I need to cut some plywood down to size and it will require that I take it down from a 4'-wide sheet to 30" wide. This means I will need to find a saw guide that will support a steady, 8' rip from end to end. I am not finding any 8'-long guides and am wondering if I am going to have to make one out of scrap plywood. The thing is, I can't be 100% sure that it would be completely straight. It would be much better to find a guide that is built for longer rips.

  • 1
    What's wrong with this 98" guide? – Tester101 Dec 28 '12 at 13:57
  • Wow... how did I miss that? I am going to check it out. Thanks! – oscilatingcretin Dec 28 '12 at 20:56

The factory edge on a fresh sheet of plywood is very straight. So use that.

Option 0: Snap a chalk line and cut by hand. Fine if you're doing sheathing, but not accurate enough for many other tasks.

Option 1: Use 2 sheets of plywood. Stack one on the other, offset by ~32". Use the top one as a guide to cut the bottom one.

Option 2: Make an 8' ripping guide.

You'll need the factory edge of a sheet of plywood, the full 8' long. Approximately 6" wide. Thicker is good. This will be the guide.

Also, a piece of doorskin (single-ply, 1/8" plywood) or 1/4" plywood, 8' long, approx 8" wide.

Glue & screw them together. Make sure to countersink the screws slightly.

Run your circular saw along the factory edge of the thicker piece, to cut the thin lower piece to match your saw.

Now you can put the fresh-cut edge on your material and know exactly where it will cut.

This jig is specific to the saw you used to make it.

There are many videos covering this on YouTube.

For bonus points, make it double sided (one narrow, one wide), so you can cut on either side of your circular saw.

Option 3: A guide that attaches to the saw, like the Kreg Rip-Cut

Option 4: Festool Track Saw These circular saws fit on special tracks to make straight cuts. Not only do they cut through heavy, thick wood with ease, but they cut through wallets even faster!

  • 1
    You can also buy 8' ripping guides; I have one made out of aluminum... – Eric Gunnerson Dec 28 '12 at 1:48
  • I have some leftover 8' planks of plywood from a failed shelving project. I am going give one of those a try this week and will report back with my results. – oscilatingcretin Dec 31 '12 at 5:36
  • Just reporting back that the factory edge of a sheet of plywood worked great. – oscilatingcretin Jan 15 '13 at 0:47

I've cut a lot of plywood using a level clamped to the board. Perhaps you could use this as an excuse to get one of those sweet 8 foot levels.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.