Build a Cross-Cutting Square for a Circular Saw

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If you don’t own a big European style table saw or a large miter saw, and need to crosscut wide lumber at 90 degrees you will probably like my newly-built CCS (Cross-Cutting Square).

This jig is easy to build and use. You can clamp it to your lumber or hold it down tightly with one hand. The key to its success is building it square. 

Here is how I built mine.

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

  1. Grab the plywood and make sure that at least two of its ages are right-angled, true, and straight. 
  2. Clamp the plywood piece over the edge of a true and straight-edged workbench or another trustable table. Use a square to make sure that the plywood wing that protrudes over the bench is at a right angle. Make sure that the other wing of the plywood is extended away from the bench to accommodate the gluing of the ledge batten under it. Once everything is aligned perfectly tighten the clamp to prevent the plywood from wandering around.
  3. Glue a batten flush with the straight edge of the bench (and the plywood) to form a ledge.
  4. After the glue has dried drill through the corner of the 1st batten and the corner of the plywood.
  5. Alight the 2nd batten flush with the right-angle plywood edge and clamp it temporarily. Screw it over that corner using the 1st screw. 
  6. Drill a second hole through the corner of the plywood and screw the batten’s top edge to it using the 2nd screw. Again, make sure that the edge of the batten is flush with the plywood edge.

Now you are ready to use the jig. 

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

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

When clamping your CCS to the board verify that your circular saw’s blade and your cutting mark are aligned. 

After marking the location of your intended cut move the jig away from the mark to a distance that equals the width between the edge of the saw’s plate and the blade. Most saws have a divot that indicates the location of the blade on the plate. In fact, you can actually cut a strip of wood that equals that width and use it for positioning the saw before clamping the jig down.

I believe that this jig is better and safer than using a plastic square. And speaking about safety, make sure that the 2nd or right angle batten is wide enough to protect your thumb during the cross-cutting.

Lastly, please meet Willow, the new edition to our family and the perfect shop dog. She is always interested in what I build and is ok with the commotion of both shop and tools.

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