Question about building saw guide

To make the saw guide to cut panels, I had originally planned to use 1xsomething for the guide for the edge of saw (with the pressed hardboard/masonite) flat to the panels with the edge at the cutting line.
Is one-inch stock necessary, or can I use another piece of the 1/4" hardboard? (1/4" hardboard on 1/4" hardboard for a 1/2" thick, in theory, for the edge of the saw guide to travel along)
My apologies if that is worded badly, but am hoping you folks know what I mean.
The question comes up because, while my old Craftsman circular saw body would easily clear the one-inch, the new one doesn't have as much clearance between the body and the guide. I'm definitely glad I checked it *before* I built the guide; building it once works much better than re-building.
Glenna
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snip

I usually make them with 1/2" material on the top and 1/4" on the bottom.
Are you cutting with the blade at full depth? If so you can raise the blade, this is pretty well necessary if you are using supports under the sheet you are cutting.
There are plans here that have notches in the end to allow room to clear the clamps: http://benchnotes.com/Skillsaw%20Guide/skillsaw_cutting_guide_boa.htm
Check out the sheet rack as well to support the sheet when you are cutting it.
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Glenna Rose wrote:

That was worded badly. :)
I think you're trying to say that:
You're trying to come up with some kind of saw guide rig for cutting, eg., sheets of plywood with a circular saw. You were originally going to make this guide out of 1x stock, but now you're trying to see if you can get by with 1/4" stock. You have 1/2" in there somewhere I don't quite get.

This is where I'm really drawing a blank. Saw body clear the 1"? Less clearance between the body and the guide on the new saw? These remarks don't make a lot of sense relative what I *think* you're doing, so I think we're on different wavelenths.
Maybe somebody else will get it immediately.
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I
I *think* she was saying that her new saw doesn't have much clearance under the motor overhang Mike. Thus if she is trying to cut full depth, the motor would drag on the guide piece.
I have 2 guides, both 8'. One for older Craftsman RH blade, made of 1/4" masonite base & 1x4 guide piece. The other is for my PC LH blade, both base and guide are 1/2" plywood.
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snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca writes:

Okay, that was what I was going to do but with a 1x6 on top of the 1/4", then, after looking at the saw closely, it looked like that would be too thick. I'll just use 1/2" instead; I think the body/motor of the saw will clear that. I picked up some 1/2" Russian birch plywood yesterday, do you think that will work for the top piece (if I use the factory edge next to the saw)?
I still cannot believe I didn't think of making this type of guide many years ago. I'm usually more alert than that to ways to save energy and time while maintaining accuracy. But then, that is why I'm a novice. :-)

No, I usually have the blade go 1/8" to 1/4" below the wood, never more than 1/2". That comes from those years of cutting on the living/dining room floor, can't risk it going deeper with only 4x4 supports. That and the fact that cleaner cuts result by not having the extra blade "hanging" down there, or so was my perception.

That is a great page. Thank you. It really makes it very clear.
BTW, I spent some time at your pages. Those are great. I've printed them to pdf files so I can read them off-line. There are a lot of answers to things I was uncertain about and will be a lot more when there is time to really read over them.
Thank you for sharing so much great information!!!
Glenna
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glenna asks:

Been there, done that. You can use the 1/4", but I like 1/2". The primary reason for the thicker material is to reduce flex in the guide when you move it around, and to reduce sideways flex when you push the saw against the edge. The latter is seldom a real problem, since the guide is...well, a guide, not a bridge abutment. Some people prefer to use aluminum for the guide strip, by the way. And if I can find a sane local source of 1/4" aluminum, I may do that for my next one. By sane, I mean reasonable in price and 9' long.
Charlie Self "A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground." H. L. Mencken
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snipped-for-privacy@madbbs.com writes:

That's exactly what I meant. Thank you. Fortunately, mendoc (Frank?) knew what I meant and guided me to a page that was very precise regarding construction. (And congrats on using a Mac!)

Just out of curiosity, why did you make one out of both plywood pieces? Since I've not made mine yet, it might make a difference in what I do. I understood the hardboard/masonite was for the extra durability of it, that it would stay true better for the saw blade to follow. Could it be so simple as to be a contrast to the wood for the visible reference of ensuring the blade is not "wandering?"
snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme writes:

So, if I'm understanding correctly, the 1/4" hardboard/masonite on the bottom with the 1/2" Russian birch as the top piece should work well, correct?

Where would one find a strip of aluminum for this purpose? That would be my preference as it would take up less room and certainly it wouldn't get sawn accidently (by others or by me) as well as not being subject to moisture. (Of course, moisture isn't an issue 100 miles inland from the ocean!)
Glenna
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Glenna Rose wrote:

Glenna...
I'd like to offer another perspective. The distance from the left edge of the saw's sole plate will vary slightly from blade to blade (even on the same saw), so I use a straightedge guide the saw; and I use an offset "block" - cut with the same blade I'm using on the saw - to offset the guide from the cut line.
You can see this method in use about mid-page at <http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/outfeed.html . The advantage to this approach has been that I can switch blades whenever it's convenient without worrying about variation in blades. It's been a lot less hassle.
After using this approach for a number of years I finally broke down and bought an aluminum straightedge with clamps that can be adjusted along a track on the underside - which means that there's nothing to obstruct the saw motor on the topside. I've been really pleased with this setup.
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