If you want to cut large sheets of plywood, it is an almost impossible job to do this with your table saw.
Unless you have an industrial table saw, of course.
A good solution to make these cuts is a track saw.
It is much smaller, and you can cut perfectly large sheets of plywood with it.
The only downside is that track saws are expensive.
If your budget is rather limited, a DIY circular saw guide is the perfect alternative you need!
For this DIY track saw guide, you don’t need to buy new and expensive tools.
To use this circular saw guide, you can simply use the circular saw that you already have in your workshop.
Al you need is to make an adjusted circular saw track.
Thanks to the step-by-step instructions and the free DIY circular saw guide plans you can download in this blog, you can easily build a DIY circular saw guide rail yourself.
From now on, there will be no more struggling with oversized sheets of plywood on the table saw and no more dangerous situations.
On top of that, making this DIY circular saw track is a fun and dirt cheap project to make.
Let’s build this circular saw guide!
- What is a track saw?
- Can you use a circular saw as a track saw?
- Why should you make a DIY track saw?
- Watch the video here & learn how to make a DIY circular saw guide
- How do you make a circular saw guide?
- How to use a DIY track saw guide?
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What is a track saw?
Before you discover how you can build a DIY Track saw in this article, you need to understand what a regular track saw is.
A track saw is a saw that runs on a thin rail, mostly made out of aluminum.
The edge of the rail indicates where the saw blade of the track saw will travel.
You can say that the track will serve as a cutting line indicator.
Once you’ve made marks on the plywood sheet you want to cut, all you need to do is place the cut line of the track on those marks.
Now you can make your cut by sliding the track saw over the saw track.
The track can be easily placed on the wood and will not slip as it is sticky on the bottom.
Now you can place the track saw on the track in order to make a cut.
Below you can find some examples of track saws.
Can you use a circular saw as a track saw?
To answer this question, you need to know the difference between a circular saw and a track saw.
With a circular saw, you can make crosscuts and rip cuts.
With a track saw you can make the same cuts, but on top of that, you can also make angled cuts.
Knowing this, the answer to whether you can use a circular saw as a track saw is: YES!
However, there are a few things you need to know when you want to use a circular saw as a track saw.
First, you can not make angle cuts with a DIY track saw, and second, To make straight cuts you need a custom circular saw track.
But no worries, I got your back and I will show you how to build a circular saw guide rail in this blog.
Why should you make a DIY track saw?
Making your own DIY track saw has a number of advantages.
By making a DIY circular saw guide, you can save a lot of money.
Why spend $500 or more on a track saw, when you can make a homemade track for the circular saw you already have in your workshop.
And that for a fraction of the price?
Admittedly, you can’t make angled cuts with it.
Also, you still have to clamp the track.
But the price difference may be more important to you.
Building your own DIY track saw has the advantage that you do not have to buy an extra sawing machine.
On top of that, you also have the advantage that you save storage space. If you have a small workshop, this can be of great importance.
Another advantage is that it’s just a fun and easy project to make.
Watch the video here & learn how to make a DIY circular saw guide
Here you can watch the video and see how to make a Circular saw guide.
After watching the video, you can continue reading the step-by-step guide to making this track saw guide yourself.
How do you make a circular saw guide?
Making a circular saw guide is a simple and easy woodworking beginner project.
You just need to make some kind of rail on which your circular saw can slide.
The easiest way to do that is to take a piece of wood that serves as a bottom plate and add two long strips of wood on top of it.
In between those strips of wood, you must be able to place your circular saw and slide it up and down.
For more details on how to make a DIY circular saw guide, follow all the steps in this blog and download the free DIY track saw plans.
Step 1 | Cutting to length
The first step is to cut all pieces to size.
Use the downloadable free DIY track saw plans as a basis for your circular saw guide.
Pay attention! I based the sizes on the DIY track saw plans on my circular saw.
Not all circular saws are the same size, so adjust them to the size of your circular saw.
Step 2 | Assembly
Once all the pieces have been cut, you can start assembling.
As the first part, you can make the side of the guide.
To do that, you can attach the thin strip to the bottom plate with wood glue and brad nails or screws.
Make sure that the side of the bottom plate is perfectly straight.
Since you take this side as a reference point for the entire jig, this is extremely important!
Place the thin strip along the edge of the bottom plate with the help of a square, in that way you can be sure that the edges are flush.
Once the first strip has been mounted, you can now also mount the second strip.
These two strips ensure that the circular saw will be caught, and cannot move to the left or right.
