How to Use Circular Saw Rip Fence to Make a Straight Cut?

A rip fence is a necessary component of any safe circular saw setup. It is usually given with the saw box your purchase initially. This tool helps in cutting wood evenly, accurately, and with safety in mind. The fence is a metal bar that runs parallel to the saw blade and has no other use. It looks like a T-shaped rod. The saw operator may adjust the fence in accordance with the breadth of the cut. Many woodworkers use this tool to make cuts. However, newbie woodworkers may not fully comprehend the significance of the circular saw rip fence, which enables you to make clean rip cuts on your circular saw. That’s why this article is written so that you understand the usages of rip fences and know how to use circular saw rip fence properly.

How to Use Circular Saw Rip Fence to Make a straight cut?

This section will thoroughly discuss how you can use a circular saw rip fence step by step. After reading this part of the writing, you will be fully able to operate this amazing tool and have a better experience with your circular saw. So, let’s get started with the process.

Step 01: make sure that your saw is good to go

Before you start exploring different aspects of the rip fence, make sure that the circular saw is well set up. The saw must be fully operational to work with this new tool you are just beginning to work with. Ensure that all the parts of the saw are in their places perfectly. Also, you can keep the manual that came with the saw box for a better understanding of the process.

Now comes the safety part. Firstly, unplug your saw from any sort of power source. It is needed to set up the rip fence safely. If you are using direct electricity, unplug the power cord. Or if you are using a battery-powered saw, then discharge the battery from the saw to get the work done. Otherwise, you might be exposed to some dangers. Moreover, make sure that the wire is long enough to cover the distance between the power source and the power source. Otherwise, take the workpiece closer to avoid any interference during the work.

Step 02: properly set up and align the fence with the saw

This first step is to insert the rip fence into the little slot of your circular saw. The manual with the saw will help you find the slot made for the rip fence. Then you need to adjust the rip fence according to the depth you want to cut in your workpiece. Measure the depth to where you want to cut your workpiece and now you have to inset the long-end of your rip fence to the slot of your saw. Once you insert the fence at the right distance, use the nut of the other end to tighten it up. Make sure you have the manual with you so that you don’t do anything based on the assumption if any confusion comes up. Also, you can use scrap wood pieces to make a DIY rip fence.

Step 03: Do a test run before the actual cut

Before you start actually cutting the workpiece, it’s always better to do a test run and adjust the fence if needed. It is also needed for the newbies to avoid any blunders or dangers while working on the original workpiece. Firstly, Make sure the entire pencil you used to create the cut line is sufficiently sharp. Afterward, line up the edge of the saw blade with the cut line you just drew with a pencil. Lock the rip fence in place by tightening the nut.

Now it’s time to make the first cut as a test run. Make a short cut in the workpiece to ensure that the blade is aligned with the cut line. If the cut line and the cut do not align, loosen up the nut and adjust the fence very slowly and carefully. Make another cut and see if it aligns properly.

Step 04: Make a straight cut with the guidance of the fence

Now that you have set up and aligned the fence perfectly, it’s time to make a cut on the original workpiece. Firstly, you have to hold the saw properly in order to have a smooth cut during the whole time. Set the saw’s blade at the right edge with the help of your fence. Press the trigger and let go of the trigger at the same time to shoot. Keep the fence firmly pressed against the edge of the workpiece as you go forward to ensure that you remain on the cut line and that the rip is precise and consistent. Let the fence guide you throughout the cut to stay on the right track.

If the workpiece is too long, Turn off the saw and move it to where you were last on track. Then, cut some more. In case you need any modification in the length or cut type, first, you need to turn the saw off. Then, you can change the length or type of cut.


A Circular saw is a handy tool, but it can be pretty dangerous too if you are not cautious enough while using it. Here are some cautions you might need to follow in using a rip fence with your circular saw to avoid dangers.

  1. Wear the safety PPE like a pair of goggles orsafety glasses, or a face shield, a dust mask, gloves, and earplugs. These won’t protect you from a rotating blade, but they will shield you from splinters and keep your eyes safe from dust so that you don’t make any mistakes during the cut.
  2. Clothing that is too loose or has long sleeves could get caught on the blade of the saw. So, wear short, well-fit clothing to avoid disturbance and dangers.
  3. If your saw kicks back or does not go straight, stop it immediately and figure out what went wrong. See whether the fence nut was loosened up somehow. If so, you can tighten it and start again. Otherwise, look if all parts are in the right place or not. It is dangerous to use a flawed saw.
  4. Hands that slip or are too near to the blade while cutting might cause injuries. Keep hands away from the blade and stay careful while cutting to avoid such dangers.

Bottom Line

Although the rip fences are given with every new circular saw, most people fail to utilize them properly. The main problem is that they don’t know the proper way of using this amazing tool. I hope this article clarified all of your confusion and provided you with the best guideline to use a rip fence. One last thing to remind you, never forget to take all the precautions while working with a circular saw.