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How to Make a Perfect Cross Cut: Pro Tip Video

One of the things we love about apprenticeship is the idea that seasoned veterans pass on knowledge to the new guys. And let’s face it – we’re constantly learning new things! In this video, we look at how to make a perfect cross cut. So set up your sawhorses and grab a scrap piece of 2 x 6 to practice on along with the following tools:

Grab These Tools Before You Start


How to Make a Perfect Cross Cut

Step 1: Measure

Use your tape measure to mark where you need to cut the board. Put a mark on both sides of the tape to give you a more accurate indication.

Step 2: On Your Mark

Pull your rafter square against the back of the board to ensure your line is square with the length of the board and not the width. Line up the edge of your square with the marks you made in the last step and create a full line.

Step 3: Get Set

Use the cut line indicator on the front of your circular saw to line up the blade with your line. Then pull your rafter square against the back of the board and slide it over to the foot plate to use as a guide for your circular saw.

Step 4: Go!

Pull the trigger and make your cut securing the rafter square in one hand and operating the saw with the other.

Why it Works

You can use a fence for your circular saw, but you’ll be cutting parallel to the width. If it’s not perfectly square to start with, your cross cut won’t be either. Normally, you’d square it off on a miter saw, but the rafter square method give you the same accuracy if you don’t have one handy.


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David SMike Schuler Recent comment authors
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David S
David S

I saw that method being used when Pro Tools Review did their comparison of the Milwaukee and Dewalt circular saws so I wanted to try it with my circular saw. I grabbed a leftover piece of 2 x 6 and made a random line to cut but found out it didn’t work with either of my circular saws. They both have stamped steel bases that curve up on the sides so all they did was ramp up onto the framing square. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to make a crooked cut. I guess it’s time for a new… Read more »

Mike Schuler

Thanks. Good basic tip. But for those who have made the move up to track saws, here’s another way: TSO Products has introduced a fantastic pair of bullet-proof 90 degree guides for your track: the TSO GRS-16 and GRS-16 PE guide rail squares. While these precision squares are seeing lots of use on Festool MFS tables to produce longeer crosscuts with dead-on accuracy, I myself have taken to attaching one to my shortest guide rail and using it for crosscuts as short as the one Kenny makes in the video. Overkill? Maybe. But, as they say, if you’ve got ’em,… Read more »