How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

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A circular saw, whether it is attached to a table or is handheld, is a type of power tool with a circular blade. This particular tool can do a variety of different types of cuts and can prove to be very useful in various projects. For this article, we will be discussing how narrow boards can be ripped using a circular saw. Not only will this post lay out a step by step guide to achieving this, but it will also cover the types of materials needed and tips on how to be safe during your project. 

Tools & Materials

DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake, 15-Amp, Corded (DWE575SB)

In order to accomplish the task of ripping narrow boards with the circular saw, you will need the following items. First, you will need protective gear. This includes gloves, ear protection, helmet with face shield or goggles and mask and apron style chaps

Once you have secured all of these items, you can move on to the next area of tools and materials. These include the circular saw with a sharpened blade, a narrow piece of wood that you will use to cut, a long and narrow platform to put the wood on, measuring tape, pencil, two clamps to attach the wood and a work table

Step-by-Step Instructions

DEWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Brake, Tool Only, Cordless (DCS570B)

Step 1: Find the correct platform.

It is recommended that you use a long and narrow piece of wood to use as the slab. The longer, the better, and you should ensure that the piece you will be using as the slab is more thick than the piece of wood you will be ripping. Since your power tool will be placed on this slab you have chosen, it needs to be taller than the workpiece. 

Step 2: Clamp the sole on your circular saw to your slab.

This should be done at two different points to ensure stability. Make sure it is held together tightly. If you are finding yourself struggling with it not being tight, utilize small pieces of wood on the sole. 

Step 3: Adjust the width of the saw by making a reference cut.

After you find the front of the power tool, slowly and carefully feed a small piece of wood into the blade of the saw to make a reference point cut. After this is done, you can measure the thickness of the cut you have made. You can then adjust the front of the saw to create your desired cut width.

Step 4: Use the face of the platform to align the blade parallel.

This is important because without the blade being directly parallel to the platform, it could warp during the cutting process. If used incorrectly for a long period of time you even risk your blade shattering. To do this, you will need to make two cuts on a small piece of wood. One cut using the front of the saw, and one using the back. If you’re able to make the cuts in the same spot, your saw should be parallel and aligned. If not, adjust your saw accordingly. 

Step 5: Change the height of the blade.

Move the blade all the way down onto the surface of the table. To test this, slide a piece of paper between the blade and the table. If the paper just passes through, you have found a good blade height.

Step 6: Adjust the parallel again.

Ensure that you are able to make the blade perpendicular with the table. You can utilize a wedge between the motor casing and the sole.

Last but surely not least, once you ensure you have completed all the steps and have all the proper gear on, you can begin ripping your board. 

Safety While Using Saw

Along with the safety equipment you will need, here are a few safety tips as well. Safety should always be the priority when doing DIY projects and operating power tools. First, always make sure that you have your protective gear before beginning a project, and make sure that gear is in good shape. Next, make sure the saw is off and unplugged before you make any needed adjustments. Ensure that the rip fence and the blade are locked in place before you begin the ripping process. Lastly, before beginning, make sure that you are holding the saw firmly. 

When working with power tools, it is always important to know what you are handling and ensure that you take all the precautions. Even if you feel as though you are an expert in an area, you never know what doing a little research might do for you. If you plan to rip narrow boards with a circular saw, follow our steps, ensure you are prepared with all the right equipment and be safe!

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