Building a Panel Saw: Step-by-Step Guide

Panel saws are indispensable tools for both amateur and professional woodworkers. They allow for efficient, accurate, and straight cuts on large panels without requiring expansive space. While you can buy them, building your panel saw with a kit, you can save you money and give you the satisfaction of crafting your own tool. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through building your very own panel saw.

Why Build a Panel Saw?

A custom-made panel saw offers several advantages:

  • Cost-effective: Building your own tool can be cheaper than buying a commercial unit.
  • Customization: Tailor it to fit the specific requirements of your workspace and your needs.
  • Skill Development: It’s an excellent project to enhance woodworking and engineering skills.

Materials and Tools Required


  • Plywood or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): For the frame and base.
  • 2×4 lumber: For the frame.
  • Circular saw: This will be integrated into the panel saw setup.
  • Aluminum or steel angle: For guide rails.
  • T-track and t-bolts: For adjustments.
  • Wood screws and bolts.
  • Nylon rollers or bearings.
  • Piano hinge.


  • Measuring tape.
  • Square.
  • Drill with bits.
  • Saw.
  • Screwdrivers.
  • Clamps.

Building Your Panel Saw

Step 1: Framework Construction

  • Start by building a rectangular frame using the 2×4 lumber. This will act as the primary structure holding everything together.
  • Add additional cross-members for stability.

Step 2: Base

  • Attach a plywood or MDF base to the bottom of your frame. This base will support the panel when making cuts.

Step 3: Mounting the Circular Saw

  • Attach the circular saw upside down to a piece of plywood, ensuring it’s square.
  • This plywood will act as the carriage that will slide up and down.
  • Install nylon rollers or bearings on the sides of the plywood carriage. This will facilitate a smooth vertical movement against the frame.

Step 4: Guide Rails

  • Attach aluminum or steel angles vertically on both sides of your frame. This will guide your saw carriage and maintain a straight cut.

Step 5: Horizontal Bar

  • Above your frame, attach a horizontal bar. The saw carriage will slide along this bar for horizontal cuts.
  • You can use a piano hinge to allow the bar to fold down when not in use.

Step 6: T-track Installation

  • Add a T-track on the frame where you want adjustability, such as for setting the height for horizontal cuts.
  • Using T-bolts, you can adjust and lock the saw carriage in place.

Step 7: Safety First

  • Ensure there’s a clear on/off switch for your circular saw.
  • Consider adding a safety shield over the saw blade.

Tips and Recommendations

  • Blade Selection: Use a high-quality blade suitable for plywood or the specific material you plan to cut.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep your guide rails and rollers clean and free of sawdust. Lubricate the rollers periodically.
  • Safety: Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection when using your panel saw. Ensure the area behind the panel saw is clear before making cuts.

Whether You Buy it Or Build It – Panel Saws Increase Productivity

Building a panel saw is a fulfilling project that can be beneficial for any woodworking enthusiast. It not only saves money but also offers a chance to customize a tool to your specific needs. With proper maintenance and care, your DIY panel saw will serve you well for years to come. Happy building!

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