January 4, 2023
One necessary skill you need to develop when using a circular saw is the ability to make straight cuts on long sheets of wood and board. Of course, achieving perfectly straight cuts for narrow materials is easy. But when cutting wide boards, you may find it challenging to maintain the straightness of your cuts, especially if you are only eyeballing the cut lines without using a straight edge guide.
You will more likely drift off course when you don’t use a straight edge guide. Plus, the saw blade may bind, causing you to further drift from the cut line. Hence, it is better to use a straight edge guide to keep your cut straight. With the use of a straight edge guide, you can make perfectly straight cuts with ease. Moreover, as a cutting guide, the straight edge guide allows you to rip and crosscut quickly and straightly.
The Best Circular Saw’s Straight Edge Guides & Clamps
You may get confused about which straight-edge guide you should purchase, given the myriads of options at hand. So, we have delineated here the following most recommended straight edge guides for the circular saw to enable you to narrow your choices down to the best options at hand:
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1) Kreg KMA3700
The Kreg KMA3700 lets you cut straight using your circular saw, and you can convert it into a track saw your circular saw using the Kreg KMA3700. The circular saw rides freely on the KMA3700 while it cuts. It functions as a guide rail for the circular saw. Hence, with the Kreg KMA3700, you can make long accurate straight cuts with ease.
The Kreg KMA3700 ACCU-Cut differs from the Rip-Cut because it cuts wide boards of any width. The Rip-Cut, on the other hand, can only cut up to 24 inches. The KMA3700 can also help you make angle cuts.
The Accu-Cut comes in two versions. One can cut up to 50-inches long, and the other can cut a maximum length of 100 inches. The Accu-Cut can accommodate another 50-inch expansion guide to allow it to cut a maximum of 100-inch length.
You can attach the Accu-Cut to your circular saw in the same way that you would attach the Rip-Cut. The Accu-Cut’s bottom comes with guide strips that prevent slipping. This feature keeps the guide in place, which means you don’t need to use a clamp to keep it affixed. The saw glides along the rack to make accurate straight cuts.
- It’s easy to set up.
- It allows for perfectly straight cuts.
- It doesn’t need any clamping because of its anti-slip feature.
- The anti-slip pads need constant cleaning to make them effective.
2) ProGrip Straight Edge Clamps
If you want to cut larger panels, you can check out the ProGrip Straight Edge Guide. It features an excellent clamping assembly that has sturdy aluminum rails. You can make perfect cuts with ease using this guide. You can also cut sheet materials with ease using the ProGrip Clamps.
Of course, the table saw is perfect for cutting sheet goods. Yet, you can also do excellent cuts using the circular saw with Pro-Grip Clamps. You got several size options with the ProGrip Clamps (24″, 35″,50″). It can also deal with narrower boards and make crosscuts on plywood sheets. Its aluminum rails are thick (2.1875″), making the rails unbending under pressure.
The GripPro Clamps is also easy to set up. You only need to position the fixed end on the board. Afterward, you tighten its adjustable end by only pulling down its locking lever. Then, you can begin cutting.
Compared with other clamps that you can only lock in a specific position, the ProGrip offers three positions. These three positions allow for better selections for its users. This guide also comes with metric and standard markings for easy measurement.
- It offers a sturdy and well-made clamp set.
- It’s easy to use and set up.
- It’s solidly constructed.
- It should have a hole for easy hanging.
3) Bora 544500 (5-Piece NGX Set)
The Bora 544500 comes with a clamp edge (50″ long) with a 50″ extension. So, you can cut long sheets up to 100″. It also comes with a saw plate and non-chip strips (2 rolls). With this cutting capacity, you can make a rip cut on a 4×8 plywood piece. Its saw plate readily fits into the T-channels, and you can attach it to the circular saw. This allows for precision cuts.
Its strip tape lets you minimize tear-outs when cutting. It also comes with two swivel heads, allowing for miter cuts. Its clamp also comes with a large handle that allows for easy attachment to the wood piece. It also features rubberized ends for a firm grip while preventing damage to the workpiece.
- It prevents binding for low-torqued circular saws.
- The setting up of this straight edge clamp may take a while.
4) Kreg’s Circular Saw Track
If you want precise cuts when using your circular saw, you will need a Circular Saw Track. This straight edge guide from Kreg quickly locks into your circular saw, preventing the saw from veering off the cut line. This results in a straight cut that you would surely admire. Moreover, it makes the use of the circular saw safer.
This straight edge guide is 50 inches long, allowing you to cut longer boards. It features a two-piece construction that allows you to use it for shorter cuts. With this guide, you can start perfectly, allowing you to set up your cut even before your blade hits the material. It uses guide strips (anti-slip) to keep the guide in place when you are cutting.
- It’s perfect for breaking down plywood into its final size.
- It offers high accuracy.
- It can help you break down sheet stock into smaller manageable pieces, but you cannot cut with utmost accuracy with this straight edge guide.
5) DCT Aluminum Pro Grip Clamp
If you’re searching for an affordable straight edge guide, you can check out the DCT Aluminum. It features an aluminum body. Moreover, it is reinforced by an integral tube that runs its length. This provides it with rigidness while staying lightweight. It also features tall plastic jaws for holding the workpiece in place. Moreover, these jaws come predrilled. When you clamp it, you will have a solid guide that holds tightly.
