Most projects that involve plywood require cutting to size. Many homeowners wonder what the best way to cut plywood is. You can cut plywood with a handsaw, jigsaw, table saw, or circular saw.
Keep reading to learn how-to techniques and tips for using each of these tools to cut plywood.
Please remember to wear ear, eye, and hand protection when using power saws. Since cutting plywood produces a lot of dust, it’s best to cut it in the garage or outside in the open air.
How to Cut Plywood With a Circular Saw
A circular saw, or skill saw is a common tool used to cut plywood. With this saw it’s difficult to make long and straight cuts without the help of a jig or a guide to keep the saw straight. But simply clamping a board along the length of the plywood to use as a guide for your saw can remedy this.
It’s best to place the sheet you’re cutting on a set of sawhorses. If you’re cutting it on the ground, place the plywood on top of a 4' x 8' sheet of 2" foam (blue board) and set your blade to the correct depth so it doesn’t contact the ground. The blade will glide through the foam while it cuts the wood.
To reduce edge tear-out (chip-out) always start with a sharp blade and set the blade depth as deep as it can go. Keep in mind that the topside of the plywood will have more splinters and a rough edge, so make sure your finished edge is facing down.
If you’re struggling to get a clean edge, use blue painter's tape on top of your cut line before cutting. This should help keep splinters in place while you’re cutting.
How to Cut Plywood With a Table Saw
Wrestling a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood on a table saw is a dangerous task, so if you’re cutting a full-size sheet, always get someone to help you. For the cleanest cut and to reduce chip-out, set the blade height as high as it will go and lay the good edge face-up.
As you feed the plywood into the table saw, keep even and steady pressure on the fence and have someone catch the board at the other end. When they catch the board, they should not be putting any pressure on the board, which could prevent a straight cut.
How to Cut Plywood With a Jigsaw
If you want to cut plywood into a circle or intricate pattern, a jigsaw will be your best bet. Jigsaws can also make straight cuts, but it’s more difficult.
Always make sure the jigsaw’s cord has enough length to reach where you’re cutting. Before cutting, select a jigsaw blade with 20 teeth per inch with in-line teeth, rather than opposed teeth. Make sure to lock angle or depth adjustment knobs before you start cutting.
Cutting Plywood With a Handsaw
While this isn’t the most accurate or quickest technique to cut plywood, if you just have to make a few cuts, it works great! Always start with a sharp saw blade. A miter handsaw has a stiffer blade and will help if you’re making smaller cuts.
For longer cuts that need to be straight, consider using a stiff board as a jig to guide your saw blade. Simply clamp the board along your cut line. For straighter cuts, only cut on the push motion of the saw and don’t cut on the pull motion. This helps you slow down and be more intentional with each saw cut. With larger hand saws, use the first few inches of the saw blade closest to the handle where it’s stiffer and less likely to bend while you’re cutting.
PROFESSIONAL HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
Having the right tools for the job makes the finished product look better and makes the job go more smoothly.
Mr. Handyman has all the necessary skills, expertise, and tools to cut all types of wood for your next project. If you’re reconsidering your DIY project or don’t want to buy the tools to do it right, give the experts a call at (877) 685-1377 or request an estimate online.