The circular saw for some workers, like carpenters, is often their most used tools, and they even wear them out, For woodworkers it might also be their most important tool especially if they are new to woodworking and still working on a collection of power tools. For me, it was the second power tool (after my corded drill) that I purchased, and even though I no longer have that circular saw, to this day I still use my circ saw quite often for breaking down sheets of plywood to manageable sizes before running through the table saw, and even for longer boards that just need to be shortened so they are easier to maneuver in my workshop.

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The first 8 foor ripping jig for the circular saw that I made is probably 20 years old and despite the fact I have gone through 2 circular saws since then, I still use that jig to this day .. that's how handy that jig is for breaking down sheets of plywood ...

Circular Saw Jig

Plywood Break-Down Cross Cut Jig - 8 feet.

To make this jig, the first thing to do is to go to your local hardware store and purchase full or even a half sheet, which is what I did (2 feet wide and 8 feet long). Mine was 1/4  inch thick but slighly thicker works equally fine. 
It's important to hand pick your plywood sheet to make sure the factory edge is in good shape, not cracked or the edge broken ... clean and straight.

Next you will want to mark off about 3 inches to cut off. I just marked mine with a pencil and cut by eye using my 40 tooth circular saw blade to help ensure I am getting the best cuts I can for this jig. 

Plywood Break-Down Cross Cut Jig

When this piece is cut, it then needs to be re-positioned back onto the main plywood base you just cut it from, with the factory edge facing out. Now measure the distance from the blade in your circ saw to the widest part of it's base plate and add 1/2 inch or so to that measurement. 

Now mark that measurement on the base board at each end and using screws (lots of them) attach the piece you just cut off with the factory edge out, to the base plate.

When this is done, you need to carefully and safely align the base plate at it's widest part to that side is against your new factory edge fence you just attached, and make a cut from one end of the board to the other. If you did a good job, that new cut line will be identical to the factory edge. 

The final cut you need to make is to cut the jig part off from the main base section of plywood that you made it from. 
DOUBLE CHECK to make sure you don't cut it too close to the back of the fence so that you will still have room to attach clamps so they don't interfere with the saw during use of the jig.  

Cross Cut Circ Saw Jig
This jig is a mini version of the Plywood break-down jig but this time only about 12 inches long, or what ever you prefer. The only real difference with this one is that it wants to have a wooden stopper board attached at the top, and it should overhang a bit in the even you want to clamp it to the board being cut, or just as another hand hold area. 

The wood I used was 3/4 inch thick, by 1.4 inches wide and it overhangs the edge of the jig by aobut 6 inches.

 Cross Cut Circ Saw Jig

Both these jigs are super handy for getting good quality ripping and cross cutting cuts with your circular saw ... easy to make, easy to use and they are both big time savers in that the quality of cuts you can get with these will often match what you can get on your table saw, so don't discount them as rough cut only ... you may find they do even better, espceally with a quality blade in your table saw ...

Copyright - Colin Knecht

 Circular Saw Jigs