Build a Cross-Cutting Square for a Circular Saw

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If you don’t own a large European-style table saw or large miter saw and need to cross-cut wide 90-degree lumber, you’ll probably like my newly built Cross-Cutting Square (CCS).

This mask is easy to build and use. You can attach it to your lumber or hold it steady with one hand. The key to its success is to build it square.

Here’s how I built mine.

You will need a thin piece of plywood and two laths (short pieces of wood that have two parallel and straight edges).

  1. Take the plywood and make sure at least two of its ages are square, true, and straight.
  2. Secure the piece of plywood to the edge of a real straight-edged workbench or other reliable table. Use a square to make sure the plywood wing protruding above the bench is at a right angle. Make sure the other wing of the plywood is extended away from the bench to accommodate the batten glue under it. Once everything is aligned, tighten the clamp tightly to prevent the plywood from moving.
  3. Glue a batten flush with the straight edge of the bench (and the plywood) to form a ledge.
  4. After the glue dries, drill the corner of the first batten and the corner of the plywood.
  5. Lay the 2nd batten flush with the edge of the plywood at a right angle and secure it temporarily. Screw it into that corner using the first screw.
  6. Drill a second hole through the corner of the plywood and screw in the top edge of the batten using the second screw. Again, make sure the edge of the batten is flush with the edge of the plywood.

You are now ready to use the jig.

When using CCS make sure that the batten batten (the one under the plywood) is flush with the edge of the lumber. I prefer to lock the mask but you can also hold it by hand.

Here I cross-cut the crooked end of the lumber.

When locking the CCS to the board, make sure the circular saw blade and the cut mark are aligned.

After marking the location of the intended cut, move the jig from the mark at a distance equal to the width between the edge of the saw plate and the blade. Most saws have a divot that indicates the position of the blade on the platter. Indeed, yesYou can actually cut a strip of wood the same width and use it to position the saw before blocking the jig.

I believe this mask is better and safer than using a plastic square. And speaking of safety, make sure the second or right-angled splint is wide enough to protect your thumb when cutting across.

Finally, meet Willow, our new family edition and the perfect shop dog. She is always interested in what I build and agrees with the hustle and bustle of both the shop and the tools.


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