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Best Circular Saw Guide Rail Systems: Cross and Rip Cuts Made Easy
High-quality smooth cuts from any circular saw can be quite tricky. This is especially true if you are working on 8 ft. stock plywood. However, the job gets easier when you are using a stable circular saw guide rail system.
Let’s take a look at some of the best circular saw guide systems that we recommend for your next woodworking project.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
KREG RIP-CUT CIRCULAR SAW GUIDE
Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Track System is best to get quality cuts for any woodworking projects. It is easier to operate than you can imagine and you will wrap up your cuts in no time. With that RIP cut circular saw guide, you can cut with the confidence you want and the precision you need.
Upon testing it, I noticed that this product provides quick ways of turning your regular circular saw into a precision cutting machine. So, all you have to do is lock the saw in at the measurement you want upto- 24 using the built in measuring scale, and then make your cut.
Video Credit: Doresoom Tool Reviews
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE KREG RIP-CUT CIRCULAR SAW GUIDE
With Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Track System you can cut any width up to 24 inches. I was also able to cut half the width of the plywood sheet.
More importantly, cross-cutting a sheet into multiple pieces of the same size was a no-brainer at all.
Another thing that I noticed was this. When making the repeated cuts using the Rip-Cut, you don’t have to measure multiple times. Simply lock in the measurement that you need once. Then, as you cut, the precision edge guide will follow the edge of the sheet.
When this is happening the aluminum arm will position the saw at that exact distance that you had initially measured. This functionality allows you to make similar cuts repeatedly such as if cutting two sides of a shelf.
In addition to that, the Rip-Cut system uses the iQue technology. This is a functionality that allows you to make your cuts anywhere you want along the sheet. You won’t have to rely on following the plank’s edge.
The iQue technology guides the saw along the long aluminum track which you will lay on the sheet. The aluminum track should be laid on the area that you intend to cut once you make the marks.
Using this technology enabled me to rip my board into half. I was also able to rip cut up to 48 inches.
- Make rip cuts and crosscuts up to 24″ Wide
- Cut multiple pieces to the same size With just one setup
- Use the oversize edge guide for precise control throughout the cut
- Eliminate need for marking, measuring, and layout lines
- Take your saw to the material instead of having to take your material to the saw
HOW IT WORKS
The Rip-Cut system uses an edge guide to give you straight cuts. The edge guide follows the sheet’s edge while the saw rides on the aluminum arm. The arm is attached to the guide’s edge and makes it easy to cut any sheet lengthwise. This type of cutting is called ripping. You can rip any length up to 24 inches using this guide.
TIP: The Rip-Cut guide comes with an inbuilt measuring scale. So you won’t have to measure repeatedly. Simply lock the circular saw sled on the desired cutting width and you’ll be set, and ready for any cut.
- Rail Size: 3″ (76.2mm) wide x 30″ (762mm) long
- Material: High-quality aluminum/Impact-resistant plastic polymer
- Cut Width: Maximum 24″ (610mm)
- Saw Sled: Universal Sled Integrates with left and right-blade saws
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Both hand usability: Dual-position edge guide for left or right-handed use.
- Adjustable lens: Adjustable cursor for calibration.
Compatibility: Accepts left- or right- blade saws.
REASONS TO BUY
- Makes it easy to get rip cuts and crosscut
- Ideal for cutting multiple pieces of the same size
- Universal Sled accepts most circular saws- left or right
- Reversible edge guide for left or right – handed use.
- Lightweight, Only 3 pounds
- Sporting base for firm setup
- An automated stop block to slide the saw
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Very light
- The plastic body may look cheap
- Not suitable for bigger cuts
- Not good enough for industrial circular saw
Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Guide Includes: A universal saw sled, an aluminum guide rail, a precision edge guide, and a user manual.
FESTOOL 491498 FS 1400 55" GUIDE RAIL
Festool 491498 FS 1400 55″ Guide Rail is another popular circular saw guide system that makes your work easy and quicker. It is easy to use and gives the best precise cut.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE FESTOOL 55″ CIRCULAR SAW GUIDE
Just as the previous models that we tested, this one also eliminates re-measuring. It comes with 8 different sizes of guide rails that are spread from 32″ to 197″ or 800mm to 5000mm.
The fact that they are spread leaves any user with the freedom of choice. The various rails make it easy for you to find your perfect rail depending on the application that you need.
I found out that every rail guide includes a simple integrated splinter-guard. When I used the splinter-guard, I got cuts that were easy to align.
I was also able to end up with splinter-free edges that aligned perfectly and smoothly. They had no tear whether I cut along the grain or took a cross-cut.
Video Credit: Feestool USA
In reality, I was only able to make precision cuts of up to 49 inches long using the 55 inches rail guide. Even so, I easily connected multiple guide rails and created longer tracks for the cuts that exceeded 55 inches.
The cuts were smooth and had no splinters. Making longer cuts was easy since this guide rail also comes with non-skid strips that I used underneath the rail.
The non-skid strips prevent any form of sliding when setting up and also during cutting. They are also compatible with different types of clamps.
