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Суббота, 23 Сен 2017
24.02.2011 13:07

Sawing Particle board and Plywood

plywood_sawing_0mI’d like to know who it was that decided that plywood was best sold in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets. I’ve always thought that it was a practical joke in questionable taste to take such a wonderfully useful woodworking material and manufacture it in sheets that are bigger than most woodworkers. More to the point, sheet materials are larger than the capacity of most woodworking machines. You can’t cut them safely on a garden-variety table saw without first chopping them into smaller pieces.
Consequently, making precise cuts in sheet goods is a two-step process for most woodworkers. First you cut the sheets into manageable sizes with a circular saw, then you trim the pieces to precise dimensions on a table saw. You can buy a panel saw or a sliding table for high-end table saws, but these are expensive pieces of equipment. And even if you can afford them, do you have space to use them? A panel saw, for example, takes up an enormous amount of wall space that most of us don’t have. I would much rather preserve the walls of my workshop as God intended – hung floor to ceiling with unfinished projects.

Making a Circular Saw Guide.
plywood_sawing_1mFortunately, there is an inexpensive, space saving and ridiculously simple solution to this problem. You can make precision cuts in plywood and other sheet materials with an ordinary circular saw using a jig that that relies on the straightness of the outside edges that come with every piece of plywood.
 The outside edges of a sheet of plywood as it comes from the manufacturer are commonly called factory edges. They are too rough to use in assembly, but they are usually dead straight.
plywood_sawing_2mConsequently when you buck up a sheet of plywood to trim on a table saw, it’s a good idea to make sure each piece has a factory edge. Most craftsmen begin trimming operations by guiding this factory edge along the table saw rip fence this creates another straight edge. Instead of using the factory edge as a guide to trim the plywood on a table saw, I skip the trimming altogether and use a factory edge to guide a circular saw. To do this, you must make a circular saw guide. Select a sheet of cabinet-grade  1?2" or 3?4" hardwood plywood. With a circular saw, trim a 3"-wide strip from one of the 8'-long edges – this is the guide.

To make the base, trim plywood_sawing_3manother strip 81?2" wide from a sheet of 1?4" plywood. Glue the guide and the base together with the sawed edge (not the factory edge) of the guide aligned with one of the edges of the base. Tip: The 3"-wide guide is narrow enough to bend, so check the assembly as you glue the parts together. Sight along the factory edge (or better yet, stretch a string along it) to make sure the guide remains straight. When the glue dries, clamp the saw guide to a long board. Mount a high-quality carbide tipped combination blade on your circular saw. This is important! For you to make precision cuts with any saw, you need a precision blade. Place the shoe of the saw on the base with the edge against the guide. The saw motor should overhang the guide. Trim the base so the distance from the guiding edge to the base edge is exactly the same as the distance from the edge of the shoe to the saw blade. This makes it a cinch to set up for a cut, as you’ll see in a minute.

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