earmuffs.
  • The sharpness of the blades should be tested by making some sample cuts. There shouldn’t be any electric cables in the work area.
  • All loose clothing, jewelry, and any material that might get stuck in the blade should be properly tied back.
  • The circular saw should have enough space to move freely between the open and closed positions. Stand in a position so that you can avoid any kick-back.
  • Make sure to begin cutting only after reaching a stable position. Do not leave the saw till the blades have stopped moving after you have started cutting.
  • Keep children away from the work area to avoid any injuries due to casualness.

How to Make a Crosscut Guide

As the name suggests, these kinds of cuts are used for obtaining the perfect crosscuts. If you need a precise 90-degrees cut, then these guides are a must for you.

With this kind of guide, you can make a square crosscut as long as a foot and a half. The following steps need to be followed:

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Step #1: Cut the Medium Density Fibre-Board (MDF) Sheet

Always start cutting from the Medium Density Fibre-Board (MDF) sheet. Cut a 22-inch square followed by a 3-inch thick strip from the residual sheet.

Cut the 3-inch wide strip obtained into two 22-inch long stripes. Drill two holes in each of the two stripes to make room for adjustable stops.

One hole should be a quarter of an inch deep, while the other should be three times the other. You will use these to attach the MDF stripes to the bottom.

Step #2: Align the Edges

After drilling the holes, align the factory edge of the material’s base with the edge of the stop.

Make sure the angle between the stop and the fence is precisely 90-degrees. Carefully attach the stop with the swivel screw and the adjustment screw.

Step #3: Make Test Cuts

After the guide is built, make some sample cuts. Use the framing square to check if the sample cut is a perfect square. If it isn’t a perfect square, some readjustment is needed.

Make marks near the stop so that they can be used as reference lines. Loosen the adjustment screw and move the stop. Measure the distance from the reference lines.

Repeat the process till your sample cuts yield a perfect square. Once a perfect square is obtained, you can conclude that your guide is ready for making perfect square cuts.

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Clamp the base after carefully aligning its bottom edge with a framing square. Attach the fence and the base and use screws only after aligning the former with the square.

How to Make Straight Edge Guides

With the help of a proper straight edge guide, you can make precise straight cuts up to eight feet long. It is used for making shelves or cabinet parts.

Step #1: Make Required Measurements

Measure how far the blade of the saw and its shoe are apart. You can do this by cutting MDF. This dimension is the tolerance for possible errors.

From the cut made on the material, make another mark at a distance equal to the distance between the circular saw’s blade and shoe.

Cut a strip of half a foot with your circular saw from the edge of the MDF sheet. Place this cut strip on the remaining MDF sheet after flipping it.

The strip cut off should be a quarter of an inch thick.

Step #2: Clamp the Strip

On the second offset mark made previously, carefully clamp the strip you cut. Cut along this edge formed to obtain a preliminary straight cut.

Tightly affix a clamp on the material to be cut and use one of its edges as the guide for making this preliminary cut.

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Step #3: Make the Guide

Make a three-inch wide fence and cut the base into pieces about a foot long. Use two-four feet long and a quarter-of-an-inch-wide pieces of plywood to use as a straight edge guide.

Flip the fence over and ensure it is perfectly aligned with the second mark made earlier. The alignment is essential to get the perfect guide.

Step #4: Use Glue to Attach the Fence

Clean the fence before proceeding further. Now use the wood glue and apply it to the workpiece at a distance of half an inch beyond the saw’s error dimension.

On the applied glue, place the cleaned fence to fix it firmly. Let the adhesive dry properly before proceeding further. This ensures the fence is tightly attached to the workpiece.

Step #5: Apply Some Final Touches

After the fence has been fixed to the workpiece, the residual part of the material needs to be trimmed off. Use your circular saw for this process.

While cutting, make sure to cut both sides properly and fix the saw’s shoe to one side of the fence.

To use this guide, you do not need to measure the offsets as it is already taken care of while making the guide.

You just need to firmly clamp the guide and begin with the cutting process to obtain the perfect straight cut. This video will help you understand the process better.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are Self-Made Saw Guides as Good as Manufactured Ones?

Making saw guides is a simple process, and if done systematically, it can yield perfect results. Therefore, if you are a little careful while making the saw guide and do it with precision, you will obtain as good a result as manufactured guides.

What Alternatives are There to Saw Guides?

If you do not want to use a saw guide, you can use a table saw with a proper stable workstation. However, circular saws are considered easier to handle and make cutting wood a lot easier when coupled with a saw guide.


Cutting with a circular saw can be a simple process, and it produces the finest cuts.

However, to get an accurate cut, saw guides are necessary. The procedure for making a saw guide requires practice and patience, and with the perfect guide, you can make the perfect cut.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.