Every time I get into a project where I have to crosscut wide pieces of
plywood I end up going to my friend's millshop and using their Italian
3-phase radial arm saw that will make a 24 inch cut. I do it because
I can't think of anything more expedient for speed and accuracy, but I
get tired of mooching after 24 years. I was just wondering about other
methods to acheive the same results for less of an investment that I
could set up in my own meager little shop. Any ideas, anybody?
There are a number of guides rails with a carriage to attach to the circular
saw that makes this whole process easier.
The most expensive and best version of this I have seen is the Festool
circular saw. It seems to me that the guide rail is built into the original
design. It is not an add on. I saw it used once and it was outstanding.
Forgot what it cost but it was VERY expensive. But it did a wonderful job
with pinpoint accuracy.
There was talk at the time of them adding plunge capability to this setup.
Don't know what the latest features are. Festool has an excellent reputatiom
among folks who actually USE tools to make a living. Most of us hobby folks
would look at these heavanly tools enviosly as a very expensive toy.<drool>
Yeah, you're right, Bob S. I took the
plywood over there and had an entire
kitchen of cabinet doors cut out in
about half an hour. What I do usually
is buy the material there and they let me work it, and whatever I can throw
do, like somebody was giving away
a 3 phase plasma cutter cause they
didn't have 3 phase for it, so I donated
it to the shop. Great bunch of guys
Thank you Leon. From your posts here it does seem you know something about
WW. "A cross cut ... with the rip fence." Just this AM I was thinking
about what the difference is. The best I could come up with is the
orientation to the grain. And maybe the shape of the piece of wood. So,
w/ plywood there is no difference -- except for the method used to run the
wood through, with the fence or a sled/miter gauge. Am I right about this?
Kind of right. Plywood typically has an odd number of plies. Generally the
larger number are oriented the long direction of the sheet and are visible.
Thus it is not uncommon to hear people talking about ripping plywood
(cutting parallel to the face grain) or doing a crosscut (perpendicular to
the face grain). In reality you are ripping some plies and cross cutting
some no matter what you do.
Yes Igor, cross cutting is generally accepted as cutting across the grain.
But, with plywood, IMHO a cross cut would be using a fence to cut a piece
that is wider than it is long regardless of grain orientation. With that in
mind though cross cutting with the fence is inherently more risky than using
a sled or miter gauge. Unfortunately pieces can be to large for a sled or a
miter gauge to cut safely also. Bigger wider pieces being guided by the
fence will tend to be a safer cut. As long as the edge of the board that is
being guided by the rip fence is long enough that you can easily keep it
flush against the fence, there should be no worry about kickback. With a
push stick and a helper for the long panels this is a safe operation. I
build lots and lots of cabinet doors and generally do not pay a whole lot of
attention to the rails and styles being in perfectly alignment on the ends
as long as the door is square. When the glue has set, I use the rip fence
to guide and put a clean edge along the tops and bottoms of the doors.
Essentially I am cross cutting the ends of the doors and using the fence as
Now, this is not to indicate that all cross cuts with the rip fence are
safe. Certainly a short width panel or board should always be cut with a
sled or miter gauge and away from the rip fence. In those instances, the
piece between the blade can VERY easily rack and come flying back at you.
Absolutely! BUT there are cheaper panel saws. Try this one for starters:
or just do a Google search for Panel Saw, which is where it showed up, along
with the prebuilt commercial ones and this one:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Lots of ways to get the job done without having the $3K invested.
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