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Ripping Narrow Boards with Circular Saws

A circular saw is a basic and portable tool every woodworker and DIYer has in their workshop. It is effective for making straight cuts on boards and sheet goods for any length with ease. Some people use table saws to rip narrow boards. It is hectic though when it comes to ripping long narrow boards. This is where the circular saw comes into play with its preciseness, and neatness.

It is crucial to have the necessary skills to use a circular saw to rip a narrow board. It helps in eliminating mistakes during the ripping process. The circular saw has a powerful motor plus a fast-spinning blade effective for the work.

There are extra tools required to rip a narrow board with a circular saw including:

  • Safety gear- glasses, gloves, ear protectors, and dust masks. 
  • Platform (flat work surface)
  • Pencil or marker
  • Measuring tape or angle
  • Narrow board
  • Clamps
  • Worktable or Sawhorses
  • Sacrificial wood piece
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Steps: How to rip a narrow board with a circular saw

Gathering all the tools needed for the process should be the first step. Safety is significant as well, thus, the need to have protective gear in place. Ensure you put on the safety gear before starting the ripping process.

1. Choose the right platform

The platform should be longer and wider than the subject wood to rip. The stability of the platform should reduce the chances of the circular saw moving very much. A single or several slabs are used for support and based on the length of the wood.

Creating lines on the narrow board to be cut is done to ease precise cuts after the preparations. The lines make it easy to place the circular saw with ease.

2. Clamp the circular saw to the platform

Clamp the circular saw on the platform. Even though some people don’t find the step necessary, it is important, especially for the novice. They give a solid level where the process is well facilitated. Place the clamps below the board or down onto the slabs. Ensure the clamps are tight and in place before starting the process.

3. Determine the width of the saw

Feed the sacrificial wood piece into the circular saw and make a reference cut. The outcome of the thickness of the obtained cut determines the status of the blade. To achieve the desired thickness, move the front of the circular saw accordingly. 

A change of blade is also necessary where you feel the saw is too wide for the process.

4. Adjust the blade parallel

The blade tends to warp during the cutting process if the circular saw blade does not face the platform. There are also ripple effects to the saw motor, and the saw blade shatters. It also destroys the work piece.

Push a sacrificial wood into the blade gently. It should be done from the front of the saw. A reference cut is made on the underside and turns over the sacrificial wood. Feed the same wood from the backside and get a second reference cut. The two cuts should line up and meet at the same point.

In cases where the cuts don’t meet up, you should adjust the blade until the cuts meet making the blade parallel.

5. Height of the blade adjustments

Use a sacrificial wood piece to determine if the height of the blade is perfect. The height of the blade should match the wood piece for the ripping process. A piece of paper is also effective to determine the height of the blade. Place the paper under the blade, and if it passes just under, then the blade height is okay.

6. Final adjustments and ripping

Final adjustments depend on the trials done using the sacrificial wood piece. Make sure the circular saw, and everything else is in place before starting the process. 

To ensure the circular saw is well placed and does not move much, you should press the trigger and lock it. The process of feeding the narrow board through the board in a gentle manner now begins. For clarity and precision, make small cuts and adjust accordingly. Once satisfied with the outcome, let the board rip completely. The process should continue until the entire process is complete.

It is easy to rip a narrow board with a circular saw given the right tool, skills, and safety gear. The market has a wide range of circular saws and other tools necessary for the process. Choose the right tool for you and follow the steps listed in this article for a beautiful outcome.

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