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For my workbench project I needed to cut sheet goods on the length, and I wanted the cuts to be straight since I’m going to be looking at ’em for awhile.  I found Swanson’s CG100 cutting guide at Lowe’s for $20 and figured it was worth a shot.

When I got it home I found that the pieces were wrapped together at one end by about a quarter-mile of scotch tape that must’ve fused together in some storage facility — but once I got the tape off the unit went together easily enough.  It consists of two 50″ aluminum strips, a dovetail “wedge” that joins the two pieces with set screws, and a pair of C-clamps that’re about three inches.

The aluminum guide measures only about 1/4″ tall and two inches wide, so if your circular saw pushes toward the guide, it can work its way under it. The guide worked well enough, but at the full 100” length I had to be very careful in the middle of the cut — using it at the 50″ length would’ve been better.  The clamps are pretty much useless unless you’re just clamping the rail to sheet goods, but my sheet had a workbench under it so I had to use some bar clamps.

Overall it works well for the price, but in retrospect I wish I’d bought a higher-end cutting guide, or just bought a 10′ length of 2x stock and ran it though the jointer for a straightedge.

Cutting Guide [Swanson]
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Via Amazon [What’s This?]


7 Responses to Swanson Cutting Guide

  1. BigEdJr says:

    While shopping for a straight edge for the same reason you needed one, a very wise man at an Ace hardware store a few years ago told me to go to a local metal shop and ask for a length of extruded aluminum. I ended up with a piece that’s about 2 1/2″ x 1″ by 9 feet. It only cost about $15 and will give me a nice straight edge (straight enough for my projects) for any standard board I will ever cut. A couple of squeeze clamps and I’m ready.

    I also bout a smaller/shorter piece (1″x1″x4 1/2′)that is a bit more user friendly for cross cutting plywood etc.

    It was a cold crazy day trying to get that 9 foot piece of aluminum home in my convertible mustang…

  2. BarelyFitz says:

    I have one of these – the only advantage is that it can be broken down for storage so you don’t have to keep a 9 foot piece laying around. Ultimately If I had the space I would make a sawboard as described in this PDF: http://www.rochesterwoodworkers.org/JunkDrawer/Sawboard.pdf

    Another advantage of a saw board (besides being cheap and easy to make) is that you can line it up directly on the cut mark for perfect results.

  3. paganwonder says:

    Agree with BarelyFitz, this method has been very reliable over the years

  4. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    Also agree with BarelyFitz – I thought I invented it, but I guess not. I use 1/4″ tempered masonite, so it is nice & smooth & stays straight.

  5. Where where you guys last week!

    Thanks for the jig plan BarelyFitz I am going to make one of these this weekend.

  6. fred says:

    While the sawboard that BarelyFitz describes works well – if you only have one saw in in your site box – the other way to go is to make setup blocks that fit your different saws. If you make 2 for each saw they can ce used to accurately clamp a straightedge paralle to the cut line and just the right distance for the saw without need to measure.

  7. Jim German says:

    Thanks Guys, I’ve got some plywood to cut this weekend and have been looking for a good way to do it. Definitely gonna give a sawboard a shot tonight.

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