Plywood cutting guide

So I thought you'd like to know that I've been building my own furniture!

OK, 1 bookshelf, but it has opened my eyes to all the possibilities... nice storage units in the playroom, built-ins in the dining room, maybe even a new desk/office setup.  Bookshelf reveal will be tomorrow... so stay tuned!

Now I don't Even if you have a table saw (sighyeah!), and one thing I've found to be an absolute must when cutting a plywood or MDF sheet with a circular saw is a

Cutting Guide

The cutting guide shows you where your circular saw will cut the wood every time.  It also gives you a guide to press your saw against, so cuts are accurate and fast.  I just need to measure and mark my sheet, line up the guide to the marks, clamp the guide to the sheet and go!

Here's how you can make your own 8' guide (use 3' pieces for a 3' guide).
  • 1 piece 8' x 12" plywood (½" thick)
  • 1 piece 1x3 board, 8'long, as straight as possible.  This will be the fence.
  • wood glue and 1" screws
1.  Attach the 1x3 to the plywood ~4" from edge making sure it runs evenly down the length of wood.  Glue and screw through the plywood into the 1x3.

2.  Clamp the 4" side to a firm surface (table) with the other edge hanging well off (you don't want your saw to cut the table).

3.  Press the left side of your circular saw firmly against the 1x3 fence and cut through the plywood (vice versa for southpaws with left-handed circular saws).  This is the "cut" you will make again and again to anything attached to your new guide, and now you can "see" where it will be, and the 1x3 fence will direct your cuts making them faster and more accurate!

4.  Feel free to label the "clamp" side and "cut" side if it's easier to remember or if they are similar widths.

*Advice*:  I wanted an 8' and 3' guide, but only had 1 20"wide piece of plywood.  So I made mine too narrow.  For my first use, I realized that I was forced to run my saw above my clamps, and didn't have enough vertical clearance!  I had to buy new lower profile clamps!  So make sure your guide has enough space for your saw to clear on the clamp side.

**Edited to add Video

me (pregnant) using my plywood ripping guide.

By the way, now I know the bottom of the saw is not called a "foot", but a "shoe", and the back of my cutting guide is a "fence"!  It pays to get the jargon right... Bookmark and Share
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