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Forum topic by Carrolls3 posted 09-28-2015 07:27 PM 973 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 995 days

09-28-2015 07:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood tool

I am completely new to this and need guidance on what tool I’m looking for. I want to be able to cut 1/4 in plywood into shapes that are about 20inches wide and about 25-30 inches long. I have a scroll saw that I’ve been using for these huge pieces but I really wanted something that was quicker. I also want to have more precison and have the options of doing the cursive monograms. Any help?

11 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29385 posts in 2362 days

#1 posted 09-28-2015 07:33 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

It’s tough with wide and long. Thin plywood can be a pain to handle. I assume that the pieces aren’t straight cuts or a tablesaw would be obvious. A bandsaw is probably the next best option, but won’t handle the width. That brings you to jigsaw or hand saws.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2538 days

#2 posted 09-28-2015 07:37 PM

+1 for Monte. And welcome!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View HokieKen's profile


5216 posts in 1162 days

#3 posted 09-28-2015 07:50 PM

Welcome to LJs.

Like Monte said, Table Saw is the obvious choice for cutting to size. Build a simple sled for crosscutting to size. However, that neglects the ability to do monograms. Your scroll saw is the best tool for that. If you want 1 tool to do it all, the only thing I can think of is a jig saw. Use a straight edge to guide the saw for cutting to size and free-hand the monograms. I don’t know how many of the parts you have to cut, but depending on your location, you can probably find either an individual or a business that will cut them to size for you for a small fee. Then you can do the scroll work yourself. A post on LJs may find you someone in your area that would be willing to cut the sheets down for you.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Carrolls3's profile


3 posts in 995 days

#4 posted 09-28-2015 07:52 PM

Thank you! Yes these are different shapes. If I wanted something that would cut large quantities quickly, would I be looking at a router?

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 3028 days

#5 posted 09-28-2015 09:18 PM

I can’t see that a router would be faster than a jig saw with a good blade.

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2714 days

#6 posted 09-28-2015 09:23 PM

+1 for Monte. And welcome!

- Tennessee

And one more + for the Jig Saw.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3766 days

#7 posted 09-28-2015 10:00 PM

the bandsaw would be quicker – - but you will still need the scroll saw to make the interior cuts like the center of the “O” “P” “Q” “A” etc.

Nothing will be more precise than your scroll saw. Unless you move to either a CNC cutter system like Onsrud, or a large Laser engraver
like this: but I know NOTHING about the company/quality/service etc.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Planeman40's profile


1179 posts in 2784 days

#8 posted 09-29-2015 06:17 PM

“If I wanted something that would cut large quantities quickly, would I be looking at a router?”

It sounds like you are going into limited production of some kind. Is this so? If this is true, the best way as I see it is to (1) cut the 1/4” plywood sheets to squares just large enough to accomodate your design, stack the squares together and clamp, spot glue, or pin them together at the corners. The height of the stack will be determined by the length of the router bit you will use. Make a 3/4” thick plywood pattern of your design and sand the edges smoothly. Mount the stacked plywood to the pattern and use a router with a straight cutter and a ball bearing guide like this one ( to follow your pattern and cut out the design.

There are many variations to the method to deal with various needs and problems, but the above should give you the idea. The number of pieces of plywood in a stack would be limited by the length of the cutter. There are longer and larger cutters and they, of course require larger and more expensive routers. Then you can get into floor mounted shapers for even larger stacks, but that’s another story.

Good luck! And don’t be embarrassed to ask more questions. Suggestion – search “pattern routing” on the internet. there is most likely a YouTube instruction video available.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Carrolls3's profile


3 posts in 995 days

#9 posted 09-30-2015 10:16 AM

do you have expirence with a CNc cutter system or laser cutter? That was my next question. A listing for a monogram door hanger I looked at said they used mfd board and a laser cutter. I really want to use wood instead, but am curious to these 2 options. what are the differences? And where to even begin in shopping knowing I want to do a larger size.

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2320 days

#10 posted 09-30-2015 12:19 PM

No one mentioned how much tearout (ragged splintery edges) you will have with 1/4 plywood – there will be a lot unless you use a very high speed and fine blade. If you stack a couple sheets so that you are cutting through a half inch at a time the top sheet will have very little tearout and the bottom sheet more. It will also cut a bit slower but may save time in the long run.

I vote for a QUALITY jigsaw like a Bosch and the thinnest finest blade you can get. Go to Lowes or the Home Depot and look at jigsaws and pick them up and feel them. I personally think the barrel type grip give you more control and is less tiring to use.

View rwe2156's profile


2962 posts in 1504 days

#11 posted 09-30-2015 07:02 PM


Bosch or DeWalt.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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