How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw? Beginners Guide

Making rip cuts on narrow boards is one of the typical functions a circular saw can achieve, and it is a process that you can do all by yourself, even as a beginner.

The process is quite easy and direct in approach, but it is beneficial, depending on the scenario. You have a plank of wood, and you will be ripping out a cut on the board through the fibrous stem.

There are alternative ways to achieve this, but a circular saw can do the magic perfectly. All you will need is your concentration and an efficient saw with enough power.

how to rip narrow boards with circular saw by beginners

Regardless of experience, this task can become a big deal if you don’t work your way properly in appropriate steps and avoid unwanted mistakes. The task is a combination of knowledge, technique, and focus. Let us get into the details, stage by stage.

Steps for Ripping Narrow Boards with A Circular Saw

Here are the actionable steps that you can follow to cut a narrow board with circular saw efficiently

Having the Correct Platform

The platform is a base to work on, typically a slab or piece of straight and long wood. In some situations, you may need to use numerous slabs. This depends on the height you are dealing with.

In general, long slabs perform better. The board you want to rip should not be as thick as the slab you are using as the platform. When the saw cuts through the platform, the saw should be higher than the workpiece you want to rip. When the proper platform has been selected, you are ready for the next stage.

Get the Sole of the Circular Saw Clamped to the Platform

The saw sole must be well clamped to the slab platform, attached at two points. The grip of the clamp needs to be firm and tight.

If the clamp doesn’t hold firmly, pack some wood bits into the spaces and tuck them till you have a tight grip from the clamp.

Create A Referencing Cut to Align the Width of the Circular Saw

The front of your saw is that side that the saw goes in with. You have to locate that with respect to your push on the saw. You are about to make a reference using a sacrificial wood piece.

Place that wood piece as feed into the saw in order to get a reference. Once you have the reference cut, observe and record the thickness of the cut.

If you were able to get the required cut thickness, that is a wrap for reference. Otherwise, you need to re-adjust the saw front in correspondence to the wanted thickness of the cut.

Once you achieve the required thickness of the cut, it is time to progress.

Make the Blade Aligned in Parallel to the Platform Face

This step is essential in achieving the perfect cut. Ensure the platform face is satisfactory in placement and smoothness. The next thing would be to get the blade rightly positioned.

If this step is not done properly, you will experience the blade’s unwanted warping while cutting.

Such strains from the circular saw blade warping would also negatively impact the saw’s motor, and surely you don’t want that. Having such strains will shatter your workpiece and most likely destroy your blade.

It is time to make another sacrificial cut, but it is quite different from the first one we made. This time, the underside will be where to have the reference cut; from the front too. This should be done on a fresh wood piece or a previously used log that has space.

Though the unit’s backside, feed in the same wood piece you used and get the second reference. The blade guard must be moved away from the required path when getting this second cut as a reference.

The aim is for the two reference cuts to perfectly line up and meet up at the same location. The blade has to be re-adjusted if the two cuts don’t merge perfectly; it is important to get the references right. To adjust the saw blade, loosen the grip of the clamp and adjust the directions and positions.

When the two cuts converge as the same reference points, you can rest assured that the blade is parallel.

Set the Blade Height

The blade’s height must be set right when the workpiece has been set on the tabletop.

Get the saw blade down to the surface level of the table and adjust. You may have to put paper underneath the blade. The paper should be positioned in a way that it barely extends below the blade.

Make Saw Body Parallel to the Sole

The is another check for parallelism; the saw’s body should not be inclined at an angle in reference to the sole.

The blade must be perpendicular with reference to the table. Plugging a wedge between motor chasing and sole can definitely get things together.

Rip the Narrow Board

When all is set, and your alignment is in place, the final thing to do is make your rip cuts. With the blade being perpendicular and platform parallel, you won’t have any issues at all.

Pro Tips for the Beginners

  • Know your woodworking principles perfectly
  • Develop a good experience with handling circular saws
  • Safety measures and dust collection should always be considered
  • Practice under the supervision of experts
  • Use the model of tools that you are familiar with


Is it not enough to follow the steps for getting the job done? It is important that you stay conscious of your safety. Make sure you have your protective clothing. They include dust masks, safety spectacles, and ear protectors. Safety should come first.

Make sure you gently lock the trigger before getting the board fed to the blade during rip cuts. Three-quarter inch board can be conveniently worked with the processes if appropriately followed. 

Also, remember to practice with dedicated consistency. It’s the best way to figure out how more intricate cuts can be made. It is not always simple, especially when you need to rip out unique patterns.

The basic understanding and operational repetitions will earn you that mastery you need. Before making rip cuts, gather enough experience of operating circular saws.

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