Ripping stock down to size is one of the most common woodworking processes because it allows you to produce straight, flat boards that are uniform in thickness and width. And if you need perfectly square pieces, ripping creates cleanly squared ends. This makes ripping a fundamental skill for any woodworker, so it’s important to learn how to do it correctly and safely.
Ripping a board means cutting it down the length. For example, you could rip a 2×8 into two pieces at 1-1/2″ x 7-1/4″. Boards are ripped lengthwise by moving them through or against a blade that is exactly perpendicular to the length of the workpiece. In other words, if you’re cutting a two-inch-thick board in half, the blade runs the length of the workpiece. Alternatives are to use a circular saw with a guide or a track to ensure the cut is straight.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Table Saw?
Not every woodworker has a table saw, radial arm saw, or sliding compound miter saw. These stationary machines are expensive and take up a lot of space. Many small workshops use a circular saw to do cross cuts and rips, but sometimes a circular saw can’t make a cut—the power tool just doesn’t have the power, capacity, or safety features required to make a cut safely and accurately.
With these issues in mind, more and more people are turning to handheld circular saws for ripping lumber. The best models provide the power and accuracy needed to make accurate rips on a wide range of materials with minimal setup time. These tools are especially useful for remodelers, builders, and carpenters who need to rip lumber on-site.
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What Do You Need To Rip Wood With A Circular Saw
The best models for ripping are compact with ergonomically designed grips that fit the hand securely. The saw should be well balanced and maneuverable enough to stay under control even at full depth of cut. Blade changes should be quick and easy. A clear view of the cut line is essential, and it’s a bonus if there’s an easy-to-use saw-kerf alignment guide on the baseplate. Lastly, you want a saw that can rip through lumber quickly at full depth.
Type Of Blade Needed On Your Circular Saw – Rip Blade
Ripping is typically done by feeding the stock into a ripping blade at its full depth of cut—most blades for most models leave a kerf of 1/8″ to ½”. The cutting depth and speed must be appropriate: if the blade is set too deep, it will burn and chip the edge of the cut. And if you feed stock too quickly, you may bind the stock against the blade and damage both tool and workpiece.
Circular Saw Guide
I come from a few years in the woodworking industry. In my experience, I have found that one of the most difficult cuts to make is a straight cut. If you are not stationary while making the cut then it is even more difficult. There have been times when I have been cutting plywood or other sheet goods and I did not have a tape measure or ruler close by. In this situation, I have been forced to use other means to get an accurate measurement and cut.
The circular saw guide is made out of clear plastic or metal and has an attachment that you can use to attach the guide to your board in order for it to slide perfectly along the surface. The great thing about a circular saw guide is that it will make a perfectly straight cut every time and the best part about it is that you do not have to worry about measuring your cuts.
Circular Saw Track
There are many cuts that you have to make in the woodworking industry. Most of these cuts are simple to perform with a circular saw or table saw. There are times when you do not have access to either one of these tools and you have to resort to using a miter saw or handsaw so that you can still accomplish your task.
Circular saw tracks are like a T-shaped track that you can screw to the top of your board in order for it to slide along the surface. The circular saw easily slides back and forth in the tracks, cutting all types of angles and shapes. Circular saw tracks are great because they make ripping boards much easier without having to rely on another tool.
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With circular saw tracks, you are able to make simple angled cuts on your boards with ease. A great example would be if you were trying to cut a crown molding and your board kept breaking when it was attached to the miter saw. With the use of a circular saw track, you can attach the track to your board and make the cut on your stairway handrail with ease.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You RIP Plywood Without A Table Saw
If you have a thin piece of plywood or plan to make rip cuts in thicker plywood, pick a fine-tooth saw blade. The more teeth a blade has, the smoother its cut will be and the better finish it will leave on your wood. If you are using a thinner plywood sheet, you will need to use a fine-tooth blade that has fewer teeth.
Finer blades also cut slowly, but they are better for thin woods because less of the blade is exposed and there is less risk of kickback. If you have a thick piece of plywood or you plan on crosscutting it, then you need a blade with more teeth. This will provide better support for the wood across its entire width and prevent jamming.
A 40-tooth general purpose saw blade is perfect. If you are cutting through real hardwood or using plywood in heavy construction, go with a 60-tooth blade instead. Avoid using circular saw blades with fewer than 40 teeth to cut plywood.
How Do You Cut A Straight Line Without A Table Saw
It’s a good idea to start with a circular saw. These can be used for a lot more than just cutting tile, and some of them have special attachments that make it easier to do some jobs without buying specialty tools. First, use the edge of your board as a guide for setting up your cut line.
Then turn on your saw and use the blade to score along the line. After that, simply apply pressure when you make your cut for a straight edge with no gaps or splinters in it. You can also attach a guide strip to the saw so you don’t have to keep measuring out each new section of tile before you cut it – just mark where each piece will go, set the strip along your line, and cut it. If you don’t have a circular saw, try using a jigsaw or handsaw to make test cuts before actually cutting up your board.
Best Saw For Ripping Wood
If you are cutting thick pieces of wood or plywood, then a circular saw with 40 teeth is the best option. If you do not have any power tools and want to cut through thin boards and sheets, use a handsaw instead.