Beauty and the Beast {Cutting Plywood Part 2}

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Woodworking Tutorials

Look at my Beauty.  She’s so pretty and clean and she doesn’t bite.

And here’s the Beast that I need to tame:

The Beast

Like all fairy tales, this too has a happy ending.  I made two of the straight edge cutting jigs for the circular saw yesterday like these here.

I used 1/2″ plywood and S4S 1x4s (so I could get a nice, smooth, straight edge).  I had the store cut the plywood at 12″ down the 8′ side for the longer jig.  Then cut it again on the 3′ side at 12″ for a shorter jig.  That means you need an 8′ 1×4 and at least a 3′ 1×4 .  I decided to use 2x4s for the support surface and I bought 5 of these.

Make sure you have a good blade to use too.  This is what I used for the jigs and it worked great for the cuts with the grain (ripping).  The more teeth that the blade has, the smoother the cut.  But you also have to keep going at a decent rate or the blade heats up and burns the wood.  I have to say that there was some burn smell in the garage when I was done, even with the 40T, so it was a good decision for me to not go any higher on number of teeth.

I plan to use tape on crosscuts (perpendicular to the grain) because they tend to rip the veneer like this crosscut that the store made.  I hope the tape works with the 40T.

You’ll need wood glue and about 15  1″ screws.

Mark a line down the longer edges of both plywood pieces 1.5″ from the edge.  Cut your shorter 1×4 down to the exact length of your shorter plywood piece (long edge).  Apply glue to the 1x4s.

Clamp the 1×4 to the plywood with the plywood lined up exactly on your scribed line.

Screw the two together–I used a countersink bit, but that probably isn’t necessary.  You might want to predrill though.  The article said that you would screw from the plywood side into the 1×4, because you want to screw through the thinner piece into the thicker.  I didn’t do that and won’t know if I’ll regret that until I’ve used it.  My thought was that I used glue with the screws, so it should hold.

I used about 10 screws on the 8′ jig and around 5 on the 3′ jig.

When making a cut, you want your saw blade to just clear the material by no more than half of a blade tip (at least that’s what I hear).  Make sure the saw is unplugged!

Now you run the circular saw down the wider side of the jig.  Make sure you have the saw snug against the 1×4 edge for the entire length of the cut.  This will be the edge you use on future cuts.  You are creating an edge that you will line up with your cut line.  This jig is specific for your particular saw, eliminating the math you need to do by just clamping a 1×4 to your plywood and then figuring out how far back you need it to be to account for the distance from the saw blade to the edge of your saw’s plate.

The finished jigs!

Now I haven’t gotten to actually use them, but even making them has gotten me comfortable using the circular saw.  WELL, as comfortable as you can be with something that can cut off digits.  I did make some practice cuts on smaller pieces of wood clamped to my workbench before tackling the jigs.

I will be using these jigs later this week to cut the pieces for the cabinet and shelving unit I’ll be building for the laundry room.  Can’t wait to get started on it!  Hopefully it will be a Happily Ever After relationship between My Beauty and The Beast.

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