Woodworking Saw
A Template for the Circular Saw

In using a woodworking saw for cutting sheet goods, a circular saw helps a lot. A shop-made template gives accurate cuts.

This method of cutting lumber and plywood is nothing new. You've probably done it before.
You get that 4x8 sheet up on the sawhorses, mark your cut line, rig up some kind of straightedge and cut. Near the end of the cut gravity happens. Now you have two pieces that either want to collapse in the middle or fall off the end.

A Few Tips for Your Woodworking Saw or Circular Saw:

Tune the Woodworking Saw

Woodworking Saw
  1. Start with a good woodworking saw. One that is adjustable. A saw with good bearings prevents wobble. I like the Makita 5007NB.

  2. Install a good 40-tooth carbide blade.

  3. Check the blade tilt with a machinist's square.

  4. Make sure the blade is parallel to the saw's base.

Make Template Cutting Guide

The difficulty in using a straightedge with a circular saw is the offset. You need to have the straightedge offset from the cut line for the width of the saw's base. Why not make a template to solve this problem?

You could use this template for ripping. Better, you use it to crosscut a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood to a manageable size. You need a template a little over 4' long for crosscuts.

The template is easy to make. Cut 3/4" plywood about 8" x 4' for the fence. Cut a strip of 1/4" high-density fiberboard (Masonite) about 12" wide x 4'. You determine the width of the Masonite by the width of your plywood fence plus the offset of the circular saw. Add 1/2" to make sure. You trim this off to match the offset later.

The edge of the fence is free of voids. Turn the plywood fence over and clamp the Masonite on top. Drill holes to screw the Masonite to the plywood fence. Space them about 6" and zigzag the screw pattern.

Woodworking Saw Template

Woodworking Saw Template
How to Use:

The template is easy to use. Place the template on the good side of the cut. Take a machinist square to align at 90-degrees. Clamp the template at both ends.

When you make your first cut, the saw cuts the Masonite to the exact offset.

Clamp the 4 x 8 sheet on both ends. I clamp one end to my workbench and the other end to the Outfeed Table of the tablesaw. You can clamp each end to any solid surface, so that it does not drop during the cut.

Place your circular saw on the template and smoothly saw along the fence. You get an accurate cut and smooth gliding. The Masonite keeps the plywood splinter-free.

What more can you ask?


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