Cabinets with just a circular saw jig

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Forum topic by jacobem3 posted 05-10-2016 03:46 PM 2947 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2018 days

05-10-2016 03:46 PM

Could a person build decent frameless cabinets with just a good circular saw and a long jig like this?

Laundry room quality vs. kitchen quality?

15 replies so far

View DalyArcher's profile


132 posts in 1684 days

#1 posted 05-10-2016 06:19 PM

I’m certain you could build serviceable, frameless cabinets with a good circular saw and a quality blade. There are some tricks and jigs to prevent tearout on the sheet goods. In the past I have cut the stock 1/4” larger and then set up a straight edge and run a flush trim bit across it to remove the rough or chipped edge.

View jacobem3's profile


30 posts in 2018 days

#2 posted 05-10-2016 06:24 PM

Will a 1/4” shank router work or do you need a full 1/2” router to do that?


View pintodeluxe's profile


6017 posts in 3378 days

#3 posted 05-10-2016 06:35 PM

I built cabinets before my shop was adequately equipped. However, I would have a tablesaw at minimum before I set out to build cabinets. Sure, you can rip sheet goods with a circular saw and edge guide, but it is pretty difficult to rip narrow face frame parts that way.

Big, flat tablesaws with T-square style rip fences help to keep panels square. That is very important for building cabinets. Get a good dado set, and a general purpose blade and you can get a lot accomplished.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3424 days

#4 posted 05-10-2016 06:46 PM


OP asked if he could make FRAMELESS cabinets with the equipment listed. So, no face frame required…


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View hotbyte's profile


1000 posts in 3540 days

#5 posted 05-10-2016 06:50 PM

If you could find plywood with decent straight edges, you could layout where all of the cuts are toward back of cabinets and “factory” edges are toward front.

View nkawtg's profile


292 posts in 1816 days

#6 posted 05-10-2016 06:59 PM

People build cabinets all the time using a Festool track saw, so using a circular saw with a decent edge guide should be doable.

View ChrisK's profile


2042 posts in 3646 days

#7 posted 05-10-2016 07:15 PM

I used an edge guide to break down 30 some sheets of 1/2 and 3/4 for my kitchen cabinets. The cabinets have face frames but there are visible edges that were cut by the circular saw. Pieces that I could cut on my table saw I did for speed. Careful measurements, sharp pencil or scribe, use the same tape measure for all the measuring. And watch out that you use the same side of straight each time.

-- Chris K

View DalyArcher's profile


132 posts in 1684 days

#8 posted 05-10-2016 09:33 PM

I used a 1/4” router for years before upgrading to my 1/2”. While a 1/2” bit is miles away superior, I would have never known before. Work with what ya got.

View teejk02's profile


504 posts in 1690 days

#9 posted 05-10-2016 10:21 PM

dunno why not…just remember the rule of saws (finished side where the teeth come out…circular saw good side down, table saw good side up).

View Woodknack's profile


12945 posts in 2944 days

#10 posted 05-11-2016 01:47 AM

Track saw.

Years ago I built tables with tapered legs with only a circular saw and power drill. I’ve also built small cabinets with nothing but the same. The saw won’t limit you but buy a quality blade.

-- Rick M,

View clin's profile


1072 posts in 1560 days

#11 posted 05-11-2016 03:22 AM

With a straight edge and a good blade, no reason you can’t make great cuts. And these cuts will be much better than factory edges. I have used the Freud plywood blade and, with a new blade, get splinter-free cuts on both sides on some of the thinnest veneer and most brittle pre-finished ply, using my circular saw.

I prefer laying sheet stock on sheets of construction foam rather than using saw horses or similar. Plywood stays flat, no worries about something falling off a saw horse as you cut through. Also, easy for me to just slide sheets out the back of my truck onto the foam in my driveway.

I did make some garage cabinets 20 years ago with a circular saw mostly.

I think the biggest issue is making square cuts. DO NOT assume factory edges are square

For joining I guess you could cut dados with a router or as I recently did for some shop cabinets, used pocket screws.

-- Clin

View teejk02's profile


504 posts in 1690 days

#12 posted 05-11-2016 12:58 PM

I think the biggest issue is making square cuts. DO NOT assume factory edges are square

- clin

I’ll add the caution of checking the edges for staples (if you don’t you can bet that’s where your tape measure will go)and make a minimum of 3 marks.

View MrRon's profile


5784 posts in 3808 days

#13 posted 05-11-2016 04:13 PM

Absolutely no reason why not. Using a hand held circular saw to produce great results takes more care and skill, but is doable. People with expensive cabinet saws can turn out terrible work, so the opposite can be true.

View jacobem3's profile


30 posts in 2018 days

#14 posted 05-11-2016 04:17 PM

Thanks for all the feedback and encouragement!

I plan to make a shoe storage cabinet/bench to start with to get a feel for it, using euro hinges, etc… I have a copy of Paolini’s Kitchen Cabinets Made Simple on the way and I’ve been making some small planter boxes (and a bedframe) with my new Kreg R3 pocket hole jig.

View xeddog's profile


264 posts in 3572 days

#15 posted 05-11-2016 04:33 PM

I cut down sheet goods with a jig exactly like the one you show, and my jig has served me well for years now. As long as the wood you use for the guide rail on the jig is straight, you will get straight cuts. And as long as you take care of the blade edge, your cuts could be clean, but only for the edge covered by the jig. The other side of the kerf can be a little ragged.

If I am cutting down to APPROXIMATE size, i just clamp that jig down to the sheet and go for it. But if I am cutting down to EXACT size, then I make two cuts. The first cut is with the blade set for about 1/16” depth of cut. This very shallow cut will yield a nice clean edge on the upper face and on both sides of the kerf. Then I lower the blade for a through cut which leaves the bottom edges clean.


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