I've been building a few cabinets for our new house, and I've got a lot
more to build. I've got my tablesaw set up nicely now for ripping plywood
sheets to width, but I still haven't found a method of crosscutting panels
that I'm real happy with.
My miter saw is my ideal way to crosscut boards, but it has a maximum cut
of about 6". If the board is not bowed any, I can flip the board over and
get out to about 12" or so, but that's not super accurate.
Crosscutting a panel or long board on the tablesaw is awkward, and doesn't
feel very safe. I built a simple crosscut sled for the tablesaw, which
helps when cutting small panels, but I still wouldn't want to try cutting
12" off of an 8 foot long board.
So far, the method that feels safest and most accurate is to use a simple
"Saw Board" guide for my circular saw. I measure out where I want to cut,
line up the board, clamp it in place, and cut. Of course, this takes some
time to set up, the saw board can shift if it isn't clamped tightly, and
sometimes the saw wanders or tilts slightly as I'm cutting.
So, I'm curious how most of you handle crosscutting panels and wide boards?
Are the "precision" circular saw guides any better than my simple saw
To cut 4X8, I simply use my table saw, and it can be quite accurate, I use
simple roller stand to help with the weight of the board, and at the outfeed
I've setup my mobile workbench, 1/4" below the tablesaw to "catch" the
Hope this helps.
To cut panel up to 24" wide I have a home made sliding table.
A rather common problem. Cutting 12" off an 8' long board on the TS can be
sticky. If the board is light and narrow and can be well supported, it works
okay. However, for a heavier board and a 12" cut, the torque makes it
difficult to hold a really good cut. A large sliding table can do it, and a
large crosscut sled approaches this.
For this or general sheet goods, an accurate panel saw is probably the easiest
way. An alternative is to use a straight edge to guide a hand held circular
saw. For more precision, some do this oversized, then finish up on the TS.
For circular saw guides, IMO the shop-built one with the hardboard base the
saw rides on is the easiest to use, as you set it up right on your cut line.
In all cases, however, it's the quality and care taken with the setup that
counts. Perhaps take a good look at why your saw is wandering or tilting (yes,
I've done it too).
And, of course, there's one more way. Since 12" wide panels are so commonly
needed, I just cut them with the RAS.
In the absense of a panel saw, go ahead and use your cicular saw as you
described, but cut it a touch long. Then use you tablesaw to re-cut it to
the correct measurement. A simple, shop built sliding cross-cut table will
So, clamp it tightly. Also make sure you have the panel on a few
boards for good support to avoid bowing in the middle. Any such job
is "awkward". So is shingling a roof, but you do it by thinking it
out, and taking due precautions for safety.
There's always the professional model used in lumber yards. It's
stands vertically. I saw something in either woodsmith or fine
woodworking, not sure which, to build your own.
I use sleds, counterweight, and outboard support.
Here's a photo of one such setup:
Clamping the work to the sled makes it all safe and precise.
This sled can handle a 21" wide board x as long as you want. I have
bigger and smaller versions.
I use a very well fitted cross cut sled that fits in both miter slots
on the table saw. I rough cut the wood to managable lengths of 4 feet
or less with a circular saw first and cut to the line on both ends
with the table saw. You might like a radial arm saw though if your
not fond of cross cut sleds, my buddy does that with success-Frank
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