Cutting Plywood - Final Cuts


After making preliminary rough cuts to your plywood (see Cutting Plywood - Rough Cuts), the next step is to trim each piece to final size. This calls for a series of cuts.


Trim Factory Edges: Although you can usually count on this edge to be straight and true, it often gets dented or nicked. So I usually trim off a bit of the edge.

To do this, adjust the rip fence on the table saw to make an extrawide cut, as you can see in Fig.1. Then, after readjusting the fence, run the "just-cut" edge against it to rip the piece to final width. One thing that’s different here is the blade on the table saw cuts on the downstroke. So make sure the "good" side of the plywood faces up.

Make a Double Pass: It's also a good idea to make a shallow pass first, then follow it up with a full-depth cut, as shown in theFig.1 detail.

Use a Crosscut Sled: There's another situation that often comes up when cutting pieces to final size - crosscutting a wide piece. The problem is that a wide piece extends too far out in front of the table saw at the beginning of a cut. This means that the bar of the miter gauge isn't fully supported in the slot in the saw table.

The solution is to use a large sliding platform that provides extra support for the workpiece (Fig.2).

Use a Router: Sometimes a workpiece is too wide even for the crosscut sled. That’s when a hand-held router and a flush trim bit come in handy. The idea here is to first clamp a straightedge to the workpiece so it aligns with the layout line, as illustrated in Fig.3. When you run the bearing of the flush trim bit against the straightedge, the bit cuts a clean, crisp edge.




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