Highland Woodworking
Tool Review: Kreg Accu-Cut Jig
By Jeff Fleisher

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

One of the biggest issues with a circular saw is getting an accurate, clean cut either across or along the length of a piece of plywood or MDF. There are a number of circular saw guide systems available but I was anxious to review the Kreg Accu-Cut Jig because of Kreg's history of producing high-quality woodworking jigs and fixtures.

The Accu-Cut consists of an aluminum track which is fitted with a plastic mounting plate. The plate contains two channels that fit over two matching tracks in the guide. There are two anti-slip guide strips that prevent the track from slipping and press down on the workpiece to prevent splintering. No clamps are needed to keep the track in place. I was skeptical about this but in practice I found that the track did not slip. The aluminum track is 50 inches long which is enough to cut along the narrow width of a sheet of plywood. There is an Expansion Pack that can be purchased separately that will lengthen the track to 100 inches.

In addition to the track and saw mounting plate there is a starting block that attaches to the end of the track and hangs over the leading edge of your board. To get a cut started, you place the saw onto the starting plate and engage the saw plate into the raised tracks. This mounts your saw onto the track before the blade touches the wood. This is a nice feature which gives you a clean kerf cut on the leading edge of your wood.

Finally, the system comes with an excellent set of instructions. The installation section provides step-by-step instructions to put the track together and how to mount your saw to the mounting plate. It is well-illustrated and easy to follow.

The two halves of the track go together using two mounting bars and eight set screws. You will notice in the picture that there are only seven set screws. The threads on one set screw were damaged but this is a minor issue as they can easily be found at a local hardware store or I am sure Kreg would send you one.

Below is a view of the two halves screwed together. You can tell your're correct because the top surface has etched arrows that show you the proper alignment. This same type of assembly is repeated if you have the track extension kit.

Below is the assembled track and mounted saw. I am using a portable battery powered circular saw and the mounting plate easily accepts the smaller base. The plate can accept a saw with the blade on either the left side, as shown here, or on the right side. There is a small plastic stop (gray square block on upper left of the mounting plate) that is screwed in place to make remounting the saw easier. You can loosen two set screws to remove the circular saw from the plate and then just butt the saw up against the stop and retighten the set screws to remount the saw in the same position.

There used to be a time when I could carry a 3/4" piece of plywood into my shop but unfortunately those days are long gone! So the most obvious use for the track guide and saw is to break down a piece of plywood or other sheet good materials into smaller pieces which can be handled a lot easier. However, you don't really need a track system to do this. Breaking down a large sheet into smaller pieces is not necessarily a precise operation and can be done either free-hand or by clamping a board across the width of the sheet and using that as a guide. The Accu-Cut Jig is designed for more precise cutting so I thought I would put it to the test and see if I could build a cabinet using the Jig to cut the carcass pieces.

It just so happens that I need to build a simple cabinet for my woodturning club for our video control equipment. This consists of a laptop, audio receiver, and usb hub among a few other items. Below is the design I need to build and I am going to use the Accu-Cut to cut the plywood pieces for the box and middle shelf. Normally, I would use my tablesaw for this but I think this is a good test of the system and also demonstrates that someone can build this if they don't own a tablesaw.

The first thing I did was cut the top edge off the plywood to get an edge with a clean cut and not the 'store bought' edge. Once that was done I made two marks 26-1/4" down from the end and placed the track guide along these marks. The starting block has a lip on it which aligns the guide track perpendicular to the edge of the board. You will notice I am doing this in the back of my pickup truck and with boards under the plywood which extend out to a set of saw horses. A nice and easy setup.

I was very impressed with the quality of the cut. I had the good surface facing down because the circular saw cuts up through the wood but the track edge guides helped to support the upper surface as well and gave me a nice clean cut. You can see in the following picture the quality of the cut I made with the small blade on this saw. I was very encouraged that this would work!

Once this initial piece was cut off of the large plywood panel I rotated it and made cuts at 18" intervals for my sides, top and bottom. Below is what the first panel looked like.

The guide track did not slip at all during the cut and I could walk along moving the saw without having to bend over and watch a guide and pencil line. Not having to clamp the guide was a real plus and really speeds up resetting the track for each cut. As an aside, the guide track could be placed at any angle across a board which would allow you to make angled cuts.

After looking at the quality and accuracy of the cuts I believe the Kreg Accu-Cut Jig can produce a set of boards that will go together accurately. I will test this assessment next month when I review the Kreg K5 Pocket Hole Jig and use it to put the cabinet together.

Click here to find out more and purchase your own Kreg Accu-Cut Jig from Highland Woodworking.

Jeffrey Fleisher has been a woodworker for approximately 20 years and a professional woodworker for the past 6 years. He is the president of his local woodturning club, the Woodturners of the Virginias and past president of the Northern Virginia Carvers. You can see some of the furniture he has made at www.jeffswooddesigns.com. He can be reached by email at furnmkr@gmail.com

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