Crosscut Guide For The Circular Saw

One Problem With a Small Shop

Having a small shop, I am constantly running into the problem of having to cut large sheets of plywood and MDF into more manageable pieces before I can run them through the table saw. Usually what I do is clamp a straightedge on the plywood to cut it, problem is, you have to measure over from the edge of the saw base to get the straightedge in the proper spot for the cut. I have seen many people on the web making a crosscut guide for their shop and always meant to do the same thing.

My Lucky Day

New Ryobi Saw
The new Ryobi circular saw

Yesterday I was at my local Princess Auto, which I think is kind of like a watered down Harbor Freight in the US, and I picked up this Ryobi 12 amp 7 1/4″ circular saw, on sale for 24.99. Now I know this is not a high quality saw, but since I have another Milwaukee saw in my van for work, it will stay in my shop to be used with the crosscut guide for cutting down larger sheets of plywood. It came with a blade that would be good if i was working on framing, but because I am using it for plywood, I decided to get a bit finer of a blade.

Fine Toothed Carbide Blade
The new 60 tooth carbide replacement blade
Waxing saw bottom
Here I am applying paste wax to the bottom of the saw to make it slide easier

Building The Crosscut Guide

Cutting the base
Cutting the plywood for the base to length

I decided to use what i had around the shop so I used 1/4″ sanded plywood for the base. I also had some 2″ by 1/2″ Maple that I made use of for the guide strip. I decided that as well as a crosscut guide for my circular saw, I could use the other side of the strip to guide my router. I made the guide 60″ long so that if I needed too, I could also cut a 5′ sheet of Baltic birch plywood.

Cutting guide strip
Cutting the guide strip to 60″

When I started gluing and clamping the strip to the crosscut guides base, I realized that I do not have a big enough assortment of clamps. Because the strip was in the middle, and my clamps just barely reached, i ended up countersinking some screws from the bottom of the base for good measure.

Guing the strip to the base
Gluing and clamping the guide strip to the base
Screws into strip from base
I added some countersunk screws from the bottom into the guide strip

Once all my glue had dried, I ran the circular saw down one side and the router with a straight bit down the other. I sanded all the edges smooth and applied some paste wax to the guide and the bottom of the saws base.

Trimming crosscut guide to fit saw
Here I am trimming the crosscut guide to fit the new Ryobi saw
Applying paste wax
I rubbed on a layer of paste wax to make everything slide smoothly

And here are the finished guides. In the end, I decided to make a shorter version as well, in case I need to cut narrower pieces for some reason. I drilled some holes in the ends for hanging them up, now all I have to do is figure out where to hang them. Hopefully next time I have to cut down a sheet of plywood or put a straight edge on something with the router, it will be an easier process.

Finished crosscut guides
The finished crosscut guides


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