Ripping thin strips with circular saw: Complete Guide of 2023

Last Updated On February 21, 2023

Cutting thin strips from a wood board is probably the hardest work to do after wood carving. Wood carving is not even considered a professional hardware job. Instead, it’s considered art. So, cutting thin wood strips is actually the hardest part of doing woodwork.

If you think of doing it manually without using automatic power tools, it’s highly likely that you would make a mistake. In times when there were no power tools, precision was not an important factor.

Very few people only knew how to cut a thin strip with a manual saw blade, and they made mistakes every now and then.

Now we have automatic tools to work with more precision and better results. So, the real question persists, can you rip thin strips with a saw?

There are many types of saws reference, including table saw, circular saw, mini saw, etc. in this article, we will discuss everything there is to know about ripping thin strips with a circular saw.

Ripping Narrow strips is not an easy task. There are a lot of things that you need to pay attention to while ripping thin strips and getting perfectly straight cuts while doing so.

Let’s move forward with the procedure. Pay attention to every detail on the way moving forward.

Can a circular saw be used as an alternative to a table saw for cutting thin strips

how to cut thin strips with circular saw

Suppose you have a table saw and you were using it. Suddenly, the saw blade got damaged somehow, and now you don’t have enough time to wait for it to get fixed or buy a new table saw. You have to rip narrow strips right away.

All you have is a circular saw. Can you use it as a table saw alternative for completing your pending task?

People use a table saw for doing this because the blade is fixed at one position and all you have to do is precisely push the wood towards the blade. But with a circular saw, the procedure is slightly different.

But, there is no doubt that you can use a circular blade as a table saw alternative to cut thin wood strips having them perfectly aligned.

How to use a circular saw as a table saw

With an easy few steps, you can perfect the art of how to use a circular saw as a table saw. Follow the steps below. First, you have to setup the circular saw just like a table saw to get the same result.

1. Choosing a Circular Saw

how to choose a circular saw

Every saw has a different depth of cutting. According to the size of the blade, different saws have different cutting depths. Thin blades might provide the same width, but boards don’t have the same thickness.

On the basis of how deep you want the cut to be or how thick the board is, you have to choose the size of your circular saw.

For instance, if the question persists, can you rip a 2×4 with a circular saw? The answer will be if the blade size is perfect, then why not. Also, check if the blade guard adds any disruption or not.

2. Choosing a Platform

circular saw cutting platform

At first, you have to choose a platform where you will get the work done. The platform board should be thick, long, and straight.

Remember, the platform has to be higher than the board you will rip. So, adjust accordingly. Also, the height of the platform should match your comfort.

3. Clamping The Circular Saw

clamping the circular saw

Using mechanical ‘g’ clamps, clamp the saw base on the platform. At first, don’t clamp it too tightly because a lot of other adjustments have to be made.

To hold the soles of the saw properly, place two pieces of wood on each side.

4. Adjusting the Vertical

vertical adjustment of circular saw

As you are planning on cutting things into strips, the thinning has to be perfect. The strip has to have a perfectly straight edge.

So, take a small piece of plywood and run the saw on it for a reference cut. Keep adjusting until you see that the cut it is making is perfectly straight.

If the saw is even at a slight angle, it will disrupt the entire cutting scenario. Nobody wants an imperfect inside edge or outside edge.

You can use a rip fence to adjust the saw with the wood board keeping them parallel or plywood for narrow and clean cuts

5. Bevel Adjustment

bevel adjustment of circular saw

Due to the bevel adjustment, sometimes the cutting line seems to go sideways. The bevel adjustment of the saw should be on the right angle.

That means the blade should be exactly perpendicular to the platform.

6. Saw Blade Height Adjustment

circular saw blade height adjustment

The height of the saw is important because adjusting it will depend on how thick a board you can strip. So, adjust the blade height according to the thickness of the board that you want to rip.

With that, your circular saw is now ready to push a wood board through the platform and rip a narrow piece from the wood board you have with accurate cuts. Now we can proceed with the ripping.

Preparing Before Starting the Ripping Procedure

After adjusting the circular saw as an alternative to your table saw, you can’t just start ripping.

There are a few safety measures that you have to take before you can start doing your work of ripping properly. After maintaining these safety measures, you can move forward with the ripping procedure.

1. Know Your Tool

For completing your work, you only need one tool, the saw. But, a saw can be a dangerous piece of machinery if you don’t know how to operate it properly. A small mistake can make you pay a very high price.

So, if you are new at this, I mean, you may be a pro in using a circular saw, but this whole scenario might be new to you.

In this regard, try and understand the process of how it will work as much as you can. If you need to read the instruction manual, do it. But don’t get into the field without knowing what you have to do.

2. Wearing Safety Glasses

Eyes are the most delicate exterior body part that we have. Even the smallest thing can cause real harm to our eyes.

So, it’s evident that you have to keep your eyes protected at all times. There is nothing better than wearing safety goggles in this regard.

So, while ripping strips, make sure you are wearing safety goggles.

3. Wearing Ear Protectors

Our ears are as sensitive as our eyes. Keeping them protected while working with a saw should be a top priority as well. A small-sized wood can get inside your ear and cause it to get injured from the inside.

This, if severe, can result in deafness. So, while ripping, don’t forget to wear ear protectors.

See the video below for better understanding.

How to Rip Thin Strips with Circular Saw?

Everything else has been taken care of. All that is left to do is let it rip.

Step 1

Measure and mark the wooden board. Without precise marking, the ripping will not be precise. So, make sure you mark your board perfectly for ripping.

Step 2

Adjust the wooden board on the platform with a rip fence. The fence will ensure that the wood remains parallel at all times, and the strips come out very nicely.

Step 3

Now, it’s time to push. Turn the saw on and push the board through the saw, keeping it parallel with the help of the fence and according to the drawn line.

At some point, the board will come to an end. Don’t push it with your hands, or you’ll lose your fingers to the blade. What you need is a push stick. When the board comes to a few inches, push it using the push stick.

After the first go, turn the saw off, take the board out of the fence, and check whether the strip is perfect or not. If you have followed every single piece of step and advice precisely, it’s time to take pride because now, you know how to rip narrow strips with a circular saw.

Final Words

Ripping a thin wood strip with a circular saw would seem a very easy process if you follow everything closely. But it’s easier said than done. You will understand how hard the process is after you start doing it practically.

I hope this guide will help you to know everything about ripping wood strips with circular saws and help you with the process. Always follow safety precautions. Do not endanger yourself or your loved ones.

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