HOW IT WORKS
The Festool 55″ Guide Rail is easy to use. First, mount the circular saw to the guide’s universal sled. Don’t worry about the saw having a left-blade or right-blade.
Now slide the sled on the aluminum rail and then follow the user guide to calibrate. Lock in the desired cut width. Use the measuring scale.
Then hold the rail’s edge guide against the sheet and guide the saw. The accurate line will automatically fall in place and you can do repeatable cuts quickly.
- Material: Aluminum
- Guide Rail: 55 inches
- Availability: Available in 8 different lengths from 32 inches to 197 inches
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Splinter-Guard: Integrated splinter-guard
- Rubber Strips: Non-skid rubbers/ Dual-clamping rubber strips
- Increased Capability: Connect multiple rails for expanded capability (limitless)
REASONS TO BUY
- Allows you to join up guide rails for even longer cuts
- Micro adjustment
- Quality cutting stays in place
- Easy to assemble before usage
- Very well built, sturdy, and long-lasting
- Replaceable anti-splinter tape
- Easy to assemble
- Quick for diagonal cuts with a bevel system
- Durable rail gripping
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- Heavier than two other brand models
- Rails don’t come with the clamp and connectors
Festool 55-Inch Includes: A 55-inch guide rail, comprehensive user manual, and splinter guard.
Bora 5-Piece NGX Deluxe Clamp Edge System
Bora 5-Piece NGX clamp edge system is a 100 inch (50+50″ extension) model circular saw guide rail. This is much better than the old model especially in terms of the build quality and the usability of the clamps.
This sleek, not overly expensive tool can be ideal for your DIY projects or small shops. Also, the plastic clamps are much better than the old models.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH Bora NGX Deluxe Clamp Edge System
The NGX clamp guide system is amazing in that it turned my circular saw into a track saw. However, it is much more affordable than any track saw.
I can work more productively along with further precision. I can unimaginably work on the rip boards. The track clamps help me cut any angle I want. I can save my dollars using this track system as each time this guide ensures accurate cuts.
The modular design lets you attach an 50-inch of extension for increased cutting capacity up to 100-inch. The non-chip strip nicely prevents top edge tear out for a better finish.
It substantially improves the cutting quality. It is indeed a great assistant for any DIY work or for small shops.
HOW IT WORKS
The 3 points of contact hold the saw in place. The plate makes the circular saw fit on the guide. Lying in the saw’s shoe its job is to stabilize. You just need to press the self-adhesive strip onto the clamp edge to cut. It includes tick-marks to gauge the distance from the clamp rail.
Suppose you are attempting a bevel cut. In that case, you just need to put extra pressure on the saw to the left or right. That’s it!
It comprises two types of clamps: one is for standard straight cut and another is for cutting angles. However, you have to ensure whether the deluxe set will suit your circular saw or not. For this, the length of the saw plate forepart to the back guard can be 11 ¾ inches maximum. The ideal width of the front lip must be greater than ¾ inches. And the blade guard to the edge of the saw plate-width must be between 2 ½ and 5 ¼ inches.
- Weight: 10.08 pounds
- Hanger: Handy and easily keepable
- Non-chip strip: Self-adhesive 2 rolls non-chip strip
- Saw Plate: Supportive saw plate
- Cutting Capacity: up to 100 inches
- Cutting Specialty: Straight-angle cutting facility
- Stabilizer: A light plate in saw’s shoe to stabilize
REASONS TO BUY
- Very affordable compared to a track saw system
- Easily attachable clamp edge modular design
- Secures stronghold by 3 contacting points
- Heavy gauge and rigid aluminum for increased durability
- Can also be suitable with a jigsaw or router
- Comfortably adjustable
- The non-chip strips give a clean and accurate cut
- No hassle of tear-out
- Reduced blade offset and guesswork
THINGS TO COMPROMISE
- The T-square gets unbalanced when the clamps are unclipped
Bora 5Pc NGX Set Includes:
Bora 50″ NGX Clamp Edge
Bora 50″ NGX Clamp Edge Extension
Bora NGX Saw Plate With Non-Chip Strips
Bora NGX T-Square Clamp Edge
Bora WTX Track Clamp Pair
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING GUIDE RAILS
There are several factors that you can consider when buying a guide rail. However, the most important ones include the following.
- Length – How long do you want your guide rail to be? What types of cuts will you make with it? The average guide rail will cut up to 24 inches. However, just as you saw above, there are a few others that extend.
- Weight – Guide rails vary in weight. A light rail is okay if you are working alone. However, a slightly heavy model will prevent shakes and slips. Look for rails that are stable and easy to work with too.
- Material – The material of construction will determine a lot of things. It will determine the weight, durability, sturdiness, and efficiency. High gauge aluminum is one of the most recommended options.
- Pricing – Set a budget. Get the money that you are comfortable to give when buying a guide rail. Now you can shop for the best guide rail on your budget.
CIRCULAR SAW GUIDE RAIL SYSTEM STRUCTURE
While the rail guard does such marvelous work, it has a very simple structure. Even so, the structures might vary from one manufacturer to the next. Here is the basic structure of a guide rail.