Like this, you are always assured of a straight cut.
To determine the correct distance between the two strips, place the circular saw against the strip you mounted first.
Mount the second strip against the other side of the circular saw.
Move the circular saw regularly while you fasten the strip.
By sliding the circular saw at the places where you attach the strip, you ensure that you always have the right opening, for the circular saw to move smoothly.
Congratulations, you now have made the most crucial part of the DIY circular saw guide.
For easy use of the jig, you can now make holes in the guide.
These holes serve to clearly see the marked line when you will use the jig later on.
To find where the center of the holes should go, make a small incision in the bottom plate with the circular saw.
Make sure the cut is not too deep, so you can easily position the tip of your drill.
Now mark the distance between the holes as shown on the DIY circular saw guide plans.
Then you can drill the holes in the bottom plate with a Forstner bit.
To avoid tear-out, place a small piece of scrap wood under the place where you will drill.
When all holes have been drilled, you can now make the slot for the saw blade.
Carefully lower the saw blade and cut from the first to the last hole.
The base of the circular saw guide is now ready!
Step 3 | Handle
To be able to place the circular saw guide at right angles to the workpiece, I have mounted a square at the bottom.
At the same time, this square serves as a handle on the circular saw guide for easy movement.
To make this square, mount a thin strip of wood perpendicular to the bottom of the jig.
Again, use wood glue and brad nails to assemble this strip.
Don’t just use any wood glue for your projects!
To find out which different types exist and for which applications wood glue serve, check out my blog Understanding Wood Glue + 8 awesome tricks you should know.
Here you will discover everything you need to know about wood glue.
To make a solid handle, attach a piece of plywood to the top of the strip.
To support the plywood and make the handle more sturdy, mount an extra strip at the bottom.
If you’re considering buying a nail gun, be sure to check out my previous article on finding the perfect nail gun.
In that article, I’ll go over all the different types of nail guns available, so you can find the right one for your workshop.
To make the handle, you can drill holes in the plywood.
First, draw the measurements as indicated on the DIY track saw plans.
Drill out the holes with a Forstner bit and trim with a jigsaw, file, or as I did with a small sandpaper drum on my drill.
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Step 4 | Finishing the circular saw guide
4.1 | Rounding the corners
To prevent corners from tearing, you can round the corners with a router and a 45-degree chamfer bit.
This makes the track saw not only stronger but also more beautiful.
4.2 | Sanding the DIY track saw
When you will use the circular saw guide, you want this to be as smooth as possible.
Therefore, it is best that you will make the place where the circular saw should slide smoothly.
You can do that by sanding.
To make my saw guide smooth, I used sandpaper with different grain sizes, from P120 to P800.
If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.
Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.
There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.
4.3 | Finishing
To protect my jig and saturate the surface, I used linseed oil.
To spread this oil I use the Stainpad wood stain applicator.
I can highly recommend this.
The Stainpad absorbs the oil well and releases it evenly without streaking.
Be sure to check out the Stainpad, you won’t regret it.
How to use a DIY track saw guide?
The circular saw guide is super easy to use.
First, you’ll need to mark the place where you want to cut.
Do this with a sharp pencil.
Now place the DIY track saw guide with the slot above the marked line.
You can now easily check whether the track saw is in the correct position, thanks to the holes in the bottom plate.
Place the circular saw on the jig, turn on your saw and slowly lower the saw blade through the slot.
Once the saw blade is through the piece of wood you want to cut, you can slide the circular saw to the other side of this DIY track saw.
The jig can be used because of its length in both the width and length of a sheet of plywood.
If you want to use it on the long side of a sheet of plywood, cut up to half the board, flip the track saw guide over, and cut the rest of the plywood.
Yet, this DIY track saw remains a compact jig, ideal for small workshops.
Always remember to clamp the jig in place, so it will not move while making the cut.
Check out my post — what woodworking clamp do I need? — to learn more about what clamps you should have in your workshop. There are numerous ideas in that post on how to choose the appropriate clamps for your workshop, and never waste money on clamps you never use. Don’t forget to read the article.
How to build your workshop on a budget?
Building a workshop may be challenging and requires a lot of trial and error.
I know this since I was there as well.
As a result of the ultimate small shop expertise that I’ve never seen anywhere else, I gained more insight into building a workshop.
That’s how I could spend my money more wisely and save big bucks.
I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
I hope this information on how to make a circular saw guide was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Feel free to share this blog on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.
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It will be much appreciated.
I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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