For an experienced saw user, rolling the blade over a line is like a piece of cake. But if you are a newbie in using power tools, cutting straight using circular blades won’t be as easy as it seems.
Track saws might help as they are a perfect type to cut straight on any surface within a jiffy. They guide saw blades along with showing the correct measurement. But in the case of circular saws, both of those features are missing.
Most of the time, circular saws move away from the marker line because of huge vibration, massive RPM, and unsteady hands.
So, how can you cut straight with a circular saw? For a straight cut using circular saw, you’ll need a saw track or rails or guides. You can either purchase any one of them or build one at your home.
But there are right ways to use these saw guides. Then, let’s make your saw work easier. I have prepared a complete solution to your problem with some pro tips and faq.
Saw Tracks for Straight Circular Saw Cuts
DIY Straight Cut Rails
Having a hand-made straight rail or guide is the best option as per my opinion. You can use any crooked board or wooden piece of at least 40″ X 4″ X 2″ dimension with straight and smooth edges as a rail. Alongside, you need to use some sturdy clamps to hold the rail while ripping or cutting surfaces.
How to Make a DIY Circular Saw Guide
Making your own guide rail is pretty simple.
The main thing needed is to find a long straight hardboard or a thin wood beam around 48″ in length. Because most of the time, surfaces come in 4′ X 8′ dimensions in carpentering or woodworking.
Then, you have to use a motorized or hand sander to make the sides and edges of the thin wood beam smoother. After that, some burnishing can be done if needed. But I prefer DIY guides without burnishes.
After sanding, the guide is almost ready to help running blades straight. You can recheck the straightness by pushing the edge against your garage’s ceiling or floor.
Let’s try something less complex.
You’ve seen aluminum frames in glass windows, right? If you can find such an aluminum beam with less thickness, you can easily use them right after eliminating the sharpness on top edges with sanding.
Aluminum rails are usually straight. They are better for bulk cutting projects.
How To Use Diy Rails With A Circular Saw For Straight Cuts
To use this type of homemade saw tracks, the components needed are:
- Two clamps
- A scale or measuring tape
- A marker
Take the measuring tape and marker to mark the length of the desired cut on both ends of the surface like you are determining the starting point and finishing point for the blade’s run.
Next, push the circular saw’s blade on the starting point. You can read the width of the saw border from the blade. Mark the length of the border too and place the guide on it.
Then, use the clamps to hold the rail and recheck whether it’s held parallel with the blade route or not.
Finally, start cutting the surface at any speed you want.
Benefits of DIY Saw Guides
- Budget efficient
- Can be used in any way
- Splinter-free performance if used carefully
- No scaling or measurement integrated
- Can shake when clamps aren’t tightened well
- Doesn’t stop saws from cutting workbenches
Buying a Circular Saw Track (Kreg Rip Cut & Accu-Cut) (product placement opportunity)
I highly doubt there’s anything except market cut straighteners capable of making saw cuts more accurate and precise.
Cut rails might cost around 40-50$ but they bring perfection in the woodwork, which is required the most.
To me, the most reliable saw tracks in the market are Kreg Rip cut and Kreg Accu cut (cross cut). Because Kreg guides feature lots of stuff at reasonable pricing.
Kreg Rip Cut
Kreg rip cuts can help to cut 24’’ width without any windings. The aluminum scale has scaling on top. You can measure the cutting distance using it. At one side of the scale, there’s a saw mount where you can attach the saw with integrated clips or bolts. The other side has a support beam that stays a bit lower.
The scale moves staying horizontally compared to the width of the surface with the help of the support beam that stays low and makes the saw go parallely with the edge of a surface. You can lock the saw distance from the beam and apply it for multiple similar incises. In short, It is like a Vernier Scale that guides moving up and down.
Kreg Accu Cut
In contrast, an Accu cut guide is like a train track that fixes the path for trains. It has a larger aluminum scale and only one mount on it. When you mount your circular saw on this guide, it gets to go forward and backward following the scale.
There’s no scope of locking the incise measures here. But you can pierce from different angles without changing positions. And the rest of the features are almost the same as Rip Cuts.
So, what’s the difference between Kreg Rip cut and Accu cut? The difference is broken into multiple facts below:
Kreg Rip Cut
- Can lock the cut measurements
- Helps to cut not more than 24” width
- Perfect for repeated professional cuts
- Moves parallely with surface edges
Kreg Accu Cut
- Doesn’t lock the length:only guides
- Best option for both smaller and larger cuts
- Can stay anywhere of the surface to help a circular saw cut
- Brings out any professional angular cuts
Benefits of Kreg Trails
- Integrated scaling
- precise saw mount
- Holding back blades from cutting workbench
- No clamp required
- No need for speed square or other scaling.
- Fast work without any need of locking the placement
- Eliminates splintering
- An overheated motor can melt mount plastic
- Doesn’t stay steady when the saw is vibrating too much because of excessive use
Other Similar Options
Bora NGX sets and Bora WTX sets are also very popular. They might not work clamp-free like Kreg models, but NGX and WTX come with locking systems that cover up the drawback.
Apart from them, there are many saw tracks from Peachtree and ProGrip that have clamps but don’t have any saw mount integrated, which discourages users from purchasing.
Fun Fact: Why Using Levels isn’t Recommended?
Even these days, many DIYers rely on costly aluminum levels or scales. I’ve found them almost like my self-made aluminum guide. Still, they cost more than 20$.
The only positive side these levels give are they are long, strong, and have smooth edges. Though these things are required, levels are not worth the price they are sold at. Thus, I am not recommending them to you.
Pro Tips: How Make Your Saw Work More Accurate
The best circular saw guides are being used yet not getting the output?
Well, there must be some other issues as most trails are universal, and they can’t misguide your blade. Here are some tips and tricks that you can practice to improve the outcomes.
Start your saw with the maximum rotation. Gradually decrease the rotation along with moving hands.
Maximum 7 ¼ inch blades marked “Pressure treated lumber” are good at rip cutting. Better use those for rip cuts.
Always try to use >60 ATB blades for crosscuts. It makes going against wood lines easier. If possible, adding rafter scales in your toolbag for accurate marking would be good.
Despite using a rail, draw a line using a marker or pencil so that you can notice if the support has moved or not.
Try using the circular saw on some other stuff for testing purposes to get assurance of blade fitness.
Using gloves along with safety glass and other stuff while working is mandatory. Otherwise, hands might slip because of dust or sweat.
So, all the stuff is discussed, including every fact you need to know. Now, you must be wondering which one to choose; making your own custom rail or purchasing a Kreg trail? If the budget is a key concern here, then one should always go for DIY guides. Even so, homemade rails aren’t for professional projects or maximum accuracy. Thus, my opinion always goes for Kreg Rip cut or Accu cut.
Which saw guide is the best?
Without any argument, Kreg Rip cuts are the best. Though they aren’t fully compatible like Accu cuts, they are the most stable and consistent supports available.
Can you straight cut walls using a circular saw?
No. You should never try using a circular saw for straight or plunge cuts on walls. The only preferred power tool here is the jigsaw.
Can you cut straight on the ceiling with circular saws?
Circular saw will vibrate and make your hands shake when you try to cut the ceiling. Even if you try to use a good track, it won’t stay steady because you can’t evenly keep your hands pushing higher. So, not a good decision.
What things can you cut with a circular saw?
You should use circular saws for brick, stone, metal, and dry wood surfaces only.
Note: Lower brick surfaces like floor or shelf are indicated here.
Are Kreg circular saw guides universal?
Yes, they are universal, and they support any type of circular saw having a similar border.