Hello, fellow carpenters and DIY enthusiasts! I’m Thomas, your go-to guy for all things carpentry. Today, we’re diving into the world of plywood, a material as versatile as it is ubiquitous. Whether it’s for wall cladding, flooring, or crafting custom furniture, plywood is there for you. But here’s the million-dollar question: when cutting plywood, what type of saw blade should you use?
The Ideal Saw Blade for Plywood
Want to avoid those pesky chips and prevent your plywood from splintering? My top recommendation is an 80-tooth blade. Designed specifically for sheet materials, this blade features small teeth that minimize chipping and deliver a silky-smooth cut.
Despite its many uses, plywood is a delicate material, and cutting it requires attention to detail. The right blade and cutting speed are crucial to avoid ruining your material. But worry not, I’m here to guide you through it all!
Understanding Plywood and Its Cutting Dynamics
Plywood is likely a familiar sight to most of you, but do you know what it’s made of and how it behaves under the saw? Surprise, surprise, plywood is an engineered wood product. It’s crafted from several layers of wood, known as ‘plies’, bonded together to create a strong, flat sheet. These plies come from various types of wood, ranging from softwoods like pine and cedar to hardwoods like oak and mahogany.
The right blade is paramount for a flawless cut in plywood. Despite being made from hardwood at times, plywood is generally softer than solid hardwoods, making the choice of blade all the more critical. An 80-tooth cross-cutting table saw blade is your best friend here, taking fine cuts instead of aggressive, tear-out-prone bites.
Getting the Perfect Cut
Don’t have an 80-tooth blade handy? A 60-tooth blade can also work wonders. Both are engineered to tackle woods prone to splintering, tearing, or chipping. However, for the best results, an 80-tooth blade, with its specialized “Triple Chip Grind,” is your go-to choice for materials like plywood, chipboard, and melamine.
Enhancing Your Plywood Cutting Technique
Beyond the blade, there are other tactics to enhance your plywood cutting experience:
- Raise Your Blade: A slightly raised blade applies pressure on the plywood’s top face, promoting a cleaner cut.
- Zero Clearance Insert: This accessory eliminates instability near the blade, ensuring tear-free cuts.
- Tape It Up: Use blue painter’s tape along the cutting edge to prevent tiny fiber tear-outs.
- Outside Support for Plywood: Ensure adequate support at the outfeed, using rollers to prevent bending.
- Don’t Leave Your Fence Post: Keep the plywood firmly against the fence while cutting for a straight, tear-free cut.
Key Carpentry Tips
|80-tooth cross-cutting blade
|Raising the Blade
|Apply pressure on the top face for cleaner cuts
|Zero Clearance Insert
|Provides stability and prevents tear-out
|Taping the Edge
|Prevents tiny fiber tear-outs
|Prevents bending during cutting
|Fence Post Attention
|Keeps cut straight and free of tear-out