Objectivity is the stock-in-trade of any good tool review but I’ll confess right away that I dig Kreg products. The company makes novel joining, clamping, and cutting tools that actually motivate me to tackle cool projects. Their tools allow me to achieve a level of precision that I couldn’t have otherwise. When a tool provides the impetus to work and makes you better – you might just have a winner. That’s what I’ve found with other Kreg tools. I’m hoping the elegantly simple Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide does the same.
The tool’s name probably gives the game away, but the Rip-Cut is a universal circular saw attachment designed to create straight, accurate, and repeatable cuts up to 24 inches wide. For all the time you spent clamping a straightedge or wrestling a sheet of plywood on your table saw, the Rip-Cut says, “Hey man, chill out, I’ll handle this. Just clamp me to your saw, set the width, and cut away.” Can the Rip-Cut live up to the personified words and soothing voice I just attributed to it? The only way to find out is to rip one.
Three major pieces make up the Rip-Cut: an Edge Guide with its generous handle slot, a Rail with measurement markings, and a Sled to which the saw attaches. The Edge Guide and Rail are reversible for right- and left-handed operation. The Sled slides along the rail and clamps securely to make the cut. It’s essentially a rip fence, but with much greater capacity and function than one that a manufacturer might provide with their saw.
A filler strip on the Sled accommodates saws with flat or angled leading edges by popping out with a screwdriver and flipping over. Base plate clamps secure the saw to the sled. And bonus points to Kreg for product crossover foresight: the Sled is also the saw’s foundation for Kreg’s Accu-Cut. That’s the presumably awesome (but stay tuned for the review) turn-any-saw-into-a-track-saw Rip-Cut counterpart. Slide the Sled with saw off the Rip-Cut’s rail and set it on the Accu-Cut for straight cuts at any angle up to 48 inches. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
No, you don’t have to put a quarter in the swear jar. The Cursor is a clear, plastic piece with a red strip that orients the Rail’s measurement markings to the blade’s cutline. It’s a small but important part of the tool’s precision.
Indexing At Your Fingertips
The last piece of the Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide puzzle is the Indexing Stop. Like the Cursor, it’s a small, plastic piece that performs a much bigger function: marking the saw’s place on the Sled so the saw can be removed from the Sled and replaced without re-indexing. It’s as simple as that, but it’s an example of Kreg’s typical attention to detail that makes using the tools enjoyable by removing tedium.
Some Assembly Required
My wife and I recently bought a wonderful house that only needed a little attention. A hallway and some bedrooms had some pretty hideous parquet flooring that was well past its useful life. Instead of removing it, we had padding and carpet put down on top of it, saving a great deal of demo work. But as the carpet Pros and I realized on installation day, some of the work I avoided by keeping the parquet underneath was returned to me in the form of doors that had to be ripped down.
And instantly I remembered the Rip-Cut, still in its package, which I hadn’t used yet only because of the chaos of selling one house and moving to another. But as the figurative dust of life settled it was time to make some actual dust. It was the perfect project. In no time I was ripping open the package to get to work.
When I say some assembly required, I mean that you’ll spend about 45 seconds putting it all together. Ok, maybe about 5 minutes if you really read the instructions carefully but that’s still pretty good. The Edge Guide and Rail screw together with two screws. Orient the Sled’s filler strip for angled or flat saw edges, install the Cursor, remove the Indexing Stop, swivel the base clamps and tighten the screws against the saw’s shoe, replace the Indexing Stop, and slide the Sled onto the Rail.
Now that the Cursor is on the Sled which is on the Rail, it’s time to make sure the cutline is aligned with the measurement markings. To do this, lift the blade guard and slide the sled so that the blade touches the Edge Guide. It’s at this point that the red Cursor line should cover the line on the Rail to the left of the “Not Recommended See Manual” text. Now you don’t need a tape measure to determine a cut’s width – the measure is contained in the Rip-Cut!
