circular saw zero clearance insert and guide system

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Project by Mike Gager posted 02-09-2011 03:15 AM 13643 views 30 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

i recently bought the woodriver guide rail system from woodcraft. i made a zero clearance plate for my circular saw and added a piece of oak on the side that i matched to the guide rail to act as a glide. it works really well

i made a little cutting guide with a saw kerf to easily line up where the rail needs to be set. i just measure off where i need the cut, line up the kerf of the guide to the mark and set the rail up against the guide. i do that on both ends of the work piece and tighten the clamps (which are below out of the way)

im using a 40 tooth blade in the saw and with the zero clearance plate the cut is really nice. i was really surprised how nice the saw glides along the guide. ive always struggled making nice straight cuts with the circular saw but with the guide system its really easy

im guessing the woodriver kit is similar to any clamp guide there is out there. the only reason i bought it was it was on sale and seemed like a pretty good product. so far im happy with it

14 comments so far

View steliart's profile


1816 posts in 1727 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 04:14 AM

Nice. that’s a big guide!
It would have been nice if we could see some cuts from both sides.

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions - --

View jcwalleye's profile


301 posts in 2112 days

#2 posted 02-09-2011 04:30 AM

We’ll done.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

View Russ's profile


356 posts in 2116 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 05:24 AM

Nice work. I might steal this design. :)

-- Russ

View Michael's profile


32 posts in 1924 days

#4 posted 02-09-2011 05:46 AM

Poor mans festool track saw. I have one too, now I want to make a zero clearance plate.

-- Michael

View bvdon's profile


466 posts in 2054 days

#5 posted 02-09-2011 06:25 AM

great idea! thanks for sharing.


View ratchet's profile


1335 posts in 2826 days

#6 posted 02-09-2011 04:16 PM

Nice. Looks like it makes smooth cuts. The guard looks locked in the retracted position. Does the blade stay exposed? The reason I ask is I remember seeing a tip for a zero clearance insert for circular saws that had a cutout for the guard on one side.

View SgtSnafu's profile


959 posts in 2311 days

#7 posted 02-09-2011 04:42 PM

Very nicely done

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

663 posts in 2306 days

#8 posted 02-09-2011 04:46 PM

yeah the guard is locked out. i might make a cut out in the plate for the guard but for now its no big deal. the blade retracts all the way into the base when you loosen the adjustment which i do after making a cut. makes it easier to sit the saw down that way

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 2089 days

#9 posted 02-09-2011 05:33 PM

Great idea, thanks for sharing it!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View rance's profile


4196 posts in 2199 days

#10 posted 02-09-2011 06:33 PM

Mike, nice idea. It got me to thinking. Why not make it more universal to more edge guides like:

Then you could use the cheaper guides such as

I would only have thought of this by seeing your idea. Its easier to modify than to come up with something on my own. :) Thanks Mike.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

663 posts in 2306 days

#11 posted 02-09-2011 07:31 PM

rance great idea!

the guide you mention is the same one im using. a couple weeks ago they had a 25% off sale on the idividual pieces. the rails were $16.50 so i got the 2 56” rails, the connector ($13) and the 2 clamps ($20) for around $66, or about $10 cheaper then buying the kit

i also bought the angle adapter jig ($27) but havent tried it out yet

the cool thing about these guides is together they equal 112” which is long enough to go corner to corner on a 4×8 sheet. im not sure there are any of the clamp on (bora, all in one style) guides that allow you to do that, at least not at this price range

View rance's profile


4196 posts in 2199 days

#12 posted 02-09-2011 09:13 PM

Mike, I foolishly assumed WoodRiver had a 96” clamp for not much more than the one I linked to. :( Sorry. Good job on saving a little cash. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View woody57's profile


647 posts in 2466 days

#13 posted 02-10-2011 01:04 AM

good idea

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 2157 days

#14 posted 02-12-2011 03:18 AM

Very nice, and ingenious, that’s the way to make basic tools perform like the well overpriced ones, you are on the right track for sure, it’s the end product that should look good, weather the tools look fancy or not, is not of great consequence, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

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