ToolsHaven is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 13, 2024

Feeling like ripping some narrow wood, but only have a circular saw? Confused? Worried? Wondering how to do it? Want a solution? You’re in the right place.

In this article, we will talk about how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw to get you some good action even if you don’t have a professional woodworking setup.

An Easy Guide on How to Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw

Cutting boards with a circular saw isn’t easy; on top of that, if you have to cut a board which is narrow, the difficulty is even higher. For beginners, a circular saw poses a lot of difficulties.

They will find difficulties handling it, their cuts might not be as intended, and unless it is one of the quietest circular saw in the market, it will generate a lot of noise which will irritate them. In short, beginners will have a tough time.

But here, we have the solution to many of these problems. Stick with us and find out for yourselves…


Safety comes first; let’s discuss your safety before anything else.

Before starting ripping a narrow board, you should be well acquainted with the safety measures appropriate for the task. Your love for woodworking should not come before your safety, which is why we are mentioning some safety tips for you to implement so that you don’t get injured:

First and foremost, don’t forget the golden rule, NO KIDS IN THE WORKPLACE.

Secondly, you need protection gear like safety goggles, face shields, etc. to save yourself from splinters, chunks of wood, dust, or flying particles. If the machines make too much noise, consider using an earmuff. Refrain from wearing loose clothing as it could get stuck.

But before you start your cutting and crafting adventures, familiarize yourself with how a circular saw works. A circular saw is not really a beginner woodworking tool. We suggest reading an instruction manual.

Also, be careful about keeping the electrical cord at a safe distance. Additionally, you have to ensure the saw in a good condition.

Now, you’re ready to march into woodcutting.

Required tools

  • Pencil and square, to mark the line to rip.
  • Measuring tape, to take measurements.
  • A wooden board, which is larger than the narrow board you want to cut.
  • A stand or sawhorses, to place the wooden board.
  • A pair of clamps, to attach the larger board.
  • A circular saw with a sharp blade.

If you have these tools at your disposal, you’re well equipped for the task at hand. Let’s get to work. Follow these steps properly to get your work done as smoothly as possible:

1. Measure the dimensions

With the help of squares and measuring tape, use the pencil to mark the dimensions of the wood you want to get as a result of the cutting process.

2. Fix the board on a surface

If you are a DIY worker, a carpenter, or a hardcore woodworking enthusiast, you probably have a workbench. If not, you can use a stand or a pair of sawhorses. Place the sacrificial board on top of the larger board and clamp it together to the workbench or sawhorse.

3. Adjust your saw by doing reference cuts

Before jumping on the main event, switch the saw and do a few reference cuts on a chunk of wood. The goal here is to measure the thickness of the cut and to see if you are holding the saw properly at the appropriate height. Take another piece of wood to test whether the saw is parallel to the platform. Otherwise, you will ruin your workpiece.

4. Rip the board

After you’ve done a few reference cuts and adjusted accordingly, you are ready for action. Hold the blade steadily over the previously marked place. Switch the saw on and firmly slide the saw along the cut line. Make sure not to put pressure on the saw as you slide it along.

5. Take off the saw

At the end of the marked line, turn off the saw, wait for the blades to stop rotating, and then take it off. If you followed all steps properly, you should have a perfect cut.

Difficulties of a circular saw

Rip Narrow Boards with a Circular Saw

For a beginner, circular saws bring lots of confusion, hence it is not an ideal saw to work without any form of experience. A novice would have trouble cutting in parallel or getting the right depth, or they could hit the clamps. A few common troubles when using a circular saw are mentioned below:

  • It is a one-dimensional saw, cutting only in one direction.
  • The blades are vulnerable to some surfaces, so they could snap.
  • The blades could get stuck to some surfaces due to the material type; for example, sandpaper; or due to the dullness of the blade.
  • Produces a lot of dust and particles. So a well vented open space is needed.

Useful Tips When Ripping Narrow Boards

  • Don’t put force on the saw.
  • After adjusting your saw, cut the board in one slide, if you stop in middle, you might ruin your work.
  • Use both of your hands. There is no need to be flashy and doing it with one hand, choose simplicity over complexity.
  • Make sure you used the clamp holds the wood tightly, otherwise there could be complications.
  • You can take the help of a friend to hold the sawhorse firmly, make sure they have proper protection.
  • Position yourself on the sides instead of behind the saw to minimize recoil from kickbacks.
  • The saw has to be sharp. A dull blade is not a usable blade.
  • Hold the saw firmly when turning the power on, as it could twist.
  • Use a face mask for further protection in case you don’t use a face shield.


Using a circular saw to rip a narrow board isn’t easy, but with the help of our step by step suggestions, it will definitely be a start. After reading this, you should already have a firm grasp of how to rip narrow boards with a circular saw.

Now all that is left is a good amount of practice. Afterward, you can get creative with your craft. Make sure to wear your safety gear, happy ripping!

You may also interested in these articles:

A Close Look at Track Saws.

How to Pick a Corded Circular Saw Perfectly?

A Quick Look at Our All-time Favorite Circular Saws.

A Quick Look at Our All-time Favorite Compact Circular Saws.

Related Articles

Leave A Reply