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View Full Version : Perfect cuts with circular saw - How?



ls2poweredgoat
02-27-2008, 04:07 PM
I read a trick on here a few months back on how to make perfectly straight cuts with a circular saw, but I can't find/remember it...

Any tips?

bonesninja
02-27-2008, 04:09 PM
i usually use a piece of MDF and some clamps as a guide...never fails me

Pop da Hatch
02-27-2008, 04:11 PM
Factor edge ;)

ls2poweredgoat
02-27-2008, 04:12 PM
Factor edge ;)

?????

jdc753
02-27-2008, 04:14 PM
combination of all the above, and a good sharp blade. Use some sort of guide or fence system, and utilize the factory edges as best as you possible can. A good steady hand and a good eye really help too if your gonna just follow a line.


?????

Factory Edge. The edges of the board when you buy it.

ls2poweredgoat
02-27-2008, 04:18 PM
I've made quite a few boxes, and I just bought a really nice blade, but I know my cuts can be better.

97gp
02-27-2008, 04:25 PM
http://www.deldavenport.com/ww/table/trimsaw.jpg

http://www.raisetheranch.com/blog/january06/cutting.jpg

And thats not me.

bonesninja
02-27-2008, 04:31 PM
http://www.deldavenport.com/ww/table/trimsaw.jpg

http://www.raisetheranch.com/blog/january06/cutting.jpg

And thats not me.

thats how i do it......of course it helped me tremendously going from a $35 walmart skil circular to my $150 Home Depot Porter Cable circular saw. You really do get what you pay for

ls2poweredgoat
02-27-2008, 04:36 PM
I have a $50 Black and Decker circular saw I got from Walmart, it really isn't bad.

97gp
02-27-2008, 04:38 PM
I have a nice corded dewalt saw, also a matching battery powered circular saw.

MikeyB
02-27-2008, 04:41 PM
Yup, just get two clamps, I use c-clamps, and a nice straight edge. Mark your line according to the distance of the fence on the saw, clamp and cut!

Perfect cuts everytime as long as you measure and line it up right ;)

stuckinok
02-27-2008, 04:51 PM
I have Home Depot do it for 25 cents a cut becuase iam lazy.


They havnt let me down yet *knocks on wood*

Pop da Hatch
02-27-2008, 04:56 PM
Factor edge ;)


http://www.deldavenport.com/ww/table/trimsaw.jpg

http://www.raisetheranch.com/blog/january06/cutting.jpg

And thats not me.

Factory edge used as the straight edge for inside guide on saw. Hence your cuts will be straight and square.

/

Immacomputer
02-27-2008, 06:06 PM
Once you use a straight edge to keep the cuts square (or as square as possible), you also need to really be critical of your measurements. Make sure to account for the saw blade and measure from the blade edge to the straight edge.

When making multiple cuts with the same dimension, I usually take the first piece I cut (after I have made sure it is the exact dimension I need) and I draw a line on the wood I'm going to cut by putting the first cut piece on top. I then check that measurement and make sure it's correct and then set up my straight edge to make sure that the blade sits correctly on the outside of the line. Once you're set up, you just rip as steady as possible and make sure all sides are supported well so you don't pinch the blade.

Without a table saw, I have found that method to work the best for me but it is very time consuming. What takes 20 minutes on a table saw, takes me about 2 hours with a circular saw.

jdawg
02-27-2008, 06:59 PM
I use abot a 4 1/2 foot level, factory edges aernt always perfect

ls2poweredgoat
02-27-2008, 07:44 PM
Wow thanks for all the tips guys.

Pop da Hatch
02-27-2008, 08:04 PM
I use abot a 4 1/2 foot level, factory edges aernt always perfect

nor are levels ;)

jdawg
02-27-2008, 08:06 PM
so my level is crooked? sure

hzsogood
02-27-2008, 08:08 PM
I use abot a 4 1/2 foot level, factory edges aernt always perfect

6 foot level and a slow steady hand :)

hzsogood
02-27-2008, 08:10 PM
stanley fat max ftw... Perfect.. There a lil thicker so when using clamps and the level as a guide they are excellent.. Im biased tho those are the only levels i have

Pop da Hatch
02-27-2008, 08:11 PM
so my level is crooked? sure

Ive seen many bent ones, not saying yours is. Please ship it to me for further inspection! :fyi:

ls2poweredgoat
02-27-2008, 08:12 PM
How would one of those $100 Ryobi table saws compare? Would it just be junk?

mobeious
02-27-2008, 08:14 PM
if u go to Lowes they have a guide that is ment for circular saw i think its made out of aluminum and its around $20... make sure u have the MDF on a cutable table or on wood sawhorses that run oposite way ur cutting so ur wood doesnt fall and pench the blade or break parts of MDF off

iamamp3pimp
02-27-2008, 08:15 PM
Once you use a straight edge to keep the cuts square (or as square as possible), you also need to really be critical of your measurements. Make sure to account for the saw blade and measure from the blade edge to the straight edge.

