Kreg Rip Cut - Tool Review
by Jeffrey Fleisher
New Market, VA
After woodworking for almost 25 years there are not many tools that I get excited about but I really had a smile on my face as I used the Kreg Rip-Cut, a new jig from Kreg. If you need to 'break-down' large sheets of plywood into manageable sizes this is the jig for you.
I recently had a commission to build a set of ten display cases for a local craft store that was opening in our town. The owner needed display cases to display his pottery and other craft items from local artists in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The cases were built from 3/4" plywood with face frames and numerous shelves as well. I had a pile of 4' x 8' plywood sheets that needed to be cut into pieces that ranged from 12" to 18" wide and from 48" to 84" long. Not a job for the faint of heart...or someone with back problems!
I do have an industrial size Sawstop tablesaw but handling a full size sheet of plywood, even on a table saw of this size can be problematic. There is really no way to get a nice clean cut on the first pass across the tablesaw so it really requires cutting your pieces oversize and then cutting down to final dimensions. Even with this approach, handling a full sheet of 3/4" plywood on the tablesaw should not be something you do by yourself. Therefore, I often use my circular hand saw to make rough cuts to bring the plywood sheets down to a manageable size.
I've tried the straight-edge clamps that clamp across a sheet of plywood and you then run your saw along the edge of the clamp. This works but the saw does have a tendency to wander. I've also used the straight-edge systems that capture the saw in a track. These do work better but setup time becomes an issue for numerous cuts. I was looking for another alternative and I found the Kreg Rip-cut jig. I must admit, the first time I used it I ended up with a huge smile on my face as I was making the cut. I could not believe the ease and quality of the cut that I was making.
The Rip-Cut features a solid aluminum guide rail, an easy-to-read adjustable scale, and a reversible guide arm that works whether you are left-handed or right-handed.
The saw clamps onto a very durable plastic base using two set screws. If mounting and dismounting a lot is an issue these set screws could be replaced with some thumb screws but using a Phillips screwdriver for this is quite easy. The large gray toggle clamp keeps the base plate in place once it is set into position.
The next step is to zero the pointer to the size of your saw. This is very easily done by sliding the saw plate over until it touches the guide-arm stop and measuring the distance from the guide arm stop to the saw blade. In my case, this is 1-3/4" so you now set the red pointer to 1-3/4". You can now use the measurement arm to set any distance, up to 24", and make repeated cuts.
As you can see in the picture, I've set the saw to make a 6" wide cut. For my shelves, I was able to set the guide arm to make 12" wide cuts and make repeated cuts without having to reset a straight-edge every time. This was an immense time saver. When I needed to change to an 18" wide cut it was simply a matter of releasing the toggle clamp, slide the saw plate over until the pointer pointed at 18" and then pushing the toggle clamp down to fix the saw in place. I then started making 18" wide cuts!
I would like to stress that you please make sure your board is well supported when making your cut. I use two approaches when doing this. The first, as pictured, is to place small cut-offs under the plywood. Always use four or more cut-offs, not just two, to support the board. If you only use two the boards will collapse inward and pinch the blade. Using at least 4 supports will keep the boards flat and not pinch the blade. An alternative is to use a sheet of foam, available at your local 'big-box' store. Using foam will provide uniform support under the plywood and the blade will easily cut into the foam without damaging the blade.
Finally, making the cut is very easy and this is what was so enjoyable for me. For a right-handed cut, as shown, you grip the saw with your right hand and the left hand can press the guide arm to keep it tight to the edge of the board. It is hard to show that and take a picture at the same time (!) but easy to do in practice. With the board supported, you can easily walk along the edge of the board while making the cut.
The proof was in the quality of the final cut. The resulting edge was dead on accurate and straight.
It is hard to show the quality of the edge in a photograph but with a good blade this is a high quality edge right off of a circular saw. I started out cutting my boards a bit wider and finishing them on the tablesaw but after a few boards I found that this was unnecessary and cut them to final width using the Kreg jig. My face-frames sat flush to the edge of the plywood with no gaps. I was very happy with the results.
I have always been very happy with Kreg products and this is no exception. The aluminum bar and plastic saw base are very durable and have a very solid feel to them. Setup is very easy and the reversible bar lets you make both right-handed and left-handed cuts that are repeatable and quick. In my opinion, the Kreg Rip-cut jig at its current price is a real steal!
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Kreg Rip-Cut jig
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