How to Make a Track Saw Guide for a Circular Saw

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About: Discover woodworking, concrete, LEDs, home decor and DIY projects you'll love.

In this Instructable, I will be making a track saw guide. This guide is very stable, and extremely accurate. You too can have the same experience, if done right. Hopefully my instructions are clear and easy-to-follow. Enjoy :)

Check out the video for a more in-depth take.

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Step 1: Getting Started

Tools I used:

- Router

- Tape Measurer

- Drill

- Combination Square

- Circular Saw

First, line the saw up on the plywood. Then, mark a line along the base of the saw, on the end that's the farthest from the blade. Measure the line from the edge of the plywood to the mark that was just made. Carry that same measurement the entire distance of the plywood.

Take a straight object to make a straight line. In my case, I used an aluminum tubing.

Now, trace the line from the end (I am still referring to the very first line from the edge of the saw base.)

Next, move your straight object (i.e. aluminum tubing). Now measure from the router bit to the end of the router base. That's the distance you want to set your straight object from (the line that I drew out first).

Since I'm working with 8-feet section, I placed a piece of wood in the center of the tubing to resist flexing.

Step 2: Routing the First Track

Set the router bit to take approximately a 1/8-inch at each pass. Do this several time to achieve the depth of the bar you are using for the track.

Step 3: Marking the Second Track

Find a location on your saw for the placement of the second track. Then, transfer that to the plywood.

Step 4: Routing the Second Track

Just like the first track, use your straight object to help guide the router to make the second router cut.

Now, the two bars should move freely in the track. If there is any tension, use sandpaper to lightly sand the track out.

Also, add some wax to help with the friction.

Step 5: Adding the Bars to the Circular Saw

The bars I am using was salvaged from an audio-video rack. You can go to your local hardware store to find bars to attach to your circular saw. I suggest bars with the minimum of 1/8-inch thickness.

Drill and tap the hole all the way though both the saw base and bar. Then, counter sink the hole for the screw head.

Now, add the second track. It is very important to maintain the same gap between the tracks. If you fail to do so, you will have tension with the slide of the saw.

Then, cut off the track at the end of the saw base.

Step 6: Cut Off the Track

Now, cut the track from the plywood.

I also attached a piece of wood to the end of the saw track. This should help with lining up the track onto the work surface. This piece was glued and screwed in place. Then, cut off the overhang .

Step 7: Extra

At this point, the track is done.

However, I wanted to experiment. I used aluminum tape. This only made it look cool. I can't say it made a huge difference on functionality.

Step 8: Making the First Cut.

Clamp the track down and make the first pass through.

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    29 Discussions

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    mosmond

    2 years ago

    Nice work. Attaching runners to the underside of the saw is a clever idea. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    andre_costa74

    2 years ago

    OMG! Thanks so much for this instructables. I'm looking for a track like this one.

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    Pa1963

    2 years ago

    If you glue something like milk bottle plastic on the saw base it might glide a bit more smoothly. Also I'd probably build a shorter version (about 5' long) for cross cutting sheets just to break them down, since I have a table saw. Also I believe a product like a rubbery shelf or toolbox drawer line glued to the bottom of the plywood would allow it to grip the material you're cutting. You could also use some adhesive backed sandpaper in a medium grit. Or pound some nails through the top of your wooden guide and cut them off so that they protrude just a bit and they will give your guide some bite. Great 'ible!

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    HariKarier11 Pa1963

    Reply 2 years ago

    Even with the nails cut off you risk damaging your work surface.

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    MadeInBerkeley

    2 years ago

    I have made several versions of this for many projects. You were on the right track with the aluminum tape. There is a product called glide kote. It's a modified silicone spray. It dries super fast and is cleaner than a silicon spray. I'm not selling it or anything but I do use it all day long in the shop. If you spray both the footplate and the fence the saw feels like it's on wheels. Crc silicone spray us the closet thing I have found in a regular hardware store. Nice build and have fun with your new toy.

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    diycreatorsMadeInBerkeley

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks never heard of this glide kote definitely going to look into it.

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    jbh123diycreators

    Reply 2 years ago

    FWIW, it appears to be "Glidecote" (one word, with a c instead of a k). Not sure if it will let me add a link, but if so, try this: https://www.amazon.com/Glidecote-V207501-Woodworki...

    Also, nicely done Instructable. Thanks for posting.

    P.S. When I first saw the thumbnail for this, I thought you had made it out of clear plastic like Lexan or some such. The metal tape looked like reflections off a clear surface! :-)

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    Cheese Queen

    2 years ago

    *smacks self in the middle of forehead*

    Awesome. Exactly what I've been needing forever.

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    pauliegirl123

    2 years ago

    AWESOMENESS!!! I am left handed and have a TERRIBLE time getting things straight. I have tried making a jig, of sorts...but I am just ALWAYS having a hard time!! That being said......Would you make me one?? HaHa!! I will eventually figure it out!! GREAT VIDEO!!

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    Pa1963

    2 years ago

    Liked your video, too, BTW. Well shot, concise and no annoying music.

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    rfielder

    2 years ago

    P.S. - what was the thickness of the plywood you used? It looks like 3/4".....

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    rfielder

    2 years ago

    Very nice! This is something I need.

    As to applying something to make it slippery - why not a little paraffin wax (or somesuchlike) to the base of the saw and the runners? They never touch the wood being cut, so there won't be any unwanted transfer of wax to your project.

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    Pricklysauce

    2 years ago

    Really good, recently made a more basic version though will upgrade to something similar I think.

    Instead of clamping down have you though to put something on the base of the track, like foam strip or maybe even abrasive paper pads, so it stays in place without clamping. Think the Festol ones have something like this.

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    diycreatorsPricklysauce

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks, yep im looking for a non skip material to add to the bottom. I was just tallking this option.

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    yellowcattdiycreators

    Reply 2 years ago

    Maybe some foam door seal strips, you would need to rout a couple of channels to put the strips in otherwise they would be slightly too thick. I used this method to make a long cutting edge from an off cut of 8mm perspex I salvaged from the scrap bin of a local sign-maker.

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    impaco3

    2 years ago

    Beautifully done. I needed something like this for a project of mine. One question though, does the bars that are screwed to the underside of the saw get caught up or get in the way when making other cuts where you don't need the guide?

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    drofnasnhojimpaco3

    Reply 2 years ago

    Since they are tapped, you can simply unscrew the guides and take them off when not in use with the track guide. Or you can go down to your local "we got cheap tools" store (Harbor Freight in my area) and buy one that is only used with the track.

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    razorblade73

    2 years ago

    Great job, I better get cracking!! What an awesome Instructable!! Thank you.