If planning on carrying out any form of carpentry or construction work, cutting plywood is something that you cannot avoid. While plywood is commonly used, it is challenging to cut this form of wood, especially if you lack ideal tools. One of the best tools to use when cutting plywood is a table saw blade.
The following are tips on how to cut plywood with a table saw-
Choose the right type of saw blade
To get a clean and smooth cut from a table saw, you need to invest in the right blade, the one with a high tooth count. Buying a blade with 80 TPI plywood blades is of a great deal as they are the best. Majority of the table saw blades are great to cut rough materials, but may not give a clean cut when it comes to plywood. There are also blades that are labeled plywood cuts, but you need to make sure that they have the right tooth count.
Also, blades come in different sizes, and so you need to invest in the one that fit your table saw.
You should not stick to the blade that came with your saw since they wear out with time; otherwise, you may end up with splintered ends, commonly known as tear-outs.
Raise the blade
After getting the right type of blade, raise the blade to change direction in which the teeth enter the wood. When the saw blades are raised a bit ensuring that the blade barely cut through the surface, the blade’s teeth enter the plywood at an angle. By raising the blade higher, you get a straight cut that makes a smooth surface.
You should never raise a blade above one inch above the plywood you intend to cut. While a raised blade can make a cleaner cut, it is also a very dangerous cut. If you decide to cut with a raised blade, you should be very cautious when cutting.
Use a zero-clearance insert
Table saws may have a gap between the blade as well as the throat plate where the blades sit. What a zero-clearance insert does is that it closes the gap and supports the sheet, thus making a clean cut. The throat plate is available online or at your local hardware store.
However, you can make your own by first setting a piece of plywood into a working table making sure that it does not slip away from your hands. Once the blade is through, clamp down the insert. To cut clean cuts, ensure that whatever you decide to cut is not unsupported on the other side.
Supporting the entire sheet
Large pieces of plywood are hefty. With that in mind, when cutting them with a table saw blade, keep it flat before you start cutting. Make sure you stabilize the sheet on sawhorses, or you can even ask a friend to help you hold the sheet steady. You can choose to cut plywood without a table saw, with the use of a circular saw to make the sheet manageable.
Supporting the entire sheet ensures a steady feed rate, which is the speed you run the plywood through the table saw.
Tape off the cut mark
You can use a low-adhesion tape like a painter tape on both sides of the sheet to hold the wood fibers in place and prevent the edges from splintering when cutting. Plywood does not have tight wood fibers, and if you are not careful, you might ruin the entire sheet. Once you are done the cutting, you can now remove the tape slowly to avoid splintering it.
Once you tape-off your plywood sheet, you are now able to cut without having to worry about splintering and so you will get a smooth cut.
Cut the plywood with a good face-up
If thinking of how to cut plywood without splintering, lay your plywood on your table saw with a good face up. Your saw’s teeth will enter the plywood from the top and exit from the bottom side of the plywood.
Some tear out, or splintering might occur in the area where the saw exits from if you do not keep a good face-up.
Making the cut
Another great tip on how to cut plywood without chipping and make a smooth cut, hold your plywood steady and keep it pressed steadily against the fence, which is the straight edge of your saw. Use your hands to direct the plywood through the blade.
Use the hand close to the blade to push the material forward towards the blade and the other hand to press the plywood towards the cut line. As you near the end of the cut, remove your hand to have them on the other side of the blade. Now, carefully push the rest of the plywood through the blade.
To stay safe, work carefully and keep your hands away from the blade.
Cutting plywood with a table saw is not as hard as some people thought. As long as your machine is fully functional, you will get a smooth cut. Just follow the above steps and become a guru when it comes to cutting plywood with a table saw blade!