Jigs and Guides: the I guide for a circular saw

Jig and guide for a circular saw

Mini project: To build 2 jigs or guides for the circular saw.

Description:

The base or plate of the circular saw is a rectangular piece of metal, which is square. It exists to ensure that the saw cuts exactly at 90 degrees into the wood. This is one type of guide which is built into the circular saw. What we require to build is a guide to help cut in a straight line without having to constantly measure how far from the line to setup the guide.

Steps:

  1. Assume that the base plate of the saw is 4″ wide. The blade will spin ~1″ from one edge and ~3″ from the other. It is very, very rare to cut using the 3″ side since this side has the motor mounted on it. But in a cramped space when the saw can be applied only from one direction, I have found that using the 3″ side is safer that pulling the saw toward the body.
  2. We will make this guide 4′ long. This will cover the 8’x4′ sheets that we are always going to be working with.

    Image of the final I guide
    I guide with fictional measurements showing the way the fence is to be offset on the base
  3. The guide has 2 pieces glued and screwed to each other. screws are optional and infact not recommended. These are used simply to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. The 2 pieces are the base and the fence. The edge of the base is held on the line on which we are cutting while the fence is used to guide the base plate of the saw in a perfectly straight line.
  4. Cut the fence from a sheet of 1/2″ mdf or particle board or what ever you have at hand.
  5. Cut the base from a sheet of 1/4″ material.
  6. Glue the fence onto the base in the manner below. Before gluing read step 7. Based on the position the fence on the base in such a manner that the circular saw will have something to cut out.

    Image displaying how to cut a 0 tolerance edge using the fence itself
    Cutting the base of the guide using the fence itself gives a 0 tolerance edge
  7. Once the glue is dry. Using the circular saw for which the guide is being made, cut the base by placing the base plate against the side of the fence, this will give a 0 tolerance cut for this side of the circular saw.
  8. Do the same thing for the other side of the circular saw.
  9. This guide and the circular saw are not a couple.

Usage:

This guide is used to make straight cuts which are not necessarily at 90 degrees to the edge.

  1. Draw out the line that you wish to cut along
  2. Place the guide such that the edge of the base is along the line.
  3. Clamp the guide from both side.
  4. Let her rip!!!
  5. Remember to always cut on the waste side of the line. This is where a guide which can be setup for either side of the plate comes in handy.

Now go forth and make

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