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Cutting plywood...?

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Forum topic by BattleRidge posted 10-19-2018 03:10 AM 757 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BattleRidge

64 posts in 387 days


10-19-2018 03:10 AM

I would appreciate thoughts on a simple task – cutting plywood.

I am planning on building several cornhole boards 2’ x 4’ from 3/4” hardwood plywood 4’ x 8’ sheets. At about $50 / sheet, I don’t want to ruin any cuts and have waste in the process.

My first preference is to have the sheets cut at Lowe’s and I would appreciate any insight or experience anyone has with this. Basically are their cuts accurate with no to little tear out (and do they generally keep their blades in good condition)? I presume that if the cut isn’t satisfactory, I don’t have to purchase it.

My table saw is a contractor type model and while I have used it to cut full sheets of plywood before, it can be a bit awkward. The best blade I have for plywood would likely be a Diablo 60 Tooth Carbide Fine Finish Blade, though I also have an older (but barely used) Craftsman 64 Tooth Kromedge Master Combination Blade in my collection.

I don’t have a track saw, nor a guide for my older Craftsman circular saw, though it has a variety of different blades with various amounts of wear.

To illustrate the grain pattern I am seeking, envision the sheet being cut down the 8’ length (two pieces 2’ x 8’) and the 8’ lengths cut to result in 4’ lengths. The actual cut process wouldn’t necessarily be in that order though.

My budget has been strained with several big-ticket items this year so I’d prefer to do this as economically as possible – though I would still like a quality result. Maybe someday additional blades and/or a tracksaw will be in the budget, but if I can count on the borg for some cuts, it would be nice.

Thank you in advance.


23 replies so far

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

182 posts in 350 days


#1 posted 10-19-2018 03:22 AM

I wouldn’t trust HD or Lowe’s to cut a 2×4 much less plywood. Long time ago I asked them to cut a sheet, they missed by almost an inch.

If it were me, just use some clamps and a straight edge. Pretty accurate and easy. Or find a shop with proper equipment and is nice. Heck if your in southern IN I’d do it for a doughnut and a cup of coffee. :)

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lumbering_on

560 posts in 661 days


#2 posted 10-19-2018 03:29 AM



I wouldn’t trust HD or Lowe’s to cut a 2×4 much less plywood. Long time ago I asked them to cut a sheet, they missed by almost an inch.

If it were me, just use some clamps and a straight edge. Pretty accurate and easy. Or find a shop with proper equipment and is nice. Heck if your in southern IN I’d do it for a doughnut and a cup of coffee. :)

- CWWoodworking

I’m not sure how the US stores are run, but in Canada, they have signs in a lot of these big box stores telling you not to expect accurate cuts.

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CWWoodworking

182 posts in 350 days


#3 posted 10-19-2018 03:35 AM


I wouldn’t trust HD or Lowe’s to cut a 2×4 much less plywood. Long time ago I asked them to cut a sheet, they missed by almost an inch.

If it were me, just use some clamps and a straight edge. Pretty accurate and easy. Or find a shop with proper equipment and is nice. Heck if your in southern IN I’d do it for a doughnut and a cup of coffee. :)

- CWWoodworking

I m not sure how the US stores are run, but in Canada, they have signs in a lot of these big box stores telling you not to expect accurate cuts.

- lumbering_on

I consider 1/4” ok. Maybe even 1/2”. But an INCH? I honestly think I could eyeball it that close. Lol

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TheFridge

10499 posts in 1657 days


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

I used to have them break it down with a cut or 2. From there it wasn’t too bad on a contractors saw.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Rich

3751 posts in 761 days


#5 posted 10-19-2018 04:39 AM

It’s going to vary store to store. Depending on how sharp their blade is and how much the employee gives a crap, you will get mixed results. I also have never had Lowes cut for me, only HD.

That said, I never hesitate to have them break down sheets for me. Cutting a sheet of plywood into fourths is a no-brainer as long as you are going to be squaring and trimming the edges yourself later.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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tomsteve

844 posts in 1391 days


#6 posted 10-19-2018 12:38 PM

ive had HD cut sheets to 4’ wide the rip to width on my TS when i made a crapton of cornhole boards. ripped to 23 7/8” as kerf takes away a bit. kept pieces from each 4 by 4 together so lengths matched.

keep the cuts right so tearout goes down and hidden by the frame of the boards.

