How to Rip Wood Without a Table Saw

A table saw is a really powerful tool and most preferred for ripping wood. But that does not mean that it is the only tool that can perform this task. It is preferred because it’s much easier and accurate. But you can also rip wood with a circular saw as well. So if you are plan to rip wood but do not own a table saw, use a circular saw instead.

A table saw is very powerful. But there are a few disadvantages to using it. For one, it is not portable, unless you take the table to your project, which is not common. It takes quite a bit of space, so when you are buying a table saw, make sure you have space in your workshop. But having one really makes your DIY projects go so much smoother.

There are not many tools that can rip wood as good as a table saw though. The circular saw is one of the few tools that can easily rip woods. Not only is it inexpensive compared to a table saw, but it is also portable and takes less space.

Circular Saw vs Table Saw for Ripping Wood

There are two ways you can cut wood. You either cut across the grain of wood or parallel to it. When you are cutting across, you can use many saws, but the best one would be a miter saw. It is used to efficiently and accurately cut across a piece of wood. You can also cut at various angles with a miter saw but you cannot rip wood with it.

Cutting parallel with the grain of the wood is called a rip cut. A table saw is the most ideal tool for doing this. You use a pair of pushing sticks to push a piece of wood over the circular blade of the table saw. It then cuts the piece of wood in length. You can rip narrow boards with a table saw fairly easily.

But you can also rip wood with a circular saw just as easily. It also uses a circular blade and the biggest difference is, you guide the blade. In the case of the table saw you are guiding the piece of wood over the blade. But with a circular saw you are guiding the blade over the piece of wood. This gives you the advantage of portability, you do not need to bring over your projects to the table saw. Just take your circular saw to your projects and rip wood easily with it.

How to Rip Wood Without a Table Saw

Just follow these steps and you can rip wood with your circular saw if you do not have a table saw.

Step 1)

Fit your circular saw with an edge guard. This will allow you to cut uniformly through the piece of wood. You can change the length of the edge guard depending on the piece of wood you want to cut.

Step 2)

Adjust the depth of the blade to the piece of wood you have to cut. You do not want it to be too deep, a quarter of an inch deeper than the piece of wood, works just fine. Make sure it’s not too shallow though or it will not cut all the way through.

Step 3)

Place two pieces of scrap wood under the piece of wood you are cutting. This will elevate the wood you are cutting from the work surface. By doing so you are ensuring the work surface does not get damaged when you are cutting through the piece of wood.

Step 4)

Press the trigger and slowly start to cut the piece of wood ensuring that the edge guard is going to hold the saw in place from straying. Push the circular saw slowly through the piece of wood to rip it.

Step 5)

Keep moving the saw forward as you cut through the piece of wood. Take it all the way to the end and you are done. You successfully rip wood without a table saw.

This method might take a little practice on your end. But if you follow these steps, you can without a doubt rip wood without a table saw using a circular saw.

Things to Consider When You Rip Wood Without a Table saw

  • The circular saw is not a long term replacement for a table saw. But in case of an emergency, it can definitely act as a substitute.
  • When using a circular saw to rip wood, make sure to use the right blade for the job. If the wood is pressure treated, which means it has a high moisture content, use a suitable blade. The blade that is used for pressure treated wood is coated with a non-stick coating. This avoids the wood from sticking and makes sure the blade passes through with ease.
  • Do not forget to wear a mask and goggles when using a circular saw as sawdust can fly right into your eyes or nose. If sawdust enters your eyes or nose it can cause severe irritation. In some cases, it can even damage the eyes and your respiratory system.

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Power: 15 Amp & 5800 RPM Motor
Dimensions: 22.75 x 22.75 x 13 Inches
Weight: 54 Pounds
Includes: DWE7485 8-1/4 Inches Table Saw, Fence, Anti-Kickback Pawls, Miter Gauge, Push Stick, 24T 8-1/4 Inches Blade, Non-Thru Cut Riving Knife, Blade Change Wrenches, Modular Guard System
Perks: Portable & Compact, Maximized for Accuracy and Capacity, 24.5 Inches of Rip Capacity

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DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake


Power: 15 Amp & 5200 RPM Motor
Dimensions: 16.25 x 10.13 x 10.5 Inches
Weight: 8.8 Pounds
Bevels: 57° beveling capacity with stops at 45° and 22.5°
Cut Depth: 2 9/16 inch

Perks: Durable Aluminum, Electric Brake, Lightest Saw in Its Class, Durable

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