Easy Circular Saw Guide Rail (Step by Step with Pictures)

Learn how to build an easy circular saw guide rail with a step-by-step tutorial, measurements, and video. A perfect circular saw jig for your workshop.

A circular saw is one of the very basic tools every workshop should have. It is one of the most common beginner power saws and a great tool to use when you are starting in the craft. Due to its versatility, in many cases it can replace a table saw if used correctly.

Circular saws are great for making quick, precise cuts, but when it comes to handling large workpieces, it can get a bit challenging. It’s possible, but not easy.

However, a simpler and more effective solution is to use a circular saw guide rail. The downside is that these accessories can be pretty pricey. So, why not craft your own circular saw guide track?

A completed guide for a circular saw

Making a saw track is a fairly simple and quick project and it will help you so much in your workshop. You don’t need to buy new tools, you can make a saw track for the circular saw with the tools you already have in the workshop.

With the instructions and video provided in this blog post, you will learn step-by-step how to make a DIY circular saw track guide. 

DIY Circular Saw Track Guide Video

If you want to see how to make a circular saw guide, check out the full video below for a step-by-step guide.

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Circular Saw Guide Plans

Download the Circular Saw Guide Plans here
Free Downloadable Circular Saw Guide Plans

What you'll need to build the Circular Saw Guide Track

Circular Saw Track
Birch Plywood – (700 x 335 x 12 mm)
2x Birch Plywood – (35 x 25 x 12 mm)
Handle – 140 mm length
4x wood screws
2x Aluminum guide rails – (700 x 14 x 12 mm)
Hardware Assortment Kit – https://amzn.to/41PodgQ

Check all the Tools I Use

Circular Saw – https://amzn.to/4aMD0xg
Jigsaw – https://amzn.to/3S85cDr
Hand Drill – https://amzn.to/3HqLEnH
F-Clamps – https://amzn.to/48ArzY1
Machinist Square / Speed Square
Center Hole Punch – https://amzn.to/48Fq7mv
Tape Measure – https://amzn.to/3TN0SKM

Wood Glue – https://amzn.to/48ltKhJ
Double-Sided Woodworking Tape – https://amzn.to/3tPMGpM
Forstner bit ø20 mm – https://amzn.to/3Hd1aDb
Sandpaper – https://amzn.to/41OMx2p
14x bolts ø4, 1,6 cm + washers, nuts
Metal Drill Bit ø4,2 mm

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What is a Circular Saw Guide?

A circular saw guide is a tool that ensures precise and straight cuts when using a circular saw. It acts as a guide to help keep the saw on track along the intended cutting line. This guide is essential for various woodworking and DIY projects, such as cutting plywood, lumber, or other materials accurately. By preventing the saw from wandering off course, it guarantees clean and professional-looking cuts.

RELATED: Best Circular Saw Guide Rails

Why should I buy or make a circular saw guide?

Cost is the main reason to consider if you’re thinking about making your saw guide.

Price-wise, a commercial track saw could set you back hundreds. For those setting up a workshop on a budget, that might not be the wisest place to allocate your funds. Instead, you’d rather invest in a high-quality blade for your circular saw if you’re willing to spend a bit more.

Making this DIY track saw cost me about $15 in materials. Your costs might vary, but you’ll still end up spending just a fraction of what a new track would cost.

On the flip side, a store-bought guide offers more flexibility. A homemade guide usually fits only one type of saw, while a commercial guide can accommodate various saw types, like the one below.

Oversize edge guide for precise control throughout the cut

How hard is it to build a circular saw track?

Not hard at all! This is an easy project for beginners requiring very basic tools.
The project is straightforward and the cuts are simple. You can build the entire saw track in a few hours.

Do you need a lot of tools to build a circular saw track?

You don’t need much—just a circular saw, a hand drill, and a hand saw will do!

You could also use a jigsaw to shape the main part of the circular saw track, but it’s optional. While a jigsaw excels at quick straight cuts, crosscuts, and inside corner cuts, a hand saw can handle the job too.

Let's Start Building!

The circular saw track consists of 2 main parts – the base, and the guiding rails.

The base is made of birch plywood, and the guide rails are from aluminum L angles. Plywood is a great material for making woodworking jigs. It is strong, durable, and doesn’t warp easily. All the material is easily available in a local store. The overall dimensions are 700 x 335 mm.

NOTE: The circular saw track is designed for a Makita Circular Saw. Similarly, it can also be made for other types of circular saws.

Before we get into the building read the information below on the material. 

How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop

The key component in the design is the aluminum guide rails. They need to be shorter than the circular saw at its lowest setting. This ensures the guide rails don’t block the saw, allowing you to use the maximum cutting depth possible.

How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop
How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop

How to make a DIY Circular Saw Guide

Step 1: Make the Circular Saw Guide Base

Draw the design of the saw guide on the plywood sheet and cut out the shape. The design is available in the video or as free plans above.

NOTE: Check the width of your circular saw and adjust the design accordingly.

A jigsaw in combination with a jigsaw guide track turned out to be a good way to easily cut out the shape. If you’re going to use a circular saw to cut out the shape you can use a straight edge to do that. I used an aluminum spirit level.