When making multiple cuts with the same dimension, I usually take the first piece I cut (after I have made sure it is the exact dimension I need) and I draw a line on the wood I'm going to cut by putting the first cut piece on top. I then check that measurement and make sure it's correct and then set up my straight edge to make sure that the blade sits correctly on the outside of the line. Once you're set up, you just rip as steady as possible and make sure all sides are supported well so you don't pinch the blade.

Without a table saw, I have found that method to work the best for me but it is very time consuming. What takes 20 minutes on a table saw, takes me about 2 hours with a circular saw.

idk, i got it down to where i was ripping up 3 32x24 into whatever i needed in about 25 minutes.

hzsogood
02-27-2008, 08:16 PM
How would one of those $100 Ryobi table saws compare? Would it just be junk?

ryobi is junk period... and by yourself its much easier to get the first big cuts done w a circ saw ...

bonesninja
02-27-2008, 08:17 PM
if u go to Lowes they have a guide that is ment for circular saw i think its made out of aluminum and its around $20... make sure u have the MDF on a cutable table or on wood sawhorses that run oposite way ur cutting so ur wood doesnt fall and pench the blade or break parts of MDF off

thats why i built this table in my garage...and so i can easily handle full sheets of MDF

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa108/bonesninja/DSC01954.jpg

hzsogood
02-27-2008, 08:19 PM
unless of course u have access to a commercial saw w a 72 inch fence ... :)

profundus-sanus
02-27-2008, 08:20 PM
i use a 8 foot level so i can rip a whole sheet of mdf..

I would waste mdf just to make one cut for all the same length boards, esp with a circular saw.

twisztdauthorit
02-27-2008, 08:21 PM
thats why i built this table in my garage...and so i can easily handle full sheets of MDF

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa108/bonesninja/DSC01954.jpg

nice table.. id be afraid of cutting through the frame though

Pop da Hatch
02-27-2008, 08:22 PM
nice table.. id be afraid of cutting through the frame though

set saw to cut to 3/4" depth! :fyi:

bonesninja
02-27-2008, 08:23 PM
nice table.. id be afraid of cutting through the frame though

you just have to set the blade depth slightly more than your wood thickness. You should do that anyways. Hell this table has many, many <1/4" cuts in it. I made it to be able to cut into the top of it

bonesninja
02-27-2008, 08:25 PM
and they are CHEAP to build...literally less than $20 worth of 2x4's and 1 3/4" wood screws

dcole18
02-27-2008, 09:30 PM
unless of course u have access to a commercial saw w a 72 inch fence ... :)

i have acess to one as well... deff the best way :fyi:

BrianChia
02-27-2008, 09:39 PM
Vertical Panel Saw FTW... I wish I had one.

Ken448
02-27-2008, 10:30 PM
I cut A LOT straighter when my blade is deeper. Seems if I use a shallow blade setting, my edges are ****** and not too smooth. IF I can get HD to do my cuts off a cut sheet, I utilize them most of the time, but you have to get the right guy to do it. Some will simply tell you no.

iamamp3pimp
02-28-2008, 12:02 AM
and others ****.

ikpthegame
02-28-2008, 02:06 AM
if u go to Lowes they have a guide that is ment for circular saw i think its made out of aluminum and its around $20...

Have a link on there site cause i cant seem to find it at all.

twisztdauthorit
02-28-2008, 02:10 AM
set saw to cut to 3/4" depth! :fyi:

makes sense

aeon
02-28-2008, 02:12 AM
what do you guys think about this?

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11284

UCF52
02-28-2008, 10:50 AM
what do you guys think about this?

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11284

Looks a little "iffy" - I would stick with an edge and clamps. Like Immacomputer said, triple check your measurements and take your time... you'll get a nice cut every time you do that.

jdc753
02-28-2008, 11:19 AM
what do you guys think about this?

