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Thread: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

  1. #1
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    Default Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    I've read that there are good ways to rip long stringers using a circular saw. Does any have any suggestions or advice? My boards are cedar, 16 feet long, and the stringers will be 1" wide.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Easy peasy, what is there really to know other than just use the rip fence guide attachment for the saw and if you want to make life even easier buy yourself a ripping blade. Don’t force the cut and pay attention to what you’re doing to keep the fence guide against the work piece. Much easier than using a hand saw for ripping strips, which I’ve done in the past a few times.
    Larks

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    if the fence has gone missing, (lost my own about 2min's after opening the box)you can use a bit of scrap clamped to the under side of the saw's plate

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Larks (and Waldo too it seems) beat me to it while I was reaching for my laptop...

    1) Be mindful of where your fingers are when the saw's running.

    2) Find a true RIP blade for your circular saw. Maybe even two if you have a LOT of strips to rip. The thinner the kerf they take the less work your saw has to do & the less waste out of your stock.

    https://www.amazon.com/Carbide-Tippe.../dp/B004KUIZB2

    Trying to rip with a general purpose wood blade most often intended for cross-cutting, will burden your saw's motor with the long running cuts you'll be doing.

    RIP blades are chisel-toothed for taking out the long grain stuff rather than cutting cross-grain, why they make RIP blades. They have fewer teeth too which makes pushing them through the end grain easier on your saw.

    3) Stick a fence on your saw's base plate. If your saw came with one, make sure it's mounted securely & doesn't 'give' under stress, or twist. As an alternate, you can fix an 18" piece of straight wood to the base with a couple of sheet metal screws if needs be.

    4) Set up a ripping bench of some kind so those stock boards won't flex as you remove an inch + kerf at a time.

    You didn't mention how wide they are so take some pains to plan ahead for when what's left is less than 3" wide. That's when you don't want any sideways flexing going on which tends to make your saw run off-course as well as adding to the burden on your saw.

    5) Set up your saw so that the blade is exposed at least 3/4" if not a full inch beneath your workpiece. This lets dust clear better, tends to ease the load on your saw's motor by removing the friction of teeth still in contact with the wood they're cutting through and the sawdust trapped between them.

    6) Set up some means by which the strips you'll be ripping will be supported. Otherwise you'll lose some length to splitting more'n likely when you get to the last four or five inches.

    Having a helper follow behind the saw, pulling out strips that support the cut-off lets you concentrate on running the saw.

    7) Make some provision for the sawdust you'll be making. Ripping makes lots of it. You don't want to breathe any of it, get it in your eyes, or have it get itself over everything in range of the fallout.

    8) Don't rush things. Let your saw and the proper blade you've mounted do the work. Forcing both by pushing hard will defeat the best of tools.

    9) Be mindful of where your fingers are when the saw's running.
    Last edited by sp_clark; 11-16-2020 at 07:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    I like to have a saw that I can see the blade...some are not so.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Lots of good tips above. Put a line on the board with a combination square or the like for a visual reference so you'll know right away if the saw starts to wander. Belt & suspenders.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    A fence on a circular is the way to go. I'd kick this up a notch and put a HDPE plate on the base that extends lengthwise past the base of the saw by a couple or three inches on either side. Cheap cutting boards work great for this. I'd then take a very straight stiff piece of wood maybe 18" long and slightly less thick than the stock and attach it to the HDPE plate at the furthest ends of the plate. Take care to keep the fence square to the blade and you will have saw that will cut as accurately as a table saw. This setup will mitigate the major drawback of most store bought rip fences, namely a single support arm that allows some play in the fence and wandering in the cut.

    The other thing to do is to attach a waste board of 5" or 6" width and equal thickness of the stock being cut. Any junk wood will do and will support the saw during the cutting of the last few strips. Either glue and clamp or biscuit the waste board to the stock but don't use any metal fasteners (which should be obvious)
    Last edited by Dusty Yevsky; 11-16-2020 at 10:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    If you're just making a few stringers the advice so far is all good but if you are producing enough strips to strip build a hull you might try screwing the saw to a piece of 3/4 ply then plunge cut and flip it over, instant table saw. It's been done before, works well.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by overland View Post
    I've read that there are good ways to rip long stringers using a circular saw. Does any have any suggestions or advice? My boards are cedar, 16 feet long, and the stringers will be 1" wide.
    Try to find a thin kerf blade. I have one from Matsu****a sold by Duckworks a while back. Saves wood, reduces effort to push saw. Kerf is 1/16 inch.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Use a rip blade.
    The longer and stiffer the fence the better. A sturdy piece of hardwood screwed or bolted to the baseplate is best. Lots of fence on the infeed side so you can register the saw to the plank at the outset before the blade engages the stock.
    Let the saw do the work and dont force it. Let the blade spin up to speed before you start the cut and if its bogs down, slow down. Having a small wedge tapped into the kerf after you start the cut will help reduce the drag on the blade and clear the chips.
    Support the work for the entire length.
    Dont tape the trigger down, dont block the blade guard up and remember where your fingers are....protect your eyes and ears and lungs and
    keep the cord out from under your feet

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    I ripped the (strip) planks for a 35' schooner and a 40' Monk sailboat with a skilsaw. Thats like 6000 feet of rippin
    Tiny 3 inch rip fence that attaches with a thumb screw.
    peace o kake

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Lots of excellent tips here, thanks. There's one small problem I've encountered: I have a little Makita 18v circular saw that takes 6 1/2 inch blades. I've not been able to find a rip blade in that size.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    I will simply second the idea of a larger foot/plate to add to the saw, and use the longest fence you can.

    Be VERY careful not to tilt the saw while running it along.