How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop
How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop
How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop
How to make a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop

Sand all the edges and corners smoothly to get rid of splinters. 

Making a Circular Saw Guide Track for a small workshop
Base shape of the circular saw guide

Step 2: Attach the Aluminum Guiding Rails

The width of my circular saw is 133 mm. Take into account the width of your saw to install the guide rails accordingly.

Measuring the base of a circular saw

Tape one side of the circular saw to leave a bit of extra space between the rails for a better slide. 

Building a circular saw guide track

Cut the aluminum rails to size.

Cutting guide rails for a circular saw guide

First, use double-sided tape to attach the guide rail to the base. Once the rail is in position, fix it additionally with screws and nuts.

Building a circular saw guide track
Building a circular saw guide track

Make sure the screws are flush with the bottom of the base.

Building a circular saw guide track
Building a circular saw guide track

To attach the second guide rail place the circular saw right next to the first one (with the tape on) and fix the second guide rail accordingly following the same steps as before.

NOTE: A thin aluminum bar can easily bend. Take care while placing the bar on the base.

Making a DIY guide for a circular saw

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Step 3: Cut the Slot

This circular saw track doesn’t have a stopper, neither at the start nor at the end. My goal was to maximize the usable space on the guide. However, without a stopper, it’s quite easy to cut through the guide itself, so bear this in mind when building it.

Place the circular saw where you want to start cutting.
First cut a very shallow slot along the entire length of the guide to mark a line. 

Making a DIY guide for a circular saw
Cutting a slot in a circular saw guide

Cut several “sight holes” along the entire length of the cut. I used a 20mm Forstner bit.
These sight holes will help you adjust the guide when making cuts.

Drilling sight holes in a circular saw guide rail

Ultra-Sharp Cutting Teeth Specifically Engineered To Cut Through Hard And Soft Woods Smoothly And Efficiently

Image: Amazon

Once finished with the sight holes cut a slot in the track saw. (Again be mindful that there is no stopper.)

Cutting a slot in a DIY circular saw guide rail

Sand the slot to get rid of splinters and sand the surface of the guide track for the circular saw to slide easier. I used sandpaper of different grit sizes ranging from P200 to P800 to get a very smooth slide.

Sanding a circular saw guide track
Sanding a DIY circular saw guide

Step 4: Attach the Handle

I added a handle to the base for better manipulation. You can press it down and fix it in position while cutting (although to get the best results, fixing the guide using clamps is still necessary).

NOTE:  The handle I used didn’t provide enough space for my hand – so I added extra pieces of plywood to create more room.

Attaching a handle on a circular saw guide rail

Pre-drill holes for the screws and attach the handle to the base. 

Attaching a handle on a circular saw guide rail
Attaching a handle on a circular saw guide rail

And this is how the finished circular saw guide track looks like.

A completed DIY Circular Saw Track Guide
Circular Saw Guide Hande
A completed guide for a circular saw
Finished Circular Saw Guide Track

How to use a Circular Saw Track

The steps below describe how to set up and how to use a circular saw guide track.

  1. Draw a line on the piece of wood where you intend to make the cut.
  2. Secure the piece you’re cutting with clamps to prevent any movement.
  3. Place the circular saw track over the line, adjusting its position by looking through the sight holes.
  4. Fix the saw track to the workbench using clamps to enhance stability and accuracy during the cut.
  5. Mount the circular saw on the track and slowly make a cut.

NOTE: Remember to consider which side of the line you intend to cut on and position the guide track accordingly. Also, take care to avoid cutting into the workbench. Using a thicker pad to raise both the guide and the circular saw can help protect your work surface.

Using a DIY circular saw guide rail
Using a DIY circular saw track guide
A cut wooden piece with a circular saw guide track

My Take

Making this circular saw guide rail is surprisingly simple. It’s fast to assemble, straightforward to use, and much cheaper than the commercial circular saw guides available in stores. You can put together this “track saw” for just a few tens of dollars.

Consider using the money you save to invest in a high-quality blade for your circular saw. A good blade can significantly improve the cleanliness and accuracy of your cuts. Absolutely worth the investment!

This guide is best suited for making short straight cuts. However, for longer straight cuts or crosscuts, there are other saw guides available that will be more suitable for those tasks. Check them out. HAPPY BUILDING! 

Other DIY Circular Saw Guides

Remember, power tools can be dangerous, including circular saws. Always be cautious when using any power tool. It is necessary to follow certain safety guidelines to avoid any injury. Read this blog post before operating a circular saw: 9 common circular saw safety mistakes and how to avoid them.

How to make a Cutting Guide For Circular Saw

Woodworking Jigs used for this project:

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About the author, Lukas
About the author, Lukas

Meet the creator of AllFlavor Workshop! As a passionate DIYer and woodworking enthusiast, Lukas is always looking for ways to make things himself rather than buying them off the shelf. With a keen eye for design and a knack for working with wood, Lukas enjoys sharing his craft with others and helping them discover the joy of building. Whether you're an experienced woodworker or a novice looking to try your hand at a new hobby, you're sure to find plenty of inspiration and tips on AllFlavor Workshop.