cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

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cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby sxjames » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:09 pm

Greetings:
I'm at the point where I'm starting to cut the plywood (5'x5' sheet of baltic birch) for my interior cabinets (counter top, face frames, etc.), and for the life of me I can't get a straight, accurate cut using a circular saw. :x Yes, I used a straight edge fence and I still can't get a decent cut, and I am not comfortable trying to cut something that big on my table saw. So after doing some research I'm considering purchasing a systems that converts a circular saw into a track saw. In particular, the EZsmart track system is available from my local woodworking supply store and the reviews seem positive. My questions are:
1. What do others use to break down a 4x8 or 5x5 sheet of plywood and
2. Anybody any any experience with the the EZsmart of other track system?

Any advice is appreciated...

Stephen
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby greygoos » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:14 am

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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby UK-Corlett » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:41 am

Hi sxjames

drives you mad doesn't it.

I cured my wows and got this, I guess Dewalts EZsmart. It cuts so straight and clean; it cuts up against a rubber shield which stops it blistering. Its quick too, cuts trimming time enormously. Here in the UK wasn't cheap though.

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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby aggie79 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:29 pm

Sounds crazy but I sometimes break down plywood freehand cutting near to the cut line and then use a router with template bit and straightedge to get final cut.


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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby Kaz » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:25 pm

I used a straight edge and a dremel saw with a blade that looked more like a diamond chip abrasive blade. the smaller saw was much easier to control. Some panels I cut to rough size and then finish cut them on my table saw.
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby Rick Tyler » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:56 pm

Usually, I use my table saw, but if I have to, I will make rough cuts with a circular saw and then cut the finished pieces on the table saw. I have also clamped wood or other materials across the sheet as a guide and used the circular saw. If you don't have to make a lot of cuts, that edge guide is expensive. (Like I should talk. Anyone with 9 electric sanders should not criticize anyone about anything. In my defense, I hate sanding and will do nearly anything to make it go faster.)
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby GuitarPhotog » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:06 pm

I use my circular saw to break down sheet goods and I too had poor results until I put a thin-kerf Freud Diablo 50 tooth blade on the saw. Ever since then, I have no problems even ripping a 4 ft X 8 ft sheet. I think the thin-kerf blade exerts less skewing force on the saw and makes it easier to keep against the guide.

My $0.02 worth

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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby ssrjim » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:17 pm

UK-Corlett wrote:Hi sxjames

drives you mad doesn't it.

I cured my wows and got this, I guess Dewalts EZsmart. It cuts so straight and clean; it cuts up against a rubber shield which stops it blistering. Its quick too, cuts trimming time enormously. Here in the UK wasn't cheap though.

Image


I have the Makita version of the track saw. I throw a think piece of rigid foam insulation on the floor, drop my sheet of plywood on top of that, line up the track to where I want to cut, no clamps rubber on the track keeps it from moving, then cut away. Perfect every time. Best plywood tool ever.
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby troubleScottie » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:01 pm

My observations:

A good metal straight edge eg a steel or aluminum track longer then the work surface.

A plywood blade

Expose a fair amount of the blade eg no 3/8" to cut 1/4", at least an 1"

Lots of support at the cutting edge : a 2x4 just inside the cut edge running the entire length of the cut to support the plywood, guide and saw

Support for the plywood on the other side of the wood if there is a lot to drop off.

Work on the floor if needed. Saw horses are often too small

Cut slowly - one slow cut takes less time than two or three fast cuts



Table saw works well if you have the second set of hands. Otherwise you really need run out support at least the length of the wood to catch after the cut. Usually that is what is missing to make it work. Most people will not spend the dollars/time to build all those supports -- to the correct height, etc.

Also, use the skill saw/hand saw to rough cut (get close plus/minus an inch) then to the table saw to make the final cuts. Although I have not done it yet, I think a table saw panel sled would be great investment of dollars or sweat.
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby lrrowe » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:44 pm

troubleScottie wrote:My observations:

A good metal straight edge eg a steel or aluminum track longer then the work surface.

A plywood blade

Expose a fair amount of the blade eg no 3/8" to cut 1/4", at least an 1"

Lots of support at the cutting edge : a 2x4 just inside the cut edge running the entire length of the cut to support the plywood, guide and saw

Support for the plywood on the other side of the wood if there is a lot to drop off.

Work on the floor if needed. Saw horses are often too small

Cut slowly - one slow cut takes less time than two or three fast cuts



Table saw works well if you have the second set of hands. Otherwise you really need run out support at least the length of the wood to catch after the cut. Usually that is what is missing to make it work. Most people will not spend the dollars/time to build all those supports -- to the correct height, etc.

Also, use the skill saw/hand saw to rough cut (get close plus/minus an inch) then to the table saw to make the final cuts. Although I have not done it yet, I think a table saw panel sled would be great investment of dollars or sweat.


And when cutting on the floor, put a sacrificial foam sheet or two under the plywood. Allows for blade cuts without hitting the floor.
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby tony.latham » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:19 pm

greygoos wrote:http://www.ibuildit.ca/Workshop%20Projects/Shop%20Tricks/tricks-18.html


I use the same system. Cheap and accurate. Works like a champ.

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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby sxjames » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:42 pm

Wow - lots of good advice and suggestions. Thanks folks :)

TroubleScottie - Yes, as I look back on it, I don't think I was taking the time to properly support the waste piece (just had a helper loosely hold the drop off piece...probably not the best idea).

My biggest problem is figuring out how to guide the saw while reaching half way across the a 5x5 panel and still keeping the saw up against the straight edge. That is what attracted me to the track saw. However, the idea of a doing a rough cut then finishing it with a router seems doable. I think I'll give that a try, along with a properly supported cut.

Thanks again everyone, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Stephen
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby brx017 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:13 am

Take your sawbucks and notch them to lock in a 2x4 on edge. Then you have a big enough area to support your whole panel. Use your straight edge of choice as a guide while cutting.

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Cut halfway across your sheet, back up the saw a half inch and stop the cut. Don't move the saw until the blade completely stops spinning. Walk around to the other side and finish the cut. Make sure your saw is still backed away that half inch or more when you start the saw back up or it will likely cause tear out or kick back, etc.

If all else fails, remember: "Tape and putty is a Carpenter's buddy."

Good luck.

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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby donnan » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:32 am

I have to agree with brx17......the 4x2's locked into the sawhorses, you can handle any sheet size with this setup. A good metal straight edge is a necessity, also make sure you aren't using an old blunt blade on your saw, take it slow and there is no reason you can't get nice straight cuts everytime! :D
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Re: cuting 5x5 sheet of plywood effecivly

Postby lrrowe » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:04 am

I have used a combination of all these methods in one way or another.
Lately I have been buying my plywood from a cabinet maker. Better quality, fat lower in cost and he cuts them to length on his vertical saw at no extra cost. That is, if I help him move the sheets around. The cuts are very accurate and a huge pain avoidance.
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