- Non-Slip Rubber: This one is used to hold the components of the guide rail in place. It prevents the aluminum rails from slipping and changing the line of cut. The non-slip rubber foam is set under the rail.
- Guide Rib: The guide plate of any circular saw has a groove. The groove locks into the guide rib and prevents the saw from slipping off its line.
- Splinter Guard: The edge of the wooden plank tears easily as you cut. It leaves splinters at the end of the cut. Splinters are rough and sharp. A splinter guard prevents the tear and gives smooth cuts.
- Slide Coating: To get a smooth and accurate slide on your circular saw, you can make use of a slide coating.
HOW TO GET PRECISION CUTS WITH A GUIDE RAIL
If you want some of the best precision cuts with your guide rail, make use of the following tips always.
- Get Proper Adjustment – Make sure that your saw and your guide rails are properly adjusted. Go for a flawless fit so that you can get a smooth cut. Use your manual to get a precise adjustment of the saw and your guide rail.
- Keep Your Rail Clean – You must have noticed that cleanliness is vital for smooth cuts. The same applies if you want flawless action with your guide rail. The efficiency of your rail depends on how clean it is to give a smooth ride.
- Proper Measurements – When installing the guide rail, get the right measurements. Get the measurement as you fix the first part and also when fitting the clamps. Make sure the measurements are equal. This will give you proper alignment.
- Proper Saw Positioning – Make sure you position your saw properly before you take a cut. Lower the saw and keep it between the guide rails. Make sure it is well placed to make the best cut.
- Align the Guide Rails – For longer cuts, you must ensure that you get the perfect alignment for your rails. Using the connectors, make sure that your rails are properly aligned before you start cutting.
Apart from what we have seen, here are other vital tips that will help you with your next woodworking project.
HOW TO RIP NARROW BOARDS WITH A CIRCULAR SAW
If you want to use a circular saw to rip narrow boards such as the plywood, the most important thing to do is to hold your board firmly while you rip it. The cut may not be so straight, but you can try to bring it close to the perfect alignment by pressing the saw firmly along the straightedge of the board as you push the saw along.
HOW TO CUT A STRAIGHT LINE WITH A CIRCULAR SAW
Straight line cuts are best if you need cabinet-quality cuts for your new renovations or home fittings. To make straight cuts with a circular saw, you will need a guide rail. You can use the guide rail along the marked lines on cut and then make your straight cuts.
You can also clamp the lumber perfectly on a straight board or along the metal straightedge (guide rail) to make the cut. Take a look at how the guide rail works next.
HOW TO USE A CIRCULAR SAW GUIDE
If you want to learn how to use circular saw guide rail here is what you must know. A guide rail comes with gripping strips. These strips are set underneath your surface and hold the guide rail in place.
You can add the clamp if you want, however, the grip strips underneath your work set up should be okay. These adjustable strips allows you to set up the rail in line with your line of cut. As such, when making cuts, the guide rail will direct the cut along the line of cut.
Thanks to the anti-spin touch that the guide rails provide, which maintains the perfect alignment with the line of cut. Most guide rails also come with an anti-splinter technology. Due to this technology, as the saw cuts along the guide rail, you’ll also get a splinter-free clean touch.
This is a straight and precise cut that allows you to fit two work pieces together without any sign of combinations.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHICH IS THE BEST UNIVERSAL CIRCULAR SAW GUIDE RAIL FOR BEGINNERS?
The best universal guide rail for a circular saw is one that a beginner can afford easily. It should also be a model that they can learn fast and find easy to use. This is very important as most learners are still progressing in their skills. They may take a long or short time depending on how fast they can acquire their skills. Nonetheless, with an affordable guide rail, there won’t be so much to lose in case of damages.
IS A CIRCULAR SAW RIP GUIDE NECESSARY FOR EVERY CUT?
Seasoned woodworkers may argue otherwise. However, from a personal view, using a circular saw track guide is very important. Yes, it may not be necessary, but if you want the best cuts, precision cuts, or cuts that are aligned to your measurements and needs, you should work with a guide.
The guide will save you from spending too much time watching your cuts. It will make your work easy and also allow you to make your cuts more efficiently with less effort.
WHERE CAN I BUY THE BEST GUIDE RAIL FOR CIRCULAR SAWS?
Buying your guide rail online is the best option. If you can get it as an accessory for your circular saw, it will be a huge bonus. Buying online helps you to get better discounts and affordable prices. You will also enjoy a variety of models to choose from before getting a timely door step delivery.
With a guide rail, you don’t have to worry. Irrespective of the length of the plank that you are cutting, it will be easy to cut it down to the right size. From the small wooden panels to the large plywood sheets your job will be less tiresome.
You’ll easily make accurate cuts, similar rips, and track the saw-like cuts faster. Cutting a material of 100” will be easy and attaching any extension a no-brainer affair. No matter your woodworking skill level, choosing the best circular saw guide system is awesome if you must achieve the best results.