Things You Need to Know about Circular Saw Guide Rail
A guide rail is always handy when using a circular saw, whether you are a DIYer or professional woodworker, as it ensures accurate and high-quality cuts. But, like anything else you use in the workshop, you cannot just settle for any you come across. However, to make an informed choice, there are some key things you need to understand.
What is Circular Saw Guide Rail?
As the name suggests, circular saw guide rails are straight metal bars you install on your circular saw to guide the blade to ensure you can easily direct it where you want to cut for increased accuracy.
They are typically made of lightweight aluminum material, and their structure consists of a guide rib, non-skip rubber bottom, and splinter guard for preventing wood tears.
Why I Need Circular Saw Guide Rail?
While you can still master how to use a circular saw effectively without a guide rail, this takes a lot of time and effort. However, a guide rail comes with many benefits, and here are some of the main ones.
- Accurate Cuts
If you want to make accurate cuts when using a circular saw and do it consistently, you need a guide rail. With these rails, you can control the blade far much better than when cutting without one. When cutting hard lumber, the blade can move unexpectedly, which can affect the cut accuracy. However, guide rails ensure this does not happen.
- Prevent Tears and Splinters
Tears and splinters on the edges of a workpiece can ruin its aesthetic appearance and affect how it fits your project. Guide rails include splinter shields that ensure you always end up with smooth edges.
- Protect Work Surface
It is easy to scratch or damage work surfaces when using circular saws. While this is often an acceptable consequence for many woodworkers, guide rails can help minimize its likelihood. When using the rails, the saw’s base hardly ever touches the work surface, meaning it will look pristine and scratch-free much longer.
- Eliminated Need for Clamps
When using a circular saw, you often need clamps to keep the material in place. Despite being vital, clamps often clutter the cutting line, which can affect accuracy. However, with guide rails, you do not need to use them since most include adhesion strips to grip the workpiece.
Types of Circular Saw Guide Rails
As you consider adding a guide rail to your circular saw, you often need to pick from several options. But, you have to start by deciding between the two types below.
1. Simple DIY Fence
You do not always need to buy an expensive circular saw guide rail to improve your cutting accuracy since you can make a DIY fence to serve the same purpose.
These are what many woodworkers and DIYers refer to as rip fences. You can make them with wood or metal and sometimes even a mixture of both. If you are not sure how to do it, there are many helpful guides online.
2. Standard steel/Aluminum guide rails
The standard guide rails are typically made from either aluminum or steel, and they come in various sizes to suit different needs. While these can be a little pricier than the DIY ones, you can still get some inexpensive wooden ones.
According to HomeGearX, Kreg KMA2675 is a universally compatible model that can work for almost any circular saw out there. Additionally, this guide rail provides a rip cut width of 1/8-inch to 24 inches, provides 100% support for the entire cut, and is made from lightweight but durable aluminum material.
With a circular saw guide rail, you can be sure of getting more accurate cuts with smooth edges free of splinters and tears. Better still, these rails eliminate the need to clamps the workpiece and ensure you do not scratch your surfaces when cutting.