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Complicated Project.... Which tool would you use?

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Forum topic by twenty5 posted 04-18-2018 03:04 PM 582 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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twenty5

3 posts in 91 days


04-18-2018 03:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: baltic birch plywood jig question router track saw circular saw

Hey guys, I have read a lot of information here over the last couple of years and this forum has helped me with a ton of projects. Most questions I have had were answered with a search but this one has me stumped. I apologize if this is the incorrect forum for this question.

What I would like to do is to take a 5’x5’x3/4” sheet of Baltic Birch and score a grid pattern into it. Basically starting at one end, it would be a 1” space, then 1/8”+/- wide x 1/4” deep cut, followed by a 1” space and continue the pattern through the remainder of the sheet. Then rotate the board 90 degrees and run the same pattern in the opposite direction. This would give basically a checkerboard of 1” squares separated by 1/8”x1/4” deep lines.

My question is; how would you guys go about this and what tool would you think would make for the most accurate/clean cuts?

I was thinking of a router with some kind of jig or using a circular saw with a diy straight edge jig. I do not have a track saw but if that ends up being the best option, it is something I have been looking for an excuse to buy. My table saw is not great but even if it was a 5’x5’ sheet is going to be too much to handle.

I hope a couple of you seasoned guys have an opinion or two on how to do this as I have been scratching my head for a while.

Thanks!!


13 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

5635 posts in 2318 days


#1 posted 04-18-2018 03:14 PM

A router with a bit design of your choice and a clamped straight edge might be an option.

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

120 posts in 583 days


#2 posted 04-18-2018 03:33 PM

I would get the first groove cut on 2 perpendicular sides first. Then I would make a temporary base for a trim router with a spline sized to fit the groove that is spaced the 1” away from a 1/8” spiral bit. Same concept as a box join jig except you are moving the tool rather than the work.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

8007 posts in 2202 days


#3 posted 04-18-2018 03:45 PM

Set up infeed and outfeed tables for your table saw. Should make quick work of it. Set the fence to 1”, then cut it once on all 4 sides. Move the fence an inch, cut all 4 sides. Do it until you get into the center. Easiest way to do it.

If you didn’t want to do that, then a router jig like Rob suggests.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12026 posts in 2432 days


#4 posted 04-18-2018 03:47 PM

If you are going for best appearance, I agree with Rob.

I’ve done it on the tablesaw, run adjacent sides, move the fence, run adjacent sides, move the fence… etc. But you’ll need a FTG blade.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View twenty5's profile

twenty5

3 posts in 91 days


#5 posted 04-18-2018 04:02 PM

I said my table saw was not great but what I should have said is that my table saw is a cheap contractor saw that has seen much better days.

I like the idea of a router jig with a spline. If I take the time to set that up correctly the first time, it should be a set it and forget it kind of deal.

I assume a down cut router bit is what I would be using?

View Lee's profile

Lee

118 posts in 930 days


#6 posted 04-18-2018 07:26 PM

Did you take into consideration the saw curf on your spacing, it wont come out even over a 60” board, if you dont have to have 60” then just cut off what is left. without a table saw I like the router jig and spline too.

-- Colombia Custom Woodworking

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

6946 posts in 3420 days


#7 posted 04-18-2018 09:40 PM

I have to agree with BurlyBob in using a router and straight edge.
A down cut bit will reduce veneer tearout but you are going fairly deep and a down cut bit does not remove the chips out of the cut. Perhaps two routers, one with the downcut bit followed by one with an upcut bit.

With a router you can also select the groove profile, square, tapered ball end, round, etc.

You could also use a thin kerf saw blade but the tearout would raise hell and grain.
Another way would be a large bed CNC … !

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Loren's profile

Loren

10476 posts in 3700 days


#8 posted 04-18-2018 10:15 PM

I think it will be awkward to slide a router base
in a groove like that. A straight board could have
a spline attached and that would be clamped in
place to rout the next groove.

I think a router will be quite a slow way to do it
though. You can use a circular saw with an edge
guide to score the cut line at perhaps 1mm deep
before cutting deeper. Some people pull the saw
backwards on the scoring cut, reset to full depth
and then cut forwards.

