I´m looking for a suitable blade for a handheld circular saw. I mostly cut
plywood up to 3/4 inch thick. I´d like a blade that leaves a smooth cut,
clean edges. I know there isn´t a perfect blade, but what blade would be the
best choice for clean cuts in plywood?
I´m grateful for any suggestions and comments.
Thu, Jan 5, 2006, 8:26pm (EST+5) firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken) doth
I´m looking for a suitable blade for a handheld circular saw. I mostly
cut plywood <snip>
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I have a Freud Diablo blade that I got at the Home Depot for maybe $10.
It has a thin kerf and leaves very smooth cuts, in baltic birch ply
and solid white oak. I'm sure you could find more expensive blades
that also leave smooth cuts, but I've been more than happy with this
Most manufacturers make a blade specifically for plywood. It is fine tooth
and I've seen some that have a slight texture on the side to burnish the
wood when cut. I don't know what brands are available in Finland
Bosch makes some
Get one specifically made for plywood--you'll get less splintering
with this type and it usually has more teeth. A "combo" blade would
be my second choice. Make sure the one you get has carbide tips,
which will lengthen the time between sharpenings. Freud and CMT are
Generally, for really clean cuts in plywood, melamine etc., you want a blade
with a high ATB (alternate top bevel) of about 40 degrees and a hook angle
near 0º or slightly negative. These are usually sold as a melamine blade. An
example is http://www.forrestblades.com/hiat.htm . The next best would be a
30º hook angle with a hook angle near zero and no greater than about 5º. An
example of that is - http://www.forrestblades.com/woodworker_1.htm . This
is typically a radial arm saw blade.
Where you will really notice the difference in these blades and blades with
a low ATB and a more positive hook angle is the splintering you find when
crosscutiing an open pore veneered ply, such as red oak (especially near the
end of the ply). The differences are more dramatic as the blades dull.
You don't need to buy the high dollar blades as shown, just try to
approximate the tooth geometry. Somewhere along the line, I picked up a
DeWalt blade for melamine and it did a really nice job on the plywood. The
biggest differences I noticed was the face of the tooth was not as polished
in sharpening like the Forrest blade and the thickness of the tooth was
quite a bit less. This means less sharpenings and a greater effect on the
tooth from impact.
For clean cutting on both sides of ply material with veneer both sides, let
about 1/2 of the face of the tooth extend out of the cut. You may have to
play with that to find out what works best for that blade and the material
being cut. Of course with the blade lowered like that, the feed rate will
slow down since more teeth are in the cut at any one time, and slight
burning may result with a less than sharp blade.
On Thu, 05 Jan 2006 20:26:13 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, "Ken"
I've been happy with the cheapies like the B&D Piranha with
its measly 32 teeth. At $7 a pop, use a fresh one for each
sheet of good plywood and save the "used" blades for tubafores.
Tape both sides, mark, and cut. Remove tape halves toward
the cut edge. OR wipe a coat of finish on the wood first
(No, I'm not talking stain and poly, Bloody 'Ell.), cut,
and put on the rest of the finish.
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Thanks guys for your very informative input!
While we`re at this subject, I´d love to hear your thoughts on what a good
handheld circular saw for cutting baltic 3/4 inch plywood would be.
You see, for the moment I only have a B&D hand drill connected to an adapter
that makes it a circular saw. It´s a loaner from my father, one that he used
when he built his house in the seventies. This hand drill has a power rating
of 340W and the blade is pretty small also, compared to what I´ve seen in
Would I get a better cut with a real circular saw or is this of less
I wouldn´t mind getting a new saw, but if this wouldn´t make any real
difference, then of course there is no reason to put out the money.
Still, I´m wondering if not a somewhat more powerful saw would be a good
idea. The other thing I´m pondering, is what effect the diameter of the
blade would have on the cut, in other words, would a larger diameter blade
do a cleaner cut than a small one, given that the cut depth would be
adjusted to the suggested half of the teeth extending under the material to
Just about anything will work, but some will be nicer to use than others.
I'm currently using a crappy 10-amp Skil saw. Feels cheap, but does the
job. The shoe is stamped steel rather than cast aluminum or magnesium
like on some better saws. Really noisy.
I currently have the shoe screwed to a piece of plywood. Also screwed
to the plywood is a traveller that hooks into my straight-edge. The ply
also acts as a zero-clearance insert. For smooth running, I've got a
strip of UHMW tape on the bottom of the ply.
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