How to Rip Narrow Boards With a Circular Saw? — Follow These Simple and Easy Steps

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Ripping thin strips from narrow boards can be daunting. Regular guides don’t always efficiently work, as G-clamps impede the saw’s sole or motor. Besides the clamps, narrow boards make it a challenge to clamp the edge guide to the board. To help you with this particularly challenging task, here is our experts’ advice on how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw.

How to Rip Narrow Boards With a Circular Saw


Ripping narrow boards is easier with a circular saw or a worm drive circular saw instead of a table saw. However, there are a few things to consider to do the job right and efficiently. Here is the step by step guide to consider:

green circular saw on wooden surface

Wear Protective Gear and Equipment

When working with a circular saw such as the Rotorazer and the Versacut, safety is of the utmost importance.  There are gears that you could put on for safety and protection when using a saw: 

Eye protector

It prevents dust and debris from the cuts on your work table from getting into your eyes.


A mask will help prevent dust from getting into your body passing through your nostrils.

Hearing protector

As more manufacturers prioritize reducing noise levels in their power tools, it’s worth considering the need for a hearing protector, especially if you work in a large shop with multiple machines.

Measure Size of Your Board and Supporting Platform

In measuring your board and supporting platform, you need pencils, squares, and the best measuring tape. First, use the measuring tape to get the board or the narrow piece of wood dimensions particularly the width.

operating circular saw with Metabo HPT 115435M blade

It will give you an idea of how long the wood can be cut. Then, mark out every inch you want to cut using a pencil. This will get an accurate dimension for the cutting work.

For easy and precise measurements, you can also use the best circular saw guide listed here

Steps to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

Place and Clamp the Narrow Board Above a Platform

To do this step, place the narrow board or piece of wood above the long and straight platform you measured earlier. Then, clamp it properly on the sole to make sure the blade can easily pass through the piece. This ensures that the board, despite being narrow, is well-secured against a surface while cutting. You do not have to worry about it falling off the table, no matter the height.

Adjust and Measure Width and Length

You should carefully find the front in this particular step. This will be the part where you push into the circular saw when cutting. Once located, feed a part of the sacrificial wood to cut into the saw. This helps acquire a good-enough reference cut for the wood. 

adjusting circular saw blade depth

Then, get an accurate measurement of the thickness you obtained while doing the job. Afterwhich, adjust the front of the circular saw until you get the right thickness.

Adjust to a Paralleled Angle

This will require you to carefully hold and rotate the circular saw’s body until the blade and the face of the platform are parallel to each other. Make sure that you do this part right. Otherwise, you might warp your blade, strain your circular saw motor, ruin the wood, throw out your shaft from alignment, or worse, shatter the blade no matter the height.

When you follow these steps, ensure that you gently slide the sacrificial piece from the front into the blade. Then, turn the wood over so that the reference point and cut are on the same side. Afterward, set the wood into the blade from behind the saw. This will give you a second reference cut or mark.

Your reference cuts from the start should be on the underside. So, check to see that the reference cut from start to finish meeting at the same point. If they are not in line, you have to loosen your durable woodworking clamp and adjust as required. The blade is parallel when the two reference cuts perfectly line up once clamped.

Rip the Board

After the above-mentioned step, be sure to put on your safety equipment. Then, press and lock the trigger and begin to feed the board through the blade slowly. While doing this, our experts advise that you must not push your fingers past the circular saw’s sole. In just a few minutes, you should be done with this woodworking project.

Ridgid corded circular saw

Tips and Reminders

To make this task easier, here are the tips and reminders from our experts on how to rip narrow boards right: 


Cutting a narrow board with a circular saw poses a challenge even to the most seasoned professionals. If you are not careful, you could completely mess it up and ruin good wood in the end. Our experts have broken down the process into a simple guide so you can easily follow, check and get the job done right. 

If you are looking for the best saw to rip a narrow wood, you can check our review of the best cordless circular saw here. Read next! 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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