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SMP

76 posts in 77 days


#7 posted 10-19-2018 12:49 PM

If you go to HD, have them set the panel saw slightly less than half a sheet. Make sure they hold the wood flat to back, otherwise they tend to cut at an angle as they usually set it with the bottom angled towards the front. Then when they rip the sheet it will be slightly less than half. Then ask them to run the top part through(which is bigger) and then at least they will be ripped to the same width. They may charge you $0.50 or so for the “extra cut” but no biggie. That makes it easier to crosscut yourself also.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5048 posts in 2523 days


#8 posted 10-19-2018 01:44 PM

Change the dimensions of your cornhole boards to slightly smaller. That will account for kerf and trim. I personally never have the BORG break down my sheet goods, but I can run full sheets through my table saw. I used to have to break them down with a circular saw and a straight edge then clean up the edges on the TS, a little more time consuming but the results are good.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Steve's profile

Steve

661 posts in 754 days


#9 posted 10-19-2018 02:12 PM

You can actually buy the cornhole top boards already cut and drilled out. Might be the easiest way to go for you.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/PureBond-1-2-in-x-2-ft-x-4-ft-Maple-Plywood-Corn-Hole-Board-Top-3554/207003929

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BroncoBrian

831 posts in 2130 days


#10 posted 10-19-2018 03:12 PM



You can actually buy the cornhole top boards already cut and drilled out. Might be the easiest way to go for you.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/PureBond-1-2-in-x-2-ft-x-4-ft-Maple-Plywood-Corn-Hole-Board-Top-3554/207003929

- Steve

Brilliant. Why bother if that is available. No way it will be worth your time.

-- I think they could take sesame seeds off the market and I wouldn't even care. I can't imagine five years from now saying, "Man, remember sesame seeds? What happened? All the buns are blank."

View xeddog's profile

xeddog

207 posts in 3179 days


#11 posted 10-19-2018 03:30 PM



If it were me, just use some clamps and a straight edge. Pretty accurate and easy. Or find a shop with proper equipment and is nice. Heck if your in southern IN I’d do it for a doughnut and a cup of coffee. :)

- CWWoodworking


$20 seems a little steep just to cut one board. :-)

Wayne

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Rayne

1091 posts in 1711 days


#12 posted 10-19-2018 04:22 PM

If you really want a straight cut, use 2 straight edge like how I did. The saw had nowhere to move and it was a nice, straight line.

View Smirak's profile

Smirak

76 posts in 690 days


#13 posted 10-19-2018 08:28 PM

One thing to keep in mind is to make your frames to the dimensions of your cut plywood. Don’t make your frames 2×4 and then expect a 4×8 sheet to have 2 cuts that will fit on a premade 2×4 frame. Ask me how I know…

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

206 posts in 82 days


#14 posted 10-20-2018 02:37 AM

The amount of teeth on the blade does make a difference on tear out. My table saw & miter saw both have a 80 tooth blades in them. I realize most woodworkers prefer the 10” in 30 to 40 tooth blades. Lowes do cut for free when you buy the sheets from them. If you want, clamp a board as a guide to the sheet and run your skill saw. You can use your 60 or 64 tooth blade. It also helps to feed your saw slower to help from tear out issues.

View BattleRidge's profile

BattleRidge

64 posts in 387 days


#15 posted 10-20-2018 02:38 AM

I appreciate the feedback thus far and am still educating myself and contemplating.

The “official” cornhole specs are for a board 47.5” to 48” x 23.5” to 24” so there is a built in allowance for cutting. I plan on simply cutting (or having cut) through the center of each board which should fit the required specs.

Lowe’s (and Home Depot) have been okay overall for most things, but again, they are what they are and results may vary. Since you don’t pay until at the check-out, should they provide a cut that isn’t satisfactory, you aren’t actually stuck with it and can simply leave it in the store – still though I don’t want to do that. If I do decide to have the boards cut, I likely won’t actually make my final decision until I am at the store and speak with the person that will be doing the cutting first – and then evaluating the initial cut before going further.

I have been partial to doing things myself – and doing it right – but at the same time cost is a factor. A track saw or new table saw is pretty much out of the picture at this point, the cost of a better / more appropriate blade is possible, a foam insulation board for a cutting surface is doable, blue painters tape no problem, zero clearance insert not a biggie, the cost of a shop-made guide / straight edge can be workable, and positioning & getting the cut right and ‘hiding’ any tear-out against the frame is very much worth the effort.

In regard to the pre-cut tops, it would certainly make the task easier and quicker, but my plans are to initially make four sets (8 boards) which would result in the cost being a little over $40 more. Being retired, time fits into the scheme of things better than the additional cost and I would rather spend the time enjoying my woodworking hobby and save the $$ to put it toward shop goodies that I can use on multiple projects and long into the future. Additionally, I would like the top to be 3/4” vs the 1/2” of the precut boards to limit the bounce, though both fit the cornhole specs if the 1/2” board has a cross support installed).

This will be a multi-step process and once the top is cut, more will follow – methods subject to change…

For the hole I may make a jig and use a router to cut the opening.

For the frame, I am looking at 2×4’s, jointing the edge that will adjoin the plywood (and possibly the outside surface for
appearance too), then connecting with glue and pocket hole screws to provide a clean and smooth appearance.

For the legs, 2×4’s fastened with 3/8” carriage bolts, washers and lock nuts.

Finish will be a combination of stain and paint – details to be determined.

Canvas duck bags probably filled with resin / plastic synthetic corn vs real corn (to limit vermin problems, moisture worries, mold and deterioration concerns).

Thank you to all who have replied and the input has been quite helpful. I’d like to have everything in order before starting and all that you have shared is very much contributing to it.

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