Best Guide How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw-2022

If you’re like most woodworkers, you reach for your circular saw every time you need to rip aboard. And that’s understandable – a circular saw is a versatile tool that can handle a wide range of tasks.

But if your projects call for ripping narrow boards, you may find that your circular saw can be a little cumbersome to use. A circular saw is a perfect tool for the job, but it can be tricky to do if you’re not familiar with the techniques.

Now you don’t need to be limited to your circular saw for these types of cuts. You can make perfectly rip cuts with a circular saw. And you’ll like the results. The process isn’t as intuitive as it is with a circular saw, but we’re going to show you how it’s done, step by step.

The question arises in your mind, how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw?

These are some of the techniques you can use. Let’s take a look:

The question arises in your mind, how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw?

Scoring: The first thing you can try is to score the cut line. A scoring cut will help guide your saw and keep it from veering off course, so this is a great option for beginning woodworkers or those with little experience ripping narrow boards.

Scoring the cut-line works best on softer woods. Softer wood fibers will split apart more easily with a scoring cut. A lot of these boards can be full of knots, which makes them hard to rip sometimes. Softer wood is easier to work with and it’ll prevent any potential kickback as well,

How to Make a Scoring Cut

Mark your cut-line on the bottom side of the board. Set your saw to cut about 1/8″ deep, and use a push stick to guide the board through the saw. Be sure you’re using a sharp blade on your saw and that it’s set for a rip-cut.

Best Guide to Hardwood flooring

Ripping: The second option is ripping. You may find this approach works better with hardwoods, as it requires more force. When ripping a narrow board, you’ll still be using the same safety precautions as if you were making wider rip cuts with your circular saw:

1) Position yourself and your saw correctly – Splitting and kickback are always potential issues with any type of power tool.

2) Use a push stick – If you’re not comfortable with the idea of pushing your board through a spinning circular saw blade, we recommend using a push stick.

3) Be mindful of the blade location and depth.

4) Watch your fingers! The most important thing to remember when ripping any boards is to be constantly aware of where your hands are, and where the saw blade is.

With these safety tips in mind, let’s take a look at how to rip narrow boards with your circular saw

How to Make a Scoring Cut

Set your saw for a ripping cut. Try to keep your blade as close to the surface of the wood as possible without it touching. Make an initial pass through the board, cutting about 1/4″ into it. Stop the saw and remove the board from the saw table, then turn off your saw. Set your blade depth so that it’s about one-third of an inch deep.

Re-insert the board onto the saw, making sure to line up any previous cuts you made on the bottom side of the board as a guide. Set your saw back to the ripping setting and make a second pass.

Is it really difficult to Rip Narrow Boards with A Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a primary portable power tool for most woodworkers. The basic nature of a circular saw is that it allows you to rip boards more easily. In addition, it can be sharpened after almost every board and its motor control mechanism also allows the user to have easy maneuverability while ripping boards.

While ripping narrow boards with circular saws, can be helpful but not always very easy. The first technique of scoring cut is probably the easiest way to rip narrow boards, but sometimes it fails to work. If you can use a hand saw then it will be like a breeze for you to do this job.

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw-Step-By-Step

The procedure is fairly straightforward. To begin, you must first complete some preliminary actions.

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw-Step-By-Step

Step 1: Choose the right platform

Take long and straight plywood and place it on the platform. Make sure that the wood is long enough to place both saws of your circular saw. Depending on the height, you may require additional slabs as support. A longer slab will be safer to use.

Step 2: Clamp the circular saw sole to the slab/ platform:

You need to ensure that the sole of your saw is firmly attached to the surface so it does not move while you are trying to cut. You can use a clamp to attach the saw.

Step 3: Set the depth of cut as per the thickness you need

Ripping strips from narrow boards requires a deep saw cut. Since you are using a circular saw, make sure you set the depth of cut according to your need.

Step 4: Make the first cut:

If you want to rip a board, then start with it and place one end of the board into your saw. Make a few passes to ensure that the cutting is smooth. Make sure you are moving your circular saw in the same direction as the wood grain.

Best Table saw fence

Step 5: Maintain smooth passes

Once you are done with initial cuts, push the board through to ensure the cut is smooth. If you are not comfortable with the saw, then use a push stick for this purpose.

Step 6: Mark the next length

If you need to rip another board of similar thickness, then you must first mark its length exactly. You can use a pencil or chalk line. You can also set aside a few inches of the previous cut so that it acts as a marker.

Step 7: Place the board to recut

Place your next board firmly on the previous cut and make sure it is placed in the same direction.

Step 8: Cover the end of the board

You need to cover one end of your next board with a protective board or scrap piece of wood. You can also use your hands or kneel on the board if you want to protect it from the circular saw blade.

Step 9: Make the final cut

Once you have made sure that the board is fixed, make a few passes with your saw. Keep moving it in the same direction.

Tips to Improve Accuracy While Ripping

  • Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw
  • While using a circular saw, you need to follow some tips if you want to cut narrow boards accurately. Here are a few of them:
  • You must have a good grip on your saw while ripping thin strips from narrow boards. You should particularly focus on the front hand and be sure that it does not move while using your saw.
  • The best way to make accurate cuts is to use a good push block. You can also use the lumber crutch if the pouring saw is not working for you.
  • Always remember to place the board you want to rip into your saw in a way that it is running into the rotation of your saw.

How to be Safe While Ripping Using a Circular saw

It is very important to be safe while doing a job with a circular saw. You can use a clamp or a vice for this purpose. You can also use special support which is available for this purpose. You need to cut off the power supply of the circular saw before starting this job.


How many passes are required?

You just need two smooth cuts. Cutting boards with two cuts will be easier than trying all together at once and you can avoid kickback.

How to use a push block?

You can also use a push stick for this purpose. For this, you need to hold your saw at a right angle to your workpiece. Make sure that the blade is spinning towards you and it is not possible that the blade kicks back at you while ripping thin strips from narrow boards.

How do I maintain accuracy while cutting narrow boards?

Maintaining accurate cuts all through the process is very important. You can use a chalk line or a pencil to mark your next cut. You can also use scrap boards and place them before and after the board, you want to rip.

What if my saw is not making smooth passes?

If your saw is not making smooth passes, then it means that either there might be something wrong with its blade or it needs to be adjusted. You can also try using a push block or crutch to do this job.

What are the advantages of rips over crosscuts?

Rips provide a good wood grain finish on the top side of the board. It is also possible to get rid of rough edges due to any small irregularities in rip saw cuts. Rips are also suitable for making most furniture items with narrow boards.

On the other hand, crosscuts are very easy to do with most types of saws and do not need any special blade or settings. It is perfect for making frames and other items where the faces of boards should be smooth.


These are a few important steps and measures to follow while ripping narrow boards with a circular saw and making your work easy and safe. Always use a suitable clamp while using a circular saw or it can cause serious accidents. Always wear gloves while using circular saws to avoid cuts and to protect your hands from the blades.

Leave a Comment