How Professionals Cut Plywood with Circular Saw? 7 Proven Tips to Know in 2023!
Plywood is an indispensable part of any woodworker’s arsenal. It is a composite material made of thin layers of wood veneer glued together.
Plywood is strong, lightweight, and affordable, making it an ideal material for various woodworking projects. With its ability to be cut, shaped, and formed into almost any shape, plywood can be used for furniture, cabinets, doors, and more.
Cutting plywood can be a challenge. However, hand saws are not always the most efficient way to make precise cuts, and power saws can be dangerous and difficult to use.
That’s why a Circular saw is an excellent tool for cutting plywood. The circular saw is designed to easily and safely make precise cuts in plywood and other materials.
It can make straight or curved cuts, and its adjustable blade depth allows for cutting into plywood up to 2.5 inches thick.
To help you understand better, we’ve written this blog post that goes into more detail about how we should use a circular saw to cut plywood. So let’s get started!
How to Cut Plywood with a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is an ideal tool for any woodworker looking for a fast and efficient way to cut plywood. This powerful, essential tool will get the job done quickly and safely, taking your projects to the next level.
7 Tips To Cut Plywood With A Circular Saw
- Place Plywood Sheets on the Floor for Full Support While Cutting
- Set the Blade Depth to Clear the Plywood Thickness
- For a Guide, Clamp on a Solid Straightedge
- Before Making the Cut, Test Guide for Accuracy
- Cut at a steady speed without stopping
- For a Better Cut, Choose a Blade with More Teeth
- Tape crosscuts to reduce splintering
1-Place Plywood Sheets on the Floor for Full Support While Cutting
When I need a perfectly smooth finish cut on an expensive sheet of plywood, I always cut it on the floor. This ensures the plywood won’t move while I’m cutting and that the cutoff piece won’t splinter or break off.
To make a stable base for the plywood, I lay 2x4s underneath it, perpendicular to the direction of the cut. The blade will slightly damage the 2x4s, but this won’t affect the quality of the cut.
This system works well for both rip cuts and crosscuts. The more stable the plywood, the better the cut.
2-Set the Blade Depth to Clear the Plywood Thickness
To achieve a smooth finish and minimize saw tooth marks, adjust the blade depth so that no more than half a carbide tooth extends below the plywood’s surface when cutting.
Check the blade for any chips, missing teeth, and wood pitch buildup, and note that, as a circular saw cuts on the upstroke, the top edge of the plywood may splinter slightly.
To avoid this, place the good side of the plywood down when cutting.
3-For a Guide, Clamp on a Solid Straightedge
When making long cuts, use the “factory cut” edge of a 3/4-inch. Plywood strip. This edge is usually perfectly straight, and the plywood will stay rigid and flat if it’s at least 12 in. wide. All you have to do is clamp the ends.
Clamping the straightedge in the right spot for an exact cut can be tricky. Measure the distance from the edge of the saw base to the blade, and add this measurement to the width of the cut.
Mark the plywood at each end, then clamp the straightedge at that spot. Make sure to consider the thickness of the blade when measuring for the desired piece, as this will ensure the accuracy of your cut.
For maximum stability and a smoother cut, let the bass shoe’s wide side rest on the cut’s guide side. This allows the smaller cutoff piece to shift aside, allowing you to make a clean cut without binding or obstruction.
4-Before Making the Cut, Test Guide for Accuracy
Start by drawing a fine pencil line, about 2 inches long, marking the desired width of the piece. Ensure the saw blade is spinning before pushing the base plate against the guide and nicking the plywood.
Accurately measure to the edge of the nick to verify your measurements. If adjustments need to be made, adjust the guide at both ends to ensure a straight cut.
Retest the guide until it is positioned correctly.
5-Cut at a steady speed without stopping
For a clean, seamless cut, make sure to keep the saw blade moving continuously throughout the entire length of the plywood. Pausing will leave a visible blade mark on the edge of the wood.
Sharp blades should cut through plywood with minimal force and feel like it is melting the wood away. If you find yourself pushing against considerable resistance, your blade is dull, or you are cutting too quickly.
Cutting too fast can lead to the wood ripping and tearing and will leave blade marks. Going too slowly can cause the blade to overheat and burn the wood.
To avoid the blade and burn marks, it is important to keep the saw moving, which is easier when cutting on the floor. This way, you can crawl across the plywood, keeping the saw in one fluid motion.
It is important to set enough slack on top of the plywood, so the saw plug does not catch on the wood’s edge and jerk the saw off the line or even unplug it.
Ensure that the saw is kept running until the cut is completed.
6-For a Better Cut, Choose a Blade with More Teeth
A sharp blade with more teeth will provide a smoother, more precise cut than one with fewer teeth.
Four 7-1/4-inch blades can make smooth rip cuts and good crosscuts in plywood.
The sharper the blade, the smoother the cut – and that’s why a 140-tooth plywood blade will provide a superior finish than the three carbide blades, even though it may dull faster.
The 40-tooth carbide blade is a good choice for most projects. For projects that need a lot of fine cuts in expensive plywood, the 56-tooth laminate-cutting blade is a better option. It can be found at hardware stores, home centers, or Woodworker’s Supply.
7-Tape crosscuts to reduce splintering
Crosscuts can splinter the top plywood veneer, even with a sharp blade. To avoid this, a laminate blade should be purchased.
Placing masking tape over the cutting line can reduce splintering for other blades. Make sure to peel the tape off carefully and away from the cut to avoid damaging the veneer.
Tape the bottom of the saw base to reduce scratches when cutting with the good side up.
By tapping along your crosscut line, you can prevent the formation of splinters and ensure a clean, precise cut.
Cutting plywood with a circular saw is a fast and effective way to make precise, smooth cuts in plywood and other materials.
Following these tips ensures that your project turns out just how you want it.
You now know to make your next project a success! So go ahead and get started.