Have you ever brought home that full sheet of plywood and wondered how you were going to cut it straight? Well, I have a very simple to make jig that will solve your problem. Take a look at the video below for more information.
Welcome back! Today, I will be showing you how to make an 8′ cutting guide that will allow you to cut full sheet good materials easily. This guide will cost you roughly $30 to make, but I venture to say it will be one of the most beneficial tools you’ll have in your shop, I know it has been for us. So what do you need to get started? First thing, is you need an at least 8′ long straight edge. I am using a 5/8″ preprimed MDF molding strip at 5 1/2″ wide. I also chose to buy a 10′ length instead of an 8′ length, that way I can make the guiding guide slightly longer than 8′ and I can use the excess to make a short version of the guide at a later date (this also comes in handy). Next you’ll need some form of hardboard. After sourcing different options, I found that using standard white board material was actually the least expensive option, and when you are done making your guide, you can mount the extra on your shop wall as a shop white board. Lastly, you’ll need some wood glue and some 5/8″ finishing nails or brads if you have a nail gun. So lets get started.
Start out by laying out your materials. If you are using a whiteboard, make sure that the whiteboard surface is face up. Next, if you are using a molding strip with rounded corners, make sure they are face down. At this point you want to measure the distance from the saw blade to the outside of your saw. I am using a SkilSaw which measures at 4″. Add an extra inch, and make a reference line in from the edge (5″ in my case) at the top and bottom of the white board. Now you can go ahead and glue to the straight edge. Make sure you stay away from the edges and that you go in a wave like pattern. Now we are going to lift the whiteboard on top of the straight edge, using our reference line to position it. Ahead of time, I marked up a paint stick with reference lines, so I know where the board underneath lines up for nailing. Nail your cutting guide together (put in a few to hold it in position and then fill in). I’ll go ahead and finish putting in the nails, then we’re going to let the guide sit for a little bit while the glue dries.
Now that the glue has had a chance to set up a bit, we flipped the guide over and clamped it down to our table. I’m going to cut off this one side so it matches the SkilSaw. Make sure you press down and in towards the guide so you get a nice clean cut. I’ll cut the other side with the SkilSaw as well, but feel free to use the other side for another tool, such as a router.
So now we have our cutting guide, but let me give you a few tips on how to use it. When you go to mark you material for cutting, mark each end of your material and shift the cutting guide to it “splits” the line, making sure you clamp the guide on the side of the material you wish to keep. When you go to cut, make sure you hold the saw vertical and that you push in towards the guide. This will help to prevent nicking of the guide. This may eventually happen, but at least it is a cheap guide to replace.
I hope this was helpful, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s jig here at DIYProjectBlog.com. Have a great day!
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