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11284

I wouldn't trust that all too much. Definitely looks a little weak, with a brand new saw they give you something like that anyways, least I got one with my Makita. I could just picture that thing binding up even with a nice factory edge to follow. Spend the $8 or whatever on some clamps and next thing you build rip down a 4" wide strip or so with one side being a factory edge and use that as your guide.

That table sure looks nice, last time I made some cuts for my amp rack I was too lazy to break out the table saw and the garage was too packed, I ended up throwing the sheet into the bed of my truck and making the cuts off the tailgate lol, was a 60" x 18" piece though, found an old pizza box in the garage and used that to prop it up for the last bit of the 60" cut lol, yea it was ghetto for sure but it worked :laugh:

Mr Cabinetry
02-28-2008, 11:49 AM
thats why i built this table in my garage...and so i can easily handle full sheets of MDF

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa108/bonesninja/DSC01954.jpg

Here's a tip for ya that will save ya from putting saw kerf cuts in the top:

Buy the 3/4" styrofoam sheets that HD/Lowes sells, they come come 12" w x 48" L, put them under the MDF sheet to raise if off the table surface and that way you can set the blade depth lower and not hack up the table top surface when cutting the mdf sheet.

Phil
Woodlawn Cabinetry

Immacomputer
02-28-2008, 12:10 PM
idk, i got it down to where i was ripping up 3 32x24 into whatever i needed in about 25 minutes.

I'm sure with a lot of practice and the proper work area that is possible. For me though, I have to work in a garage filled with bullshit and I had to use little fold up chairs to support the wood. Making one cut involved rearranging chairs, moving wood and trash, clamping wood to the chairs, measuring once, cross checking with a previously cut piece, clamping my straight edge down, measuring again, and then ripping. It was about a 10-15 minute process per cut. I didn't do it often because it was such a pain in the ***. My table saw cut down that process to where I can make all cuts in about 20 minutes.

dman4486
02-28-2008, 12:13 PM
I cut A LOT straighter when my blade is deeper. Seems if I use a shallow blade setting, my edges are ****** and not too smooth. IF I can get HD to do my cuts off a cut sheet, I utilize them most of the time, but you have to get the right guy to do it. Some will simply tell you no.

a goo blade on a circle saw has one or multiple slits with a round hole at the end...set your depth such that half the circle shows on the other side of the board and you will always have great edges(assuming the blade is sharp)

http://www.amanatool.com/bladedetails/miter-&-trim-blade-12'.jpg

dman4486
02-28-2008, 12:17 PM
http://www.amanatool.com/articles/selecting-sawblades.html

some good information:D

only126db
02-28-2008, 12:28 PM
A light weight saw....sharp blade.....cut slowly....clamp a level/straight edge to material...triple check measurements......and you should be good.

UCF52
02-28-2008, 01:08 PM
Here's a tip for ya that will save ya from putting saw kerf cuts in the top:

Buy the 3/4" styrofoam sheets that HD/Lowes sells, they come come 12" w x 48" L, put them under the MDF sheet to raise if off the table surface and that way you can set the blade depth lower and not hack up the table top surface when cutting the mdf sheet.

Phil
Woodlawn Cabinetry

I like that idea!


I'm sure with a lot of practice and the proper work area that is possible. For me though, I have to work in a garage filled with bullshit and I had to use little fold up chairs to support the wood. Making one cut involved rearranging chairs, moving wood and trash, clamping wood to the chairs, measuring once, cross checking with a previously cut piece, clamping my straight edge down, measuring again, and then ripping. It was about a 10-15 minute process per cut. I didn't do it often because it was such a pain in the ***. My table saw cut down that process to where I can make all cuts in about 20 minutes.

When I lived in an apartment last year I was using keg shells as supports for the wood and using weights to hold it down :crap: ... it was terrible.


A light weight saw....sharp blade.....cut slowly....clamp a level/straight edge to material...triple check measurements......and you should be good.

x2. I will sometimes check my measurements 7 or 8 times before I cut. I really need to invest in a router - flush trim bit FTW!

dbhittin
02-28-2008, 01:15 PM
*****s, i use a jig saw

bjfish11
02-28-2008, 01:17 PM
ryobi is junk period... and by yourself its much easier to get the first big cuts done w a circ saw ...

I wouldnt say all Ryobi is junk. I have a Ryobi plunge router as well as 4 ryobi fixed base routers. Very, very nice tools for the price. ;)

I would say a circular saw will be much better than any really cheap table saw. Like most of these guys have said, find a nice straight edge, clamp it town, and go to town.

UCF52
02-28-2008, 02:04 PM
*****s, i use a jig saw

Really? How do you keep long cuts straight? Flush trim?

