How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

What if before a big project your table saw broke down and left you helpless along with your work? Not to worry. Because we have come with an easy solution, you can rip a big piece of wood with this tool available at your home, or you can easily purchase it.  Now you may wonder what that tool is. Well, it is the circular saw.

You might think about how that would work because this small piece of tool usually cuts miniature woods or vertically rips through big boards. What if we tell you that you can even slice a whole plank? Yes, and that is why we will give you some pointers on how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw.

Can Circular Saw do the Work? 

On YouTube or big wood shops, you might have seen a big board cutting tool on a table stand that does every type of cutting work. Naturally, not everyone has them. Due to budget or any other reason. Are you one of those people who doesn’t have a table saw available to you right now? 

Well, don’t lose hope because the circular saw is a powerful electric tool that can handle any sort of handy work. Many popular carpenters use only this tool to make straight cuts through narrow boards, whether it is a big or small board. Handy right?  The circular saw has a strong motor with a swift spinning blade that makes straight and precise cuts on almost any kind of board.

Things You Will Need

As easy as I might make it out to be, the truth is cutting boards with a circular saw can be challenging, even if you are a beginner and the board is a narrow one. A new woodworker will find it hard to handle because you will need a steady hand to hold this powerful tool. Circular for woodcutting is a perfect tool, but only if you can properly master it. 

So, hands might shake, ears might become irritated due to the noise, cuts might be all here and there. It is a tough world for beginners. But we will solve all of those problems here. You will just need to keep these few things in place before going to work: 

Proper Safety 

Safety is something you have to maintain while doing any kind of work. Let’s talk about this for a second. 

You cannot compromise with safety while doing woodwork. It will not just be dangerous for you but also for anyone around you. 

So before working with a board, you have to read through the tool manual and carefully scan through the caution section. Woodwork comes with many risks, and that is why we are going to give you some much necessary tips: 

1. No Kids Allowed

The first rule of the woodwork is you do not let your children go near the workstation. This is a golden rule. You must follow this. No matter how much you love your child and want to show off in front of them, it is a no-go situation. 

Letting your kids near there will make them think that they can go near your workplace anytime. So while you are not watching, an accident may occur. 

2. Wearing Protective Gear: 

Secondly, you will need proper safety measures for yourself. Protect yourself with goggles and face shields. While working, wood chunks, dust, or particles may fly towards you, so properly protect your face. Also, be careful about cuts and splinters. If noise bothers you a lot, then use noise canceler. 

3. Proper clothing:

What you wear can be part of your safety protocol too. Always wear clothes that are easy to move around but aren’t too loose to get stuck in the machine. 

4. Get used to the Tool:

Before doing the wood, you will need to familiarize yourself with the tool. Read the manual and research it on google. You need to know which switch works for what and whatnot. Make sure your saw works properly, and the power cable is at a safe distance. 

Required Tools

To do the whole process, you will need some tools. Keep these tools at hand, and you are ready to go. 

  • A big board to rip 
  • A firm stand to keep the plank
  • Two clamps can be attached at the start and end of the board so that it doesn’t move. 
  • You will need one pencil and a square to mark the line that you want to rip. 
  • Ps. keep some spare pencils as they tend to get lost. 
  • A measurement tape to take proper measures. 
  • A sharp-bladed circular saw.

Follow these steps to rip narrow boards with a circular saw 

Like I have said previously, ripping thin strips with a circular saw may not be easy for some people. So my advice is to try cutting a piece of wood or a few of them if necessary. This will help you to get adjusted to the tool. Now that you are used to the saw let’s get to work. 

Step One: Finding the Right Surface

Right surface for Rip Narrow Boards

Every woodworker should own a woodworking station. It is a long table especially designed for a carpenter. But if you don’t have one, it is okay. You can use a table (if the wood is too big, two tables) or a few chairs; basically, any smooth surface would do. 

Step Two: Securing the Board 

Securing Rip Narrow Boards

Next, you will have to firmly attach the wood to the platform. Put clamps at the end and the starting point. Place a few bits of wood on the saw surface for extra support. 

Step Three: Measuring 

Measuring for cutting

After everything is secured properly, determine how you want it cut. Use the measuring tape to measure the length and point it out with a pencil. Make a straight line with a scale if necessary.  Before you start cutting, make a picture in your mind of which sequence you want your blade to go. 

Step Four: Cutting Action

Rip Narrow Boards cutting method

Now that you have gone through every safety measure, reference cut, and made a picture in your head of your cutting sequence, you are ready to go. Balance the saw blade at the starting point of the board. Now switch the saw and start cutting along the penciled line. Hold it steadily and make sure there is not to put too much pressure on the saw, otherwise the blade won’t stay in the right alignment. 

Step Five: The End Line 

The end line of Rip Narrow Boards

Once you reach the end line be proud of yourself and switch it off. One thing to keep in mind though, the blade doesn’t stop rotating just after switching it off. So keep holding it on. And once it stops rotating, make sure the guard cap is securely placed.  If you follow these simple steps, you can’t go anywhere wrong. Even if you can’t do it on the first try, keep practicing, and don’t lose hope. 

A Word of Advice 

While working you need to keep a few things in mind. They will come in handy. 

  • Don’t put too much pressure on the saw. 
  • Rip the narrow board in one go. Don’t stop at all otherwise, the saw might shift from the right alignment. 
  • Check and recheck the clamp hold. The board absolutely shouldn’t move. 
  • Use both of your hands, do not get flashy. 
  • Stand sideways rather than behind the wood. This way you won’t feel the shock. 
  • Check the saw before buying, a dull blade is a useless blade. 
  • When you switch on the power button, the saw might move so hold it down firmly. 
  • Use a face mask and non-slippery hand glove for additional protection.


Ripping narrow boards without a miter saw is tough, especially for a rookie. But with these simple steps, even a beginner knows how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw. With a good amount of practice, anyone can become creative in ripping using the circular saw. So take a deep breath, keep practicing, and once you have it handled proudly finish your project. 

Read Also: Best Miter and Jigsaw Blade for Vinyl Plank Flooring

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Oliver is an efficient interior designer and part-time content writer of TopToolsLab. He has strong research skills about tools, accessories, and products such as drills, saws, air composers, cutting machines, etc. He knows the correct uses of the part of every tool. He can give proper information and meaningful description to find out the perfect result of the tool.

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