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How to Rip 2×4 with a Circular Saw? | 5 Simple Ways!

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Are you looking to learn how to rip 2×4 with a circular saw?

Even if your woodworking includes weekend projects, you’ll eventually need to rip a 2×4 from a lengthy piece of plywood or aboard.

Although table and track saws are perfect for ripping 2x4s, not everyone can afford them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead if you don’t have one.

If neither of these tools can be added anytime soon, you’ll need to learn how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw, and you’ve come to the right place.

So, how to rip 2×4 with a circular saw?

Using a circular saw and a tape measure to cut long pieces of plywood is typically simpler than feeding bulky sheets through a table saw.

Although a circular saw won’t cut as neatly as a table saw, you can cut almost as accurately with a few tricks, some technique, and practice.

Professionals do that all the time!

Here, I’ll list the simple ways to cut long boards and plywood swiftly and precisely through a circular saw rip guide and provide the proper instructions as a helpful cutting guide for your saw.

A man cutting wood with a circular saw—how to rip 2x4 with a circular saw
How to rip 2×4 with a circular saw? – Image via George Pastushok.

How to Rip 2×4 with a Circular Saw?

Following are the steps to rip 2×4 with a circular saw.

1. Draw the Line Accurately

Even if you make the most fantastic cut directly over your outline, it won’t help if the line itself is inaccurate.

You can ensure the accuracy of your outline in several ways.

  • One of the simplest is to draw your measurement on the board’s ends and then measure the space between them using the tape measure’s edge.
  • You must be pretty careful, given how simple it is to move and bump the tape.
  • Laying down a ruler, T-square, or level to trace a line between your marks is more stable.
  • If the length of your board exceeds the size of your ruler, you can measure in intervals and join each one separately until you reach the end.
  • You could try to use a board’s edge in its place.
  • That is possible, but you must check that the border is straight to avoid creating a line that moves with the edge of the board.
  • A widely popular method for swiftly drawing a line is to use chalk.
  • Just be sure to align your hook with one mark, and before popping it, tightly pull the line over the mark at the other end.

With that, you’ll be done marking a precise line.

2. Using Clamps on Your Work Table

Our next step to know how to rip 2×4 with a circular saw is clamping a straight edge.

  • It is among the most popular methods to make rip cuts with a circular saw.
  • You must be aware of the distance between the edge of your shoe and the blade to complete this correctly.
  • Clamp both ends of the straightedge at a distance between the shoe edge and blade that you measured, starting from your boundary line.
  • To ensure that the saw’s blade touches your outline, slide the shoe up against your straightedge.
  • Then, move the saw forward.
  • If it doesn’t, start with minor changes and work your way up.
  • Remember that equal movement is required on both ends for a perfect cut.
  • Before cutting, double-check the measurement with a tape measure.
  • Also, bend the straightedge slightly to ensure it won’t shift. Using this technique, you could set up your circular saw on your material and make rip cuts.
  • It cannot be smooth and easy when the material is longer than the straightedge. Stopping mid-cut, resetting the edge, and restarting is a pain.

Always have lengths of 5 feet and 10 feet on hand to ensure you have what you need.

3. Using an Add-on Track System

Most DIYers, even the most dedicated ones, and some professionals lack the funds to purchase a specialist saw.

Thankfully, new products make it simpler to obtain comparable precision without spending a fortune.

An add-on track system, like the Bora’s NGX Clamp Edge Guide or the Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide, is one option. These attach a piece onto the shoe using practically any circular saw, and the shoe then moves over a track.

Secure the track with a set of track clamps (usually available) and make your cut.

The setup is more straightforward than a straightedge, thanks to a sacrificial edge. The first cut you make with the saw you’re going to use removes a portion of the edge material, showing the accurate line your blade takes.

Related article: How to Tighten Circular Saw Blade

4. Rip 2×4 Freehand with a Circular Saw

Freehand rip cuts are possible if you don’t mind going off by around a blade width. Although it requires the shortest setup time, this method is frequently the least precise.

  • Bring your saw to the board and check your starting position by pushing the blade against your outline.
  • To start the saw’s blade spinning, slightly pull the saw and squeeze the trigger.
  • Just push the saw far enough to confirm that you are cutting straight in your line.
  • Once you’re sure you’re in, move the saw through while paying attention to your blade and line.

Now, let’s see another way to rip 2×4 with a circular saw.

5. Use Jig to Rip 2×4

Making your circular saw rip-cut using a jig and spare materials isn’t that difficult.

  • The fence and base are made of plywood. For the fence component, 3/4-inch plywood works excellently.
  • You may make a correct blade path with your circular saw by ensuring the base part extends past the blade on your initial cut, just like sacrificial material does with the track saw rails and add-on tracks.
  • The key in this situation is to ensure the material you utilize for the fence is square and straight.
  • As opposed to track systems, you must be careful to keep the saw against the fence while cutting.
  • Once it is constructed, clamp it to the bases by aligning the base’s edge with the outline.
  • Make your cut after that.
  • The advantage is that it’s cheap to use a circular saw to make precise rip cuts. A few wood screws won’t set you back much, and the wood you’re using is already left over from another project.
  • Moreover, it frees your saw from being confined to a rail adaptor.
  • However, it is more likely to suffer damage and wear over time because it is disposable.
  • You risk creating a little slant if you don’t keep the saw level while cutting over the waste edge to prevent the motor housing from striking your base.

Watch this video to find out how to rip 2×4 with a circular saw:

How to Rip 2×4 with a Circular Saw – YouTube


Now, as you have learned the different techniques on how to rip 2×4 with a circular saw, you can get along with your work.

You can use a jig, clamps, an add-on track system, or freehand to rip 2×4 without a table saw.

Once you choose your techniques to rip 2×4 with a circular saw, cut narrow boards with a circular saw.

All these techniques cannot completely replace a good table or track saw, but they can help you get good results while you wait for your budget to allow for one.

Always remember, with time, practice, and proper guidance, you can get the best of cuts with your circular saw.

I hope you find this article helpful. If so, consider sharing it with people.