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Tips for a Better Rip Cut

Making consistent, accurate and safe rip cuts is easy—if you know what you’re doing. Whether you’re using a table saw or a circular saw, use these ten tips for ripping and you won’t be able to tell the factory edge from the edge you just cut.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Use an 8d nail as a third hand

Build a custom push block

Check the fence alignment

Make narrow rips safely

Using a push base and push sled to make narrow rip cuts.

Using a push base and push sled to make narrow rip cuts.

Figure A: Push Sled

For best results, build this push base and push sled out of 3/4-in. cabinet-grade plywood.

Straighten a crooked edge

Mount a featherboard for accurate rip cuts

Make table saw-quality rip cuts with a circular saw

Support long boards

To rip large sheets, you need well-trained help

Use a half fence for unruly boards

Additional Information

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Hammer
    • Clamps
    • Circular saw
    • Featherboard
    • Out feed support
    • Push stick
    • Drill/driver, cordless
    • Extension cord
    • Hearing protection
    • Straightedge
    • Safety glasses
    • Table saw

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • 8d nail
    • Drywall screws
    • I/2-plywood
    • 3/4-plywood (cabinet grade)
    • 2 x 4

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