I'm a rookie WWer and now ready to take a shot at making a bookcase. The
side panels are to be cut from a 3/4 x 4 x 8sheet of red oak ply. The plans
call for 11 3/4 x 72 and wondering what everyone else uses to cut the ply
and keep it all straight? I have 2 ideas in mind, 1- tablesaw and several
friends to hold the ply against the fence. 2-use my circular saw and a
straight edge. I was thinking of cutting the width 1/4 wider than spec and
then recut to size once they are cut from the 4x8ply.
One thing I have found with having multiple "helpers", is that there is no
consistancy in pressure/pull/whatever and the chances of binding it up on
the bladeand/or some other form of badness will likely occur. Better to use
a straightedge and circular saw and cut a bit over. Then finish cut on the
table saw, or if necessary, cut by yourself; or with one helper on the
table saw. I think you have a better feel of what the sheet is doing if you
don't have a bunch of others pushing and pulling on it. Just my $.02
I would not trust anyone to hold the plyboard straight on a table saw,
unless you have a very large outfeed table. A circular saw will be much
better and much more secure.
Not sure if my stick figure drawing is clear, but to make a very precise
straight edge for a particular blade on a circular saw, attach a very
straight piece of material (L shape steel or some sort of extrusion would be
great, but can also be a piece of wood -- it has to be straight, though) to
a piece of plyboard (maybe 4' x 12"). Run your saw along this straight
fence, cutting off the excess of the plyboard.
Now you have a perfect straight edge that can be alligned perfectly with
whatever marks you've made on your workpiece. Allign the marks up with the
edge of the plyboard and clamp your straight edge down. Run your saw along
the edge - the cut will be perfect everytime.
|/////| <---- straight edge - an Aluminum extrusion or bent
steel would be great
============== <--- scrap ply board
Attach with screws, etc
Hope this is of use to you.
On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 19:50:24 -0500, "Woodchuck"
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
I _might_ have somebody pulling a long piece of wood out of the back
of a table.
Multiple people working together on a table saw! brrrrhhhrhrh!
I actually have a bee in my bonnet about beginners to woodwork even
_bothering_ with a Table Saw. I would get a million other tools first,
including a bandsaw. Until you are really producing lots of cuts, and
especially repeats, a decent table saw is not jusitifable _as a tool_
(not as a Big Boy's Toy <G>)
One of the handiest tips I ever had here was to get a sheet or two of
1" (25mm) styrene foam. Lay them on the floor and lay the ply on them
to cut. Set the saw to cut just into the foam through your wood, and
in the end you need a new piece of foam.
I actually made up two 4' * 4' (1.2m * 1.2m) frames with pine edges
and ply backing, and cut between them. They stand up against the wall
when not in use.
I bough my foam, but many guys dumpster dive etc.
Straight edges: Get a 4' (1.2m) spirit level or three from the
hardware shop. I have bought them for under $20. Strong and straight.
To make an 8' (2.4m ) edge, join two end to end with the third one, or
another straight edge.
Make _sure_ that the circ saw you use has its blade parallel to the
blade guide foot that sits on the fence. Otherwise you will have real
Dogs are better than people.
People are better than dogs for only one purpose. And
then it's only half of ofthe people. And _then_ most
of them are only ordinary anyway. And then they have a
Circular saw and a straight edge. Cut it to the correct width; no
recutting. Your first step is to make a cutting board. See:
http://home.earthlink.net/~kvaughn65j/main.html and look at Jigs
and Fixtures / Circular Saws. Then you need something to hold the
plywood (e.g., saw horses), or just use 2x4s to hold the sheet up off
the floor so the blade doesn't contact the floor. Use a good blade.
Trying to cut a 4 x 8 sheet on your table saw is a disaster in the
making that will either ruin the panel or injure you or your friends.
Anything I've said earlier notwithstanding, I agree that unless you have
about an acre of accessory tables, infeed, outfeed etc. Trying to heft
a 4 x 8 sheet onto a table saw is a recipe for disaster.
George E. Cawthon wrote:
I would rough cut a piece from the sheet with my circular saw, then rip it
on the tablesaw. I have a substantial outfeed table and a heavy duty ball
bearing stand to help support the infeed. I would not do this on a bare
The next best compromise is to rip it with a circular saw and a shopmade
sawboard http://members.aol.com/woodmiser1/sawbd.htm .