The DCT Aluminum Pro comes with a scale that features both English and Metric measurements. Moreover, it is adjustable to cover the full range of 24 inches. Its T-track also allows for standard accessories. With the DCT Aluminum Pro, you will have enough flexibility when using specialty fixtures. This straight edge guide is low profile. Moreover, it is easy to use with a circular table saw and other saws.
- It’s less expensive than other options.
- It’s sturdy and holds tightly.
- Its grip and clamping power are questionable.
- It’s not that long.
Buyer’s Guides: Factors to Consider When Selecting a Straight Edge Guide
Knowing the most recommended straight edge guides will narrow down your options to the most recommended options by the experts. Yet, if you know the following important factors to consider when buying a straight edge guide, you will indeed zero in on the perfect straight edge guide for your needs:
If you would use a straight edge guide, you will notice that its quality usually relies on its grip on the material, sturdiness of construction, and length. But the grip is of utmost importance, and the grip usually depends on its clamp. So, make sure that when shopping for a straight edge guide, go for something with a powerful clamping feature.
Another factor you must consider is the length of the straight edge guide. Since you want to cut long sheets and boards with your circular saw, it defeats its purpose if the straight edge can only help you cut short stocks. So, when selecting a straight edge guide, go for something that could help you cut wide boards.
The range of length of most edge clamps is from 36 inches to 50 inches. The longer its length, however, the more difficult it is to clamp to smaller lumber pieces. Some of the abovementioned examples of straight edge guides allow for up to 50-inches maximum cutting length or more because of their extensions. However, clamps with extensions necessitate a broader frame of three inches. Besides, broad width prevents bending.
Straight edge clamps are usually of aluminum. You will find straight edge clamps made of extruded aluminum, rigid enough for holding the straight edge. It can also withstand constant use. The width of this aluminum is up to three inches to resist bowing.
However, the clamping material is mostly of rugged plastic or metal to hold the workpiece firmly in place. The face of the clamping material should contain a rubberized cover for additional grip without causing indentations to the material you are cutting.
The clamping mechanism keeps the clamp on the material to make sure that you can cut accurately using the circular saw. It makes use of a non-moving end that presses on the side of the material. It also has a moving end that smoothly slides on the opposite end. The end comes with a lever that holds the piece tightly, locking it up firmly.
The clamping mechanism should work well; otherwise, the clamp will shift position, making it difficult to cut straight.
Most straight-edge clamps feature rubber feet for gripping the material. These rubber feet help prevent damages to the material. Moreover, the clamping mechanism works well in resisting the pressure that the straight edge receives from the saw.
You will find most straight edge guides with a swivel head. This swivel head lets the clamps grab at an angle the wood piece creating a straight fence for your circular saw. The fence attaches to the wood piece that doesn’t come with parallel edges.
Swivel heads usually operate within the range of 0° to 22.5°. Moreover, the straight edge clamp should possess a reliable clamping mechanism. It should firmly grip the material to allow the swivel head to function correctly.
When it comes to choosing a straight edge guide, you should also go for something easy to set up and use. The straight edge clamps come with clamping mechanisms that feature large levers that let you tighten the clamp quickly onto the material. You will also find clamps equipped with a saw plate which allows for precise cuts. These plates attach the saw to the fence using the T-slot of the clamp.
The plate keeps the saw firmly in place against the clamp’s flat edge. This ensures a precise and straight cut. The jig also allows for a safer cutting experience by keeping the blade on the material, preventing slippage of the saw blade.
Frequently Asked Questions on Using the Straight Edge Guides
Being mindful of the most recommended straight edge clamps and the factors to consider when buying leads you closer to finding the ideal straight edge clamp for your cutting needs. Nevertheless, it will also help if you are familiar with the following frequently asked questions about straight edge clamps for these may also be the questions you have in your mind:
How to Use a Straight Edge Clamp with the Circular Saw Correctly?
The straight edge clamp functions with the circular saw, allowing the user to create precise cuts. You only need to attach the clamp to the material. This attachment should be firm to prevent slippage. With its locking handle, you can tighten the clamp firmly into place. Then, you should press the fence of the saw against the clamp’s straight edge while you cut. The use of the straight edge is quite easy. You will quickly get the hang of its use as you utilize it frequently with your circular saw.
What Else Can You Do with the Straight Edge Clamp?
The straight edge clamp is also referred to as contractor clamp or clamp edge. It is a tool that has multiple uses. It is an alternative option for those without a track saw. Moreover, the straight edge clamp can double as a clamp and a straight edge. Besides, it helps guide the router or circular saw to get a straight cut.
Cutting straight using the circular saw is a skill that can spell out the difference between a pro and a beginner. Because to develop this skill requires practice and the ability to maximize the use of a straight edge guide. Yet, unless you are a very talented woodworker whose hands do not wobble and whose spatial gaze at the cut line is perfect, you will indeed find making straight cut on long boards a significant challenge.
So, if you don’t possess that flawless eyeballing of the cut line and the steady hand to guide the circular saw through the cut line, you might as well use a straight edge guide. In this way, you will not waste time and material when cutting long sheets or boards. You will indeed raise your level of wood cutting a notch higher if you master the use of the straight edge guide.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.