Circular saw rail guide system - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-01-2013, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Circular saw rail guide system

I came across this system when I was looking in Sketchup for a model of a circular saw. It looks like it will solve my problem of needing something to be able to cut panels, and also for ripping very wide and long lumber, like 2x12s for example.

It is based on 1/4" thick stock and uses an iron bar, all of which is very accessable at any big box store. It also looks like it will be very easy to make.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-01-2013, 04:13 PM
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Looks like it should work quite well, Chris. I'm partial to "T" track, though.

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post #3 of 16 Old 03-01-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Howe View Post
Looks like it should work quite well, Chris. I'm partial to "T" track, though.
Gene, I have some T track ... how would you use T track for something like this?
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 07:42 AM
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I like that drawing. I have the 48 inch pro grip clamping system that I use for my circular saw when cutting large sheets of plywood.

I also have a pro grip base, which I have never used, but is designed to do what your drawing does. I suggest you check out the system to see if it can be adapted to what you are doing.

Their are far cheaper brands than Pro grip now and they may be suitable to use as a clamped straight edge.

The T track looks a goer too but price might be its downfall, if you have to pay what we have to here for a piece with any length in it.

I will be following this thread with interest.

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post #5 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 08:14 AM
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Chris,
Make the dado deep enough for the T Track and replace the auxiliary base (in your drawing) on the saw with a T Track insert.
Here's a couple pics.
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Originally Posted by Chris Curl View Post
Gene, I have some T track ... how would you use T track for something like this?

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post #6 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 08:35 AM
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Simple circ-saw edge guides rely on the operator to maintain alignment against the guide. The system Chris posted is one of many ways to lock down alignment and make using the guide both simple and highly accurate.

I have guides in 8', 4', 2 1/2' and 1 1/2' lengths, as well as a jig/sled with a locked-down piece of guide for cutting small stuff, which made the 1 1/2' guide redundant. Since the guides and jig are my replacement for a table saw, being able to lock down that alignment is important for consistent accuracy.

In the thread that triggered this one, I wondered about the practicality of using T track for guides. It looks like you've answered that question pretty well, Gene, and other than the cost of T track it looks to be the "perfect" solution.

I just wonder if one were to hit a hidden nail or have some other similar catastrophe whether it would be better to have the saw locked down vertically like that in T track, or if an open track like the one Chris shows would allow the saw to "jump the track" a bit, perhaps minimizing damage to the saw. OTOH, that means a spinning blade somewhere other than exactly where it's supposed to be.

And in reality, the likelihood of such an incident is so slim that either solution is probably as good as the other. I think my perfectionism is working overtime.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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thanks gene. mine is a 1/4-20 track, and it doesn't have anything like a track insert, so i'd have to machine something myself to make an insert. i think that would present enough of a problem to cause the diminishing return effect to kick in.

i think i'll stick with this solution. it is easier to implement.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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then again, i've already dissected a HF clamp for the bar ... maybe i should just attach that to the bottom of the saw base and route a groove and be done with it.

ugh. too many decisions
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 10:10 AM
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Chris, I used 1/2" ply for my track and guide rails, so I'm wondering if 1/4" is going to be stiff enough, so I'll be watching with interest. I think I'll build my sled out of 1/4" as the plan shows, then retrofit my 1/2" tracks with the aluminum guides and see how that works. I'm going to look for some aluminum stock for the guides next time I go to the Borg Box stores.

If you build a crosscut jig, I think you'll want 1/2" for the track, or you'll get bad sag in the middle of the rail.
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Don. I was thinking the same thing. I think I'll change the main base piece with the rail to 1/2" ply and make the sled 1/4" hardboard. That should let it slide easily.

I think I will also rip a piece of oak or maple at 3/8" and glue or screw that to the ply for the rail. Then the rail will be 3/4" wide and 3/8" tall.

I'll update the Sketchup.
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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new sketchup ...
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 03:56 PM
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Ha! While you were planning, I was at the store looking at aluminum rails, and saw nothing that I thought would be suitable. I think the hardwood rail is the solution.

I also picked up a few bolts and t-nuts; I'm going to make a couple of clamps I can drop through dogs in the bed of the crosscut jig to hold real small stuff in place for cutting, up close to the kerf. That will let me rip strips as narrow as I want up to 21" long off of already-narrow stock; I'll be able to rip or crosscut anything down to 1/4" by 1/2" if I need to, in perfect safety, and I've never needed anything that small.

I've already got some 6" C-clamps and an 18" vise-grip type C-clamp that I use to anchor medium and big stuff.

I cut a few medium-size pieces this morning and the crosscut jig worked like a champ, btw.
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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heh ... i have been at work since yesterday at 3pm. there is this hospital system in texas that has 9 facilities (each with its own computer system and millions of patients/visits and documents). my company is all combining all those systems into one enterprise wide system.

last night, we merged the 3rd hospital into their enterprise system. i spent most of the time waiting for my turn in the process, so i was stuck at my computer with nothing to do most of the time.

that is why i was online so much last night, and got nothing done at home in my garage.

i can finally go home, 28 hours after arriving here yesterday. i'll probably go to bed early. no machines for me tonight.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-02-2013, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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I think I wll actually get some time to actually work on this tomorrow!

Here is the final plan: it uses a piece of maple for the rail and hardboard for the sled. The base is 1/2" ply with a 3/4" wide dado 1/8" deep to hold the rail.
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post #15 of 16 Old 02-01-2017, 11:09 AM
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Adaptable for multi-use

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Howe View Post
Chris,
Make the dado deep enough for the T Track and replace the auxiliary base (in your drawing) on the saw with a T Track insert.
Here's a couple pics.
Attachment 64426

Attachment 64427
Very adaptable to more than one saw (as opposed to some of the commercially sold rip guides) by merely fastening the t-track with wing nuts and then attaching it to each different saw based on distance from the work piece to the t-track. Great idea and, as previously mentioned, one heck of a lot less expensive than buying a commercially designed and essentially "one-saw" models without spending still more money for new saw base plates.
This same t-track idea/concept can be adapted for router use with a little imagination and elementary tools.
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post #16 of 16 Old 02-02-2017, 08:03 AM
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Those are some nice ideas that should work fine. I like to have my cs handy to freehand, cut off, a piece of wood from the rack, without removing a guide from the base.
I have no problem holding the saw against the guide, and the guide I made below works fine. The bottom is shown, with the clamps to hold it in place.
If I cut up sheets on a regular basis, I might dedicate a cs to it and make one of the guides mentioned.
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