Doing something like gluing newsprint to the surface
and then sanding it off when the cuts are done might
help with cross grain chipping. Some track saw
systems have an anti-chip system that works on both
sides of the blade: the Festool TS55 and the Ez-smart
system. The Makita has a scoring function that
shifts the blade sideways a fraction of a millimeter for
the scoring cut, but this way of doing it results in a
“good” edge and a waste edge.

I would probably draw it out and use a track saw.
I’d test the newsprint trick first. I’ve never done it
but I’ve cut materials that have a plastic peel off
layer that seems to prevent chipping somewhat.
Some guys lay down masking tape on every cut
line in chip-prone stuff. The paper could be glued
on with a glue that dissolves easily with water,
like flour paste or something. I fooled around once
with sealing pores to make a drum head using
paste I made from overcooked rice. I think such
pastes could be loosened with hot steam.

You could also in addition to any of these saw methods
make a scoring tool with a pair of blades to sever
the cross grain. I once read an article where the
woodworker had attached a pair of Olfa-type rotary
cutter blades in front of his table saw blade to
score material. That’s what gave me the idea,
but it’s still in the head-scratching stage for me.

View jbay's profile

jbay

2421 posts in 951 days


#9 posted 04-18-2018 11:14 PM

Probably go with the track saw.

No one has mentioned blow out at the intersections.

I would cut all the cross grain cuts first, then with the grain last.
This would help prevent the splintering when the blade crosses the grooves.

I might even go as far as cutting all the grooves the one direction, the putting in 1/8×1/4 strips into the cut grooves before crossing the cuts the opposite direction.

You also really need to do your layout work to accurately determine how your squares will end up positioned on the board.

View BFamous's profile

BFamous

143 posts in 173 days


#10 posted 04-19-2018 12:56 AM

I would most likely go with the circular saw.

Start by laying out your grid with blue painters tape to reduce/eliminate tear out. At 1” squares, you’ll basically be covering the entire face…

Then, I’d create a jig to screw onto my circular saw base that has a 1/8” wide guide set 1” from my blade. This guide could then be used for the first cut on each side, and every ensuing cut. Leaving you with perfect 1” squares.

Alternatively, assuming one side of your circular saw has a 1” offset between the blade and the base, you could also get a 1/8” x 1/2” piece of spline 60” long and stick it in the first cut as a guide fence, make the second cut, put the spline in the second cut, make the third cut, etc… The spline should give you enough of a lip (1/4”) to run the circular saw up against and give you straight, evenly spaced lines.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

View caboxmaker's profile

caboxmaker

281 posts in 440 days


#11 posted 04-19-2018 03:57 AM

twenty5, what are you building?

View twenty5's profile

twenty5

3 posts in 91 days


#12 posted 04-19-2018 12:45 PM

It is going to be used for a piece of artwork. It will eventually be stained and finished with polyurethane (or something else??). The entire thing will be exposed, so the cleaner the cut the better. I will post up a photo when it is completed.

I ended up purchasing a DeWalt track saw with 55” and 102” rails, if I don’t end up using it for this project it was something I wanted anyway. I have an idea on how to make a router base plate with spline but am now worried about tear out at intersections.

I do know that the finished piece will be smaller than 5×5. One benefit of not cutting from 4 sides would be I can make my cutoff as the last cut, that way if I am off a hair here or there it will not be noticeable.

View bluethundra's profile

bluethundra

27 posts in 869 days


#13 posted 04-19-2018 09:28 PM

I think the Track Saw will work very well for this project.


It is going to be used for a piece of artwork. It will eventually be stained and finished with polyurethane (or something else??). The entire thing will be exposed, so the cleaner the cut the better. I will post up a photo when it is completed.

I ended up purchasing a DeWalt track saw with 55” and 102” rails, if I don t end up using it for this project it was something I wanted anyway. I have an idea on how to make a router base plate with spline but am now worried about tear out at intersections.

I do know that the finished piece will be smaller than 5×5. One benefit of not cutting from 4 sides would be I can make my cutoff as the last cut, that way if I am off a hair here or there it will not be noticeable.

- twenty5


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