Cutting down large sheets of plywood without a track saw or straight edge clamp can be difficult to accomplish. On top of that no matter how great you are with using a circular saw it is damn near impossible to cut a perfectly straight line without using some kind of an aid to ride your saw against. In this tutorial, I will teach you how to create a zero clearance circular saw guide for your circular saw that is both fast to setup and accurate. You will no longer struggle with the use of this particular tool and after using it a few times you'll wonder how you managed to go so long without one. I contemplated building one for what seemed like forever and to this day I don't understand why I didn't do it sooner. I guarantee you will see the benefits of having this jig in your shop immediately after using it for the first time.
Since I already had some 1/2" birch plywood laying around from building my air compressor cart I decided to use that. In the past I have even used OSB (Oriented Strand Board) to make one of these jigs and it did the job just as well as any other material.
To begin I cut two strips of plywood using my table saw. These strips will become the body and the fence of the jig. I attached the two pieces together with brad nails and glue. This jig will be under little to zero external pressures when in use so glue and brads will be more than adequate. Two to three inches of material are left on the edge opposite of what will become the cutting edge in order to leave room for clamps when using this guide.
To prevent any unnecessary chip-out of the plywood veneer I am using blue painters tape to apply pressure to the wood fibers. The pressure exerted will prevent the fibers from lifting as a result of the blade cutting through the plywood. I apply tape to both the top and bottom of the guide.
Clamping the jig to my worktable I use the circular saw this jig is intended for to establish the cutting edge. It’s crucial that you go slow and do your best to prevent the saw from tilting in any way. If it tilts the cutting edge may be damaged and the effectiveness of the jig will be reduced. Because most circular saws differ in construction a new jig will have to be made for each saw you need this jig for.
I tested this jig by squaring the edge of the plywood sheet it was mad from. The results were flawless and I could not have been happier with its performance. This is a super simple jig to build and can be built in a few hours. I highly recommend you make one if you find yourself constantly breaking down sheet goods in your shop.
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