|Forum topic by Targa||posted 12-09-2013 01:28 AM||3621 views||0 times favorited||15 replies|
12-09-2013 01:28 AM
I need some advice on the best ways to make straight rip cuts on 8’ lengths of plywood.
I’m about to start my first woodworking project of making a couple of bookcases for my daughter using oak plywood. I have a regular size craftsman contractor saw that I prefer not to try and use because its just too unwieldy to manage full sheets of 3/4” thick plywood by myself.
Instead, I’m trying to identify all the practical alternatives in which I can use my circular power saw along a straight edge for accurate ripping on the 8 foot length and I’m having trouble determining the best approach.
I’ve checked the archives on this site and found an interesting idea of making jigs using the factory long edge of 1/2” plywood attached to another piece of wider 1/2” plywood that would then be clamped to the piece I’m trying to cut. I bought a piece of good quality plywood yesterday and gave it a try using my circular saw but I’m not sure the factory long edge is real straight. The only tool I have, but do not trust, to verify the straightness of the cut or factory plywood edge is a 20 year old 2 piece flat aluminum cutting edge joined in the middle called “The Cutter’s Edge II All Purpose Cutting Guide” from Sears. I guess I may need to buy a 8’ long good quality level to verify straightness assuming you can depend on a level to be straight.
Here are some things I’m considering that I’d appreciate feedback on.
1. Purchasing a 8’-9’ long piece of aluminum flat bar stock 1/4” – 3/8” thick and 5”-6” wide and clamp it to the work piece. I’m not sure how straight this piece of aluminum would be.
2. Buy one of the several manufactured 8’ long straight edges with clamps built into the ends. Though I’ve read sometimes the clamps will slip after using them at the same setting several times plus the centers tend to lift or deflect especially with the side pressure of running the side of the bottom plate of the circular saw against them during a cut. I’m of the opinion that any guide that is made up of two pieces joined together is much less accurate than a one piece guide.
3. I realize the ultimate tool for what I’m trying to do is a Track Saw but the $600+ price tag is more than I’d like to spend if I can avoid it. After all, this is just a retirement hobby.
Please give me any suggestions or recommendations based on your personal experience.