How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw (Update Guidelines)

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

Need to rip a long piece of wood with a narrower width, say a 1/8-inch off of a 3/4 -inch board? Don’t have a table saw?

Wondering how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw?

If you’ve got a long but narrow piece of wood, but you don’t have a table saw to rip through, don’t worry!

Believe me, you can do a very good job with a circular saw. You just need to follow the suggestions below.

Is it really difficult to Rip Narrow Boards with A Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a primary portable cutting tool for every woodworker.  The powerful motor and fast, spinning blade make this tool the undisputed king for precise, straight cuts in all kinds of building materials.

For handling different woodworking jobs such as making straight cuts through boards or sheet goods of any length, circular saw stands alone. In fact, For DIYer or homeowner who doesn’t have a table saw, a circular saw is the primary substitute.

But what is the downside?

If you ask average woodworker about ripping narrow boards, they’ll be confused to get the job done properly with a circular saw.  The problem is that the ordinary guides don’t work as the G clamps get in the way of the sole or the motor of the saw. What’s more, most of the time the guide can’t be clamped to the workpiece and makes the cutting process a most difficult one.

But there is a simple way to get the job done easily. You can do this by holding the table saw static and slide the board through the circular saw blade.

Wondering “how”?

Before going through the step-by-step instruction, let’s have a quick look at the process.

You need to clamp the circular saw on a platform onto the table and let the circular saw blade rotate underneath the sole. Pass through the board that you intend to cut underneath the circular saw sole.

Need to rip a long piece of wood with a narrower

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw-Step-By-Step

The process is very simple. First, you need to take some steps for setting up.

Step 1: Choose the right platform

Take a long and straight piece of wood /slab to use as a platform. You may need multiple slabs based on the height. Longer slab will work better. Moreover, the slab should be thicker than the board you intend to rip. As the circular saw will go on this slab, it needs to be higher than the workpiece.

Step 2: Clamp the circular saw sole to the slab/ platform

Clamp the circular saw sole to the platform at two points. If it doesn’t hold it tightly, use some bits of wood on the saw sole to ensure that the clamp holds the sole properly.

Step 3: Make a reference cut to adjust the circular saw to the width

Locate the front of the circular saw. In general, the front is the side you push the saw in.

Carefully and slowly feed a sacrificial piece of wood into the circular saw blade to make a reference cut. Measure the thickness of the cut your obtained. If you didn’t achieve the desired thickness, move the front of the saw correspondingly.

Step 4: Carefully adjust the blade parallel to the face of the platform

The circular saw blade needs to be perfectly parallel to the face of the platform.  If you can’t adjust it correctly, the blade will warp during the cutting process. Furthermore, the strain will affect the circular saw motor. It’ll destroy your workpiece and may cause the saw blade to shatter.

Take another sacrificial piece of wood. Push it slowly into the blade from the front of the saw. Turn the sacrificial piece of wood over. At this point, the reference cut from the front will be on the underside.

Feed the same piece of wood into the blade from the “back” of the unit. You’ll need to move the blade guard out of the way to achieve a second reference cut.

These two reference cut should meet at the same point and line up perfectly.

If these 2 cuts didn’t meet the same point, you need to adjust the blade again. To do this, loosen the clamp at the back of the unit and adjust correspondingly.

If the two reference cuts meet at the same point, the blade is parallel.

Step 5: Adjust the height of the blade

As the workpiece or board being cut is on the top of the table, you need to adjust the height of the blade. Drop the blade of the saw, all the way down to the table surface. To adjust the height of the blade, you may slide a paper under the blade. Make sure that the paper just passes under the blade.

Step 6: Readjust of parallel

If you find the body of the saw is at a slight angle to the sole, adjust of parallel again. Make sure the blade is perpendicular to the table. You can shove a wedge between the sole and the motor casing.

Step 7: Start ripping your narrow board


Don’t forget to wear ear protectors, a dust mask and safety glasses.

First, press the trigger and then lock it. Start feeding the board slowly through the blade.

Using this method, you can rip ¾- inch boards with ease.


Summing Up

Hope this step-by-step guideline will be useful to cut a long and narrow piece of wood accurately with a circular saw.

Don’t forget to check the circular saw blade before using it. Avoid using blunt, damaged, or chipped blades.

Avoid gloves and long, loose clothing and gloves while working with a circular saw.

Thanks for reading our article on how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw.

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

Follow me: Facebook, Twitter

1 thought on “How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw (Update Guidelines)”

  1. Thank you for your help! I think I can follow what you wrote, but I was thinking this would be a lot clearer with a short video to demonstrate your instructions.


Leave a Comment