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How to Use a Circular Saw Guide Rail

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Circular saws are very often used for making straight cuts. However, it’s not enough to have a strong arm to keep the blade going under the perfect 90° or 45° angles. Well, you can draw a line to follow, but can you guarantee that your hand won’t shake at all? Probably no! That’s where a circular saw guide rail solves all the problems by providing you with full control over the process. Check out this guide by an expert from to learn how to use a guide rail right. 

Choose the Right Model

The easiest way to avoid problems with the guide rail compatibility is to order the recommended item by the same brand as your circular saw. If you don’t want to do it for any reason, you should ensure 100% compatibility on both websites of third-party manufacturers and in reviews of industry experts and average users on Amazon and similar marketplaces.

The main reason to be very attentive is to order the model that allows bevel cuts at 45° or more (if your saw allows more). The wrong third-party guide rail can be damaged when you do the bevel cut as ultra-precision is important for this type of cut. Finally, you should make sure that the rail guide supports the configuration of your blade. There are left and right-side blade saws, while some rails are compatible only with one of the types. 

Select the Right Blade

Blade selection is also very important in terms of precision and safety. You have to consider the thickness of the blade to adjust the right gap between the edge of the guide rail and the blade. Otherwise, a damaged accessory is guaranteed. Don’t forget about the material you are going to cut as well. 

How to Set It Up

The guide rail setting up process can differ, depending on the model you have, but this difference is always intuitive. 

1.First, take a ruler and mark the cutting line on the workpiece. To make sure that the cutting line will be just over the line of the ruler, you have to consider the blade’s offset. Unplug your tool, open the blade guard and measure the distance between the saw shoe edge and the blade tooth. Now you know the offset and can mark it on the workpiece to achieve millimeter accuracy of the cut. 

2.Now, put the sled on the track. If your guide rail model has anti-slide strips on the bottom, it won’t slide when you make a cut. But not all items have it, so you may need to secure it with clamps instead. The material can also be too slippery for the strips, so just use clamps if you notice that. 

3.When the construction is set, and the saw is secured on the rail with screws, you can adjust the bevel. If you wish to make a straight cut, check whether the bevel screw is well-tightened anyway. 

4.Your saw is ready to cut now. Hold the saw handle tightly and move the saw gently without pushing it to the sides. When the tool is secured to the rail, it only requires a forward movement and no extra tension. 

Changing the Anti-Splinter Protection

All guide rails come with splinter guards, but sometimes they are too thin and don’t provide the needed effect. Fortunately, thicker splinter guards are easy to find and replace. To do it, you have to tear off the old strip gently and clean the surface with alcohol to remove the glue. Stick the new guard and enjoy. 

Simple & Precise

As you see, using a rail guide doesn’t require too much effort, but the benefits are huge. This accessory is the only way to make surgical-quality cuts, which is highly important in cabinetry and any projects in which you need to put parts together and have perfect seams. Now you know how to use a guide rail like a pro, so it’s time to take your benefit.

4 thoughts on “How to Use a Circular Saw Guide Rail

  1. I like the bandsaw….good for cutting up kindling and stuff.

    I used the lathe in high school but I wasn’t very good at it.

  2. I like big saws and I cannot lie

  3. Just looking at the picture scares me half to death, so I think I won’t be buying one.

  4. I like that you mentioned how using a rail guide doesn’t require too much effort, but the benefits are huge. My father and I love doing woodcraft and we are now trying to improve the functionality of some of our tools, especially the circular saw. With that in mind, we should probably get a precision circular saw guide.

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