Immacomputer
02-28-2008, 02:44 PM
When I lived in an apartment last year I was using keg shells as supports for the wood and using weights to hold it down :crap: ... it was terrible.

What apartment complex? I bet that was a ***** to do on keg shells.

Mr Cabinetry
02-28-2008, 02:45 PM
I wouldnt say all Ryobi is junk. I have a Ryobi plunge router as well as 4 ryobi fixed base routers. Very, very nice tools for the price. ;)


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I have to agree with BJ on this one, I own quite a few Ryobi tools myself :

4 Cordless Drills
3 Fixed Based Trim Routers
2 Plunge Routers
1 - 3 x 21 Belt Sander

The only thing bad I would have to say about ryobi is the battery's for the cordless drills as I have had to replace a couple of the 14.4v battery's, but, Nicad's over time don't last forever either.

Phil
Woodlawn Cabinetry

J31Rob
02-28-2008, 02:46 PM
I've made MANY boxes with a circular saw, I bought an accuracy attachment that slid on in front of the blade.. simple as following the line.

UCF52
02-28-2008, 03:01 PM
What apartment complex? I bet that was a ***** to do on keg shells.

The Village at Alafaya Club - college housing. And yes, it was terrible... I would sometimes have to use my left leg as a clamp while I made my cuts. Not only did it ****, but it was pretty dangerous too. Haha, I am going to get flamed for this, but on one particular boxed I used a power sander in the living room so I could watch TV and sand my box at the same time. It sounds pretty bad, but if you saw the way we kept our place you would think it was fitting.

I since have moved into huge house in Avalon and pay less per month; go figure. The prices they charge for rent at those apartment complexes are ridiculous.

****** apartments for ~ $580 a month (with utilities)

or

Big half a million dollar house for ~ $500 a month (with utilities)

No more indoor sanding for me, lol.

dman4486
02-28-2008, 03:04 PM
The Village at Alafaya Club - college housing. And yes, it was terrible... I would sometimes have to use my left leg as a clamp while I made my cuts. Not only did it ****, but it was pretty dangerous too.

I since have moved into huge house in Avalon and pay less per month; go figure. The prices they charge for rent at those apartment complexes are ridiculous.

****** apartments for ~ $580 a month (with utilities)

or

Big half a million dollar house for ~ $500 a month (with utilities)

per person? holy *****...i am paying $311 right now, and am moving into a house that is rather large for $700 amongst 3 people/month

UCF52
02-28-2008, 03:27 PM
per person? holy *****...i am paying $311 right now, and am moving into a house that is rather large for $700 amongst 3 people/month

***** be expensive 'round here.

Yea, it ***** man. The average price per room at a student housing complex is around $550 a month (before any overages on utilities). It may be higher.

We pay $2350 per month on a house now (w/o utilities). Split between 5 of us (and staggered of course based on room size and amenities ;) ), but that is a little high, we just weren't in the position to negotiate due to time constraints, but I would say you could get a 5 bed 3.5 bath 2 year old year hold house around here for $1900-$2100 a month. It is nice because due to a large room quantity requirement, we are in a nice upper class neighborhood; Pool and fitness center at the front and everything is very local. The community is kind of like a little city (for those of you who know Avalon, you know what I'm talking about).

It's unfortunate how expensive living is around here.

dman4486
02-28-2008, 03:38 PM
***** be expensive 'round here.

Yea, it ***** man. The average price per room at a student housing complex is around $550 a month (before any overages on utilities). It may be higher.

We pay $2350 per month on a house now (w/o utilities). Split between 5 of us (and staggered of course based on room size and amenities ;) ), but that is a little high, we just weren't in the position to negotiate due to time constraints, but I would say you could get a 5 bed 3.5 bath 2 year old year hold house around here for $1900-$2100 a month. It is nice because due to a large room quantity requirement, we are in a nice upper class neighborhood; Pool and fitness center at the front and everything is very local. The community is kind of like a little city (for those of you who know Avalon, you know what I'm talking about).

It's unfortunate how expensive living is around here.

price sux, but it sounds like a nice place:D

UCF52
02-28-2008, 04:06 PM
price sux, but it sounds like a nice place:D

Yea, it's nice, definitely too nice for us, but I hate hearing that people that I know from other schools in the state pay something around what you do.

