Large sheets of plywood are challenging to work with. Sometimes that even with a lot of support for outfeed, it is not enough and could still end up with a lot of risks and danger. While panel saws looked like the obvious choice for such material, it’s an expensive equipment and the size of it may prove to be troublesome for those with a smaller space to work in. It’s a machine that’s really not for everybody. There are, however, good alternatives to panel saws. A good guide system for a circular saw would be better because it is cheaper compared to a panel saw.
Creating a guide doesn’t take too much time, materials costs low, it’s easy to store away after use, and easy to use. The use of two guides will also prevent splintering. Below is a step-by-step guide to building your own custom-made circular saw guide. This is by far a cheaper alternative to circular saw guide from Home Depot.
Steps to a DIY Circular Saw Guide
- The first thing to do is to acquire the following materials: a sheet of 4’ x 8’ headboard in ¼” and wood glue. Once you have both materials, ready the headboard to make the pieces needed for a base and a fence. With the size of the headboard, it’s enough to make an 8-inch long circular saw guide. Cut a separate 5-inch width headboard that should be 8 inches in length. It would be best to keep the fence at that width as it would affect the accuracy of the guide. The given width also provides a better hold of the wood to be cut so the operation can go as smoothly as possible.
- This would be a good time to use a working glue. Do your best to get the edges aligned. If it does not align, it will be trimmed later. Position the part glue-up and put a weight to make the flat hold. Be sure that while the glue dries, it’s flattened.
- If there’s an overhanging, leave it open so that the blade can get to it and nothing else. Hold the fence against the base while cutting it. Start trimming the edges to make it clean. Take turns holding the base and the fence against the blade and make the cut on the length. This will complete the jig.
How to use the guide
- Now that the guide is complete, it’s up for testing. Position it at the path of the cut line. Carefully measure and create the necessary marks for the plywood for cutting. The backer board will be the base of the guide. Use the clamps to steady the plywood so that nothing will get in the way of the path of the motor.
- Hold the fence against the saw while the base is flattened to make the lengthy cut. Make sure to hold and push in a steady motion to be able to get the precise cut. The edges should be free of chips and perfectly trimmed at the right size.
- Make sure to scour shops for the best blade for plywoods like veneer. Do not rely heavily on a blade that came along with your equipment as they may have been dulled over time from too much use or it could be that it was created specifically for lumber. A tooth-count of up to 60 in carbide is ideal. Also, a thin and narrow kerf will be able to help lessen the resistance while cutting is in commence. The tough carbide glade tip will also lengthen the lifespan of the blade until it needs sharpening again.