In Calif., oak plywood is very expensive... I'd hate to ruin a sheet!
If you haven't bought it yet, ask the place that you buy it to do the
main 8 foot cut for you... usually, they make 2 cuts free and start
charging after that, so they'd probably cut it off to 6', also..
If you already have it, I'll 2nd or 3rd the skill saw and straight
edge system.. I've cut a lot of sheets up and have always got better
cuts when I used a skill saw..
If in doubt, waste a 1/2" of wood and cut it to 8' x 12 1/4" and then
run the 11 3/4" trim cut on the table saw... IMO, it's better to
sacrifice a little scrap then mess up a whole sheet...
I'm doing the same project here in the UK -- a bookcase from 3/4" birch
ply to fill an alcove. Our local stores here (B & Q) will cut an 8' x 4'
sheet to your exact requirements for free. They say they do 5 cuts free
and charge 50p per cut after that. I've had many boards cut and never
been charged any extra for more than 5 cuts. Perhaps your local supplier
will do the same.
And even if they do charge for cutting up a sheet, isn't it cheap at twice
the price if (like me) you don't have the tolls/confidence to make
accurate cuts in large pieces of sheet material?
For me, the easiest way to cut large panels is with a circular saw,
1. Get 2 or 3 pieces of 2" foam insulation (e.g., blueboard or
pinkboard), lay them flat on the floor (or any fairly flat surface)
2. Put the panel to be cut on top of the foam.
3. Set the depth of cut on the saw to about 1/4" (depth of tooth + 1
RCH) more than the thickness of the panel. This is a always good idea,
but particularly so when using this method.
4. Measure, clamp up your straight edge, and make your cut
while kneeling/crawling on the panel you're cutting.
I like this method MUCH better than using sawhorses or the
tablesaw. Nothing has a tendency to move around & you don't
have to worry about catching or dropping the offcut.
A couple more points:
1. If there is a "good" side to your panel, put it face down
when cutting with a circular saw, it will splinter less. Some
people put masking tape on the line of cut to reduce
splintering, but I've never found it neccesary (not with sharp
2. Use a good, sharp blade. I bought a 7 1/4" WWII just for cutting
panels like this.
I cut to width and then tried cutting to length. My blade caused all
kinds of veneer chipping. I got out the router and did a cleanup cut.
I have a tendancy to make furniture plus or minus a 1/2" of my
drawings. Measure once, screw up the cut and measure again and cut. It
keeps getting smaller every time. ;-) I do use a circular saw and a
straight edge when possilble for those large sheets of plywood.
and I am also in my 60's and lugging a 4x8 sheet of plywood into my
shop is more Physicial work then I care to do...
But like the others I would place it on the floor on top of a foam
sheet and use my circular saw cutting it slightly wider then the
finish size.. OR I would have the Lumber Yard .cut it down to size
for me on their panel saw....then I would use my Tablesaw (IT DOES
have a large outfeed table...if it did not I would not even attempt
IF I worked with plywood on aeven a semi regular bases I would have a
panel saw for sure.. Damn the expense... !
Bought a new circular saw for the task which came with a carbide 24t and I
also have a 200t steel veneer blade... so which would be the better choice
if I cut the ply 1/4 over and then recut on table saw?
does an old JC Penney circular saw(circa 1978) have any tool collector
I never knew of that idea when I bought a 50" Clamp N Tool Guide (here is
one website that sells them but they are others
(http://www.profhdwr.com/41050.htm ). It lets you clamp a straight edge to
the edges of the plywood sheet so the guide doesn't move. Then you can run
your saw right down it. I do it all the time with good results. I cut about
1/2" oversize and then complete the job on my table saw.
Bag the idea with several friends. It's hard enough with one helper to keep
that person from trying to control the cut, let alone with several.
Whenever I have a task like this I cut it with a circular saw. Use a good
blade and a straight edge and you can cut it right to the line. If you're a
little antsy about this then do as you suggest above and cut it a quarter
fat and run it through the tablesaw.
I usually use 4 sawhorses. It saves trying to hold the cut pieces with the
3rd hand. I've also learned the wisdom of clamping one side to a couple of
the sawhorses. ;-) Less excitement, but safer.
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