How to Choose a Straight Edge for a Circular Saw | Ask This Old House

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Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates some techniques for cutting straight edges with a circular saw.
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Skill Level: Beginner

Tools List for Building a Straight Edge for a Circular Saw:
Circular saw
Track saw
Track saw guide system
Measuring tape

Shopping List:
Wood glue

1. Measure the offset of the circular saw guide to the blade. Mark whatever is being cut at the desired length, plus the offset.
2. Use a straight scrap piece of wood and place it on the measurement. Run the saw along the scrap piece of wood and the cut should be straight.
3. With a track saw, simply place the track along the desired length mark, offsetting for the thickness of the blade, and run the saw across the track.
4. Circular saws can also be converted to track saws using a guide system. It comes with a jig that can be attached to the bottom of any saw.
5. Make a track using two pieces of plywood. Cut one piece of plywood to be about 2” wide and glue it on top of the other piece.
6. Run the circular saw alongside the scrap piece on both sides. This will create an accurate guide accommodating the required offset for each side of the saw.

Tom demonstrated a track saw manufactured by Festool (

Tom also demonstrated the Accu-Cut Circular Saw Guide Track System, manufactured by Kreg Tools (

He then showed how to make a homemade circular saw track for any saw using scrap plywood.

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Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

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How to Choose a Straight Edge for a Circular Saw | Ask This Old House

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