Easy to Handle
At first, it felt a little awkward to have this contraption attached to my circular saw. I was concerned about setting it down and having the pressure against the rail. You’d need a World’s Strongest Man competitor to bend the rail itself, but more specifically I didn’t want the screwed connection between the Edge Guide and Rail to experience undue stress. In no way is this a flimsy connection – I guess it’s just a “be careful with my new toy” feeling. But I still suggest being careful with how you set it down and where damage could occur.
Otherwise, with one hand on the saw and the other through the Edge Guide’s large handle, you have full control over the combined tools. Set the Rail on the workpiece, push the Edge Guide against the edge of the material, and move the Sled/saw along the rail to the desired width as measured by the Cursor. Lock the Sled in place with the gray clamp and you’re ready for the straightest cut of your life!
In this way, you can make perfectly similar cuts which would be particularly helpful with projects like shelving. Even with one-off cuts, you can be sure you won’t have any hiccups in the cutline as long as you hold the Edge Guide steady against the material’s edge. Of course, a smooth, straight edge is required in the first place. The repeatability saved me a load of time during my door project. Once I dialed in how much I had to rip from the doors to accommodate the new carpet, all I had to do was put doors up on sawhorses, clamp them down, and make a quick cut. No adjustments necessary, no measuring both sides of the door to line up a straightedge, no manhandling the door across a table saw and all the infeed/outfeed problems that would cause. Just quick, replicable cuts. It was great.
Both Sides of the Story
A possible weak point caused by user error would be over-tightening the base clamps’ hold-down screws. Be careful not to overdo it as the clamps can push away from the Sled too much. The Sled is made from tough, impact-resistant polymer but tighten the screws just enough to hold the saw securely.
Earlier I mentioned the “Not Recommended See Manual” text imprinted on the rail. Kreg discourages cuts when the Cursor is in this area because the Edge Guide can interfere with some blade guards. I noticed that you must be incredibly careful because this also puts your Edge Guide-holding hand within a finger’s length of the spinning blade (especially with a blade-left saw). I don’t want to encourage the use of a tool in a way that the manufacturer discourages, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I couldn’t have done these shave cuts without taking that calculated risk and keeping my left hand far away from danger.
So long as your blade guard doesn’t interfere with the Edge Guide, I’d imagine Kreg’s “Not Recommended” area to be a responsibility/liability area for the company. It appears you could accomplish these same shave cuts with a blade-right saw by allowing the Sled to overhang the Edge Guide. It’s possibly safer that shave cuts with a blade-left saw, but again, Kreg wouldn’t recommend.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of cut width, it’s easy to see how the Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide gives you the ability to make perfectly straight, repeatable cuts. Both the Pros and weekend handyman warriors can save a great deal of time and imperfection by strapping it to their circular saws. Gone are the tedious tasks of measuring twice to clamp down a straight edge or move unwieldy sheet goods across a table saw. You can easily remove the saw and then replace it in the same spot with the Indexing Stop. There’s even cross-functionality as the Sled works on the Kreg Accu-Cut.
I was a little wary of how to set the saw down between cuts. I also thought the base clamp hold-down screws could be too easily overtightened and cause strain on the Sled. But those are really user-related problems rather than dings against Kreg. The company has made yet another tool that improves productivity and finished product quality.
Snag the Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide for a bargain at just $39. You’ll wonder what took you so long!
Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide Features
- Make rip cuts and crosscuts up to 24 inches wide
- Cut multiple pieces to the same size with just one setup
- Use the oversize edge guide for precise control throughout the cut
- Eliminate need for marking, measuring, and layout lines
- Take your saw to the material instead of having to take your material to the saw
- Universal Sled accepts most circular saws—left or right blade
- Reversible edge guide for left- or right-handed use
Kreg Rip-Cut Circular Saw Edge Guide Specifications
- Item Number: KMA2685
- Aluminum Rail: 3 inch (76.2mm) wide x 30 inch (762mm) long
- Materials: High-quality aluminum and impact-resistant plastic polymer
- Saw Sled Accepts left- and right-blade saws, built-in indexing stop and precision cursor
- Cut Width: Maximum 24 inch (610mm)
- Includes: (1) Universal Saw Sled, (1) Aluminum Guide Rail, (1) Precision Edge Guide, Detailed Setup and Usage Instructions
- Price: $39.00