    I tend to support the entire plank on a sacrificial piece of plank I have that I support with horses. I generally prefer to rip long boards with a hand saw, actually, because it’s easier to move the saw than the wood.

    Try not to hesitate nor stop/start during the cut, as these tend to be the places you’ll leave “blade prints”

    If there’s a saw shop around, they might could turn you on to rip blades in your size.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by overland View Post
    Lots of excellent tips here, thanks. There's one small problem I've encountered: I have a little Makita 18v circular saw that takes 6 1/2 inch blades. I've not been able to find a rip blade in that size.
    Youre going to want to buy a real saw.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    How many lineal feet are you proposing to rip?

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Just 12 stringers. I just realized too that I still have my old corded saw, which I never use but is bigger and would probably work better for this jobs.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Then there's no need to spend more on a rip blade, just use one of those Diablo thin kerf combos. No sweat, especially since it's cedar, and they're just stringers so uniformity is not really an issue which means that the ripping fence that comes with it, if you still have it, will be sufficient.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Just buy a new ten dolla blade.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Just follow Tom Yost's instructions here. http://www.yostwerks.org/SBStringersA.html

    Nick

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    I ended up using my little Makita 18v circular saw with a standard fence and a new rip blade. Instead of using sawhorses I simply lay some pieces of 2 x 4 on the sidewalk and ripped my stringers on top of those. It worked great, and the stringers turned out very nice.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    Then there's no need to spend more on a rip blade, just use one of those Diablo thin kerf combos. No sweat, especially since it's cedar, and they're just stringers so uniformity is not really an issue which means that the ripping fence that comes with it, if you still have it, will be sufficient.
    I do must of my ripping now with just such a blade in my 18v Ridgid saw. WAY better.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    is this saw any good for ripping WRC ?

    Skillsaw.jpg
    "Little Bear" 1955 Fontana 18' - 1958 Atomic 4
    1960 Skippy 12C FeatherCraft - 1947 Mercury KD4 Rocket
    " Fela " 1985 Glen L15 - 1977 Johnson 15 hp
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    You could probably rip Kenworth frame rails with that.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2dogsnight View Post
    is this saw any good for ripping WRC ?

    Skillsaw.jpg
    It might struggle. I have a nice, wide plate that I can bolt on the foot of mine, and add a fence to.

    Sometimes it is WAY easier to move the saw than the board.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Ripping without a cord is very nice also if you can get away with the smaller saw IMHO. I typically forget about it and get snagged and leave blade marks.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    yup, I have two worm saws like that...they have become obsolete.the cord, the weight,the noise,lights bogging down when the saw spins up.
    only if one were ripping inch n a half or over would I go find where the worm is hiding
    For ripping softwood, get a new blade and do not let it TOUCH any hard wood. Ironically, softwood needs a sharper blade.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    this thing was pretty expensive 10 years ago
    "Little Bear" 1955 Fontana 18' - 1958 Atomic 4
    1960 Skippy 12C FeatherCraft - 1947 Mercury KD4 Rocket
    " Fela " 1985 Glen L15 - 1977 Johnson 15 hp
    2016 kayak Mill Creek 13

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2dogsnight View Post
    this thing was pretty expensive 10 years ago
    I have the same model.

    I use it all the time.

    Wish I had a mag body sometimes.

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    You could probably rip Kenworth frame rails with that.
    You can absolutely rip Kenworth frame rails with that! Spray a bit of WD40 on the (carbide) blade as you go.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Just found my old saw, much lighter ....
    20201201_104205.jpg
    "Little Bear" 1955 Fontana 18' - 1958 Atomic 4
    1960 Skippy 12C FeatherCraft - 1947 Mercury KD4 Rocket
    " Fela " 1985 Glen L15 - 1977 Johnson 15 hp
    2016 kayak Mill Creek 13

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    My only difficulty ripping the stringers was the the fence is deeper than 3/4", which introduces a complication when cutting 3/4 material--the fence extends below the stock.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Why I recommended adding your own custom fence to the bottom plate. Screwed or clamped, long ahead to line up straight, any appropriate thickness you think’ll work.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    I'm not sure I understand how to do that. Can you refer to a photo maybe?

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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    OK, here's how I approach this task.

    First note the small holes in baseplates of these two saws:

    DW_Holes.jpgPC_Holes.jpg

    Those are drilled so you can later use sheet metal or machine screws to secure your choice of fence add-on.

    Once you've got the geometry correct (won't bind) and the thickness right, use fasteners to secure fence to plate for production.

    You like the idea, you can elongate the holes in your fence piece then use wing nuts on machine screws and a couple of fender washers to make the fence adjustable sideways.

    Here's now I use small clamps to position a bit of stuff I intend to repurpose into a fence as necessary:

    DW_THIN_Fence.jpgPC_Thick_Fence.jpg

    Run your fence piece ahead of the base plate so you have a solid edge to align with your workpiece. 6" is about minimum, 12" be better & ought to be enough.

    If you must position your ripping guide so that the blade guard's held away from it's at-rest position, BE DAMN CAREFUL when the saw's running! And if your saw's got a cord like that Porter Cable SawBoss of mine (going on 40 years old now, doesn't see much use since the DeWalt cordless appeared) mind the cord for the hazards it presents.

    You have questions, feel free to present 'em either here (for general viewing) or by PM.
    Last edited by sp_clark; 12-03-2020 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Added pics, explanation of procedures.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Ripping long stringers with a circular saw?

    Just saw this. (Bad pun.) Agree with all the advice above, especially the simple stuff. No need to make it complicated. I ripped stringers out of douglas fir without an issue using a small black & decker circular saw, no special blade, no special plate or guide. It worked amazingly well. Get a good guide setup and go for it. You're probably all done by now anyway.

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