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I lowered the base plate of the circular saw until the blade didn't stick through. I used heavy duty double sided tape to adhere a 3/16 inch scrap birch ply piece. I then turned on the saw and lowered it through the birch ply creating the zero clearance.
As you can see in the last picture I needed to cut apart some large sheets in my garage. Normally my circular saw will leave all kinds of tear out behind in its wake with plywood. This time it didn't. I should have done this a long time ago.

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should help reduce tear out.. but be careful, blade guard will not work. Have you tried a plywood blade? Or, using masking tape (blue painter tape) along the cut line to reduce tear out? Both of those options have worked for me to reduce tear out…
 

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I upgraded my circ blade to a Freud, but there is still some amount of fuzz and tearout. I like your idea alot. Especially since it is straight forward and easy to make. I was wondering how you affixed the ZC baseplate. Double sided carpet tape is another good idea. It is also a bear to remove. I stuck 2 pieces of 1/2 inch plywood together and almost broke one piece in half when I separated them.
 

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really interesting idea; as dustyal mentioned, have you tried any plywood blades for your circular saw? I have a 60 toothed blade on mine and have very little tear out.
 

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I have used several diferent kind of saw blades with minimum 48 teeth
and white painter tape on everykinds of sheedgoods with absolut min of tearout
when you saw the blade must only go a few mm thrugh both sheedgoods and regular wood
but your idea have something ,but you deffently need to have a splitknife as minimum to
avoid kickback and be very carefull when you can´t use the bladeguard
you have to develop your idea so the cleance is very easy to take of or
ells it is a too dangerus tool to have around

just my 2cent
take care
Dennis
 

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The blade you're using looks dangerous all by itself. Allow me to echo the advice of others, get a plywood blade and make it a good carbide one. You'll never need another blade for sheet goods.

Your idea for ZC is a good one.
Thanks for sharing it.

Don
 

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I must agree with Don. That looks like a rough framing blade. A good plywood blade and tape are the way to go for the best looking edges. I usually take a measurement first, lay down the tape so that I can draw a line in the middle of it, then cut. Helps save on tear out on both pieces.
 

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It's a great idea.
Can you load the photo for cut section of plywood(top portion)?
I know it's definitely smooth but just want to see how good it is.
Thanks.
 

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Concur with the above, right tool for the job, right technique for the task! I also score my cutline with a sharp utillity knife when cutting $$ Veneer ply.
 

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Schweeeet! Kind of a "duh" but then again I've never made one so, BRAVO for getting it done. Ditto on replacing the blade. I've had great luck with the newer Freud blades.

always,
J.C.
 

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For 1 or 2 cuts in plywood, I have used blue painter tape on the shoe of the circular saw much the same as you have used the plywood. It's reduced tear out each time I've done it. A very temporary solution tho and the blade guard issue remains.
 

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Hey guys, I appreciate the concern. I hadn't really considered kickback with this particular circular saw. Not much for power at all. It came with a 5 tool Ridgid set and is battery powered.

I also hadn't considered getting a different blade. I suppose I would have but I don't really see it reducing tear out that much. I have a Freud fusion blade on my table saw and if I don't have the zero clearance plate on it still tears out. So how much of a difference could a Freud blade make in this instance?

As for the tape. Every instance before this I've used blue painters tape for circular saw cuts on sheets. It's never worked that well. At least not well enough to really please me and not nearly as well as this did.

I cut through these sheets of plywood in 1/8 inch increments. Cuts were very very clean and worked like a charm.

Has anyone had a circular saw kick back on them? If so what were you cutting, how were you cutting and how did the saw react?

Thanks everyone.
 

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I have had a circ saw kick back on 3/4" oak ply. No damage except to peace of mind… be careful as all are saying stand to the side when you cut if at all possible.
 

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I'm still not terribly sure what danger this presents. I surely wouldn't cut "free hand" this way and that's the only way I could see a danger. I always use a securely fixed straight edge for the saw to follow while breaking down sheets and the sheets are secure in place before, during and after the cut.
Do any of you use your blade guard on your tablesaw? I use a splitter on my tablesaw but that's because the wood is moving. While breaking down sheets the wood is not moving.
Has anyone had a circular saw kick back on them? If so what were you cutting, how were you cutting and how did the saw react?
I am interested in any evidence and/or experience.
Maybe I would really understand what all of you are so concerned about if I had a powerful circular saw. As I said, this one is pretty timid(battery powered). But it gets the job done for me the few times I actually need a circular saw. So I haven't bothered upgrading.

Thanks Jack. Were you using a secure straight edge or cutting free hand? What exactly did the saw do when it kicked back? Did it want to climb back at you?
 

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I think I'll go get a new blade for it today. I didn't realize they were so cheap.

Also, I can easily cut out a slot for the blade guard to slide back down through the zero clearance plate. I think I'll do that when I get a chance and update the pictures on here. If this really is a very dangerous thing to do I wouldn't want someone to get injured for doing this as well.
 

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Rick I think your line of thought is right on. A battery powered saw is much more likely to just stop if it binds and it's only going to bind, and potentially kick back, if you are not cutting a straight line. With a good fence the odds of a bind are about as low as you're going to get. I've got a worm driver skill saw I use for construction projects and it has more than enough power to kick back if you are not very careful but even then as long as you take basic safety rules into account you wont have any problems. The only time I've has a circular saw try to kick back is when I was free-handing a cut without even a line to follow, just whacking something. The blade guard has not effect on kick back that I know of.

So bottom line is don't fret over it too much just wear your safety glasses and keep your fingers and toes out of the way : )

You might also build one of these.
http://garages.about.com/od/toolsmaterials/a/circular_saw_guide_long.htm
you might need to modify your zero clearance plate but at that point you would nearly have a Festool track saw, no more measuring for the allowance of the saw plate, just lay it on the line and go.
 

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Thanks Dayton.
Yep, that's what mine does, it just stops rather than kicking back if I'm free handing a cut and I only do that on short boards. The corded ones must have much much more power.
 

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"We work with routers with bits hanging out (and no brakes), recip saws with exposed blades, etc… A mindful operator can be very safe without the guard."
Well put Barry.
 

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Nice work Rick. Great idea, with even better results.
 

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I know it's a little late but I found this (
) and thought it may help to improve sheet cutting. I have a couple of circ. saw's and am contemplating trying this design. Hope it helps. TheStudent
 
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