MemphisCherokee
02-28-2008, 05:28 PM
last box i did i used my worm drive circular saw
that ****ers a beast but if you get steady enough hands, you can get perfectly straight cuts
i dont have the manpower or table size to cut full sheets on my table saw so the first few cuts i have to do by hand. if im having a relativly shakey day, i just cut a bit bigger and use my hand planer or joiner to straighten the edge out

Immacomputer
02-28-2008, 05:32 PM
I am going to get flamed for this, but on one particular boxed I used a power sander in the living room so I could watch TV and sand my box at the same time. It sounds pretty bad, but if you saw the way we kept our place you would think it was fitting.

Haha, check out this picture I took in my room:

http://i28.tinypic.com/260uz5w.jpg

I guess let the flaming begin for both of us! My printer is still covered in MDF dust and that was over a year ago... and I wonder why my allergies are getting worse haha.

I pay $530 (after utilities) at Northgate Lakes and it's not too bad because of the location. I save a lot of money not having to drive to campus and get to get out on my bike every day. The apartments aren't bad here either; I'm in a 1600ft^2 four bedroom four bath completely furnished with new carpet and faux-wood flooring. Not bad but there is no where I can work on audio stuff here. :(

UCF52
02-28-2008, 11:58 PM
Haha, check out this picture I took in my room:

http://i28.tinypic.com/260uz5w.jpg

I guess let the flaming begin for both of us! My printer is still covered in MDF dust and that was over a year ago... and I wonder why my allergies are getting worse haha.

I pay $530 (after utilities) at Northgate Lakes and it's not too bad because of the location. I save a lot of money not having to drive to campus and get to get out on my bike every day. The apartments aren't bad here either; I'm in a 1600ft^2 four bedroom four bath completely furnished with new carpet and faux-wood flooring. Not bad but there is no where I can work on audio stuff here. :(

Haha, that pic is priceless! I wish I would have snapped a few pics after I was done. Northgate is nice... $530 isn't that bad either. We were so close on getting a house that is right across the street from the stadium, physically the closest home to the stadium, but that fell through. The drive can definitely be a pain (thank god for online classes!); it usually takes somewhere between 9-14 minutes from driveway to parking spot.

Immacomputer
02-29-2008, 02:51 AM
Yea, my roommates thought it was funny too. Everything in my room was covered in MDF dust.

It takes me 5 minutes from out my door to the bike rack at ENG2 or HEC. I cut across McCulloch and pop out right behind the baseball field and ride past all the new dorms. It takes me less time to get to class on my bike than it takes people to drive (and yes, I've raced a couple of friends and they have all lost, especially if I'm really trying).

miker
02-29-2008, 08:45 AM
Yea, my roommates thought it was funny too. Everything in my room was covered in MDF dust.

It takes me 5 minutes from out my door to the bike rack at ENG2 or HEC. I cut across McCulloch and pop out right behind the baseball field and ride past all the new dorms. It takes me less time to get to class on my bike than it takes people to drive (and yes, I've raced a couple of friends and they have all lost, especially if I'm really trying).


Should have had someone behind you with a vacuum

UCF52
02-29-2008, 09:00 AM
Yea, my roommates thought it was funny too. Everything in my room was covered in MDF dust.

It takes me 5 minutes from out my door to the bike rack at ENG2 or HEC. I cut across McCulloch and pop out right behind the baseball field and ride past all the new dorms. It takes me less time to get to class on my bike than it takes people to drive (and yes, I've raced a couple of friends and they have all lost, especially if I'm really trying).

That's funny. Yea, I was really pissed when that deal didn't end up going through... must be nice to be right across the street.

W8 a minute
02-29-2008, 12:32 PM
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=16448&filter=clamp

Heres a nice feature:
Optional router base plate and circular saw plate lock onto T-track and provide perfect tracking along straight edge; HDPE construction.

Mr Cabinetry
02-29-2008, 12:57 PM
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=16448&filter=clamp

Heres a nice feature:
Optional router base plate and circular saw plate lock onto T-track and provide perfect tracking along straight edge; HDPE construction.

Old News, these types straight edge clamping fixtures have been around for years.

Now here's a innovative straight edge and it doesn't require any clamps to hold it in position: http://www.mcfeelys.com/festool-guide-rails

Of course though you will have to pay a pretty good chunk of change for one.

BTW, before anyone say's anything about how well it works, it does, a woodworking store I go to all the time has it out on display/demo purposes and whatever the material is they use Non Slip Strips on the bottom just keep it in position.

Phil
Woodlawn Cabinetry

W8 a minute
02-29-2008, 01:35 PM
A few dollars cheaper:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=96878