Cutting Cheap Paneling

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Forum topic by patcollins posted 02-07-2012 02:15 AM 15155 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1687 posts in 3105 days

02-07-2012 02:15 AM

Well its not exactly wood, maybe something close to MDF. I cut off a 10 inch piece because my garage needs 8’ 10” to reach the ceiling and i got tearing from the cutoff piece.

My idea is to get a 8’x4’ sacrificial piece of particle board or whatever is the cheapest thing lowes has and just cut on top of this setting the saw blade just deep enough to ensure the paneling is cut through. I also thought about scoring it with a utility knife but I never had much luck keeping a straight line with a utility knife.

Your thoughts?

16 replies so far

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1687 posts in 3105 days

#1 posted 02-07-2012 02:17 AM

Hmm the picture didnt show up

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#2 posted 02-07-2012 02:22 AM

Cut it face down with a hand held circular saw running against a straight edge?

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1687 posts in 3105 days

#3 posted 02-07-2012 02:24 AM

Thats what i was doing, it tore under its own weight after i got about 3/4 of the way through.

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2544 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 02-07-2012 02:28 AM

Go with your original plan then, as long s it’s supported, that break off won’t happen.

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573 posts in 2551 days

#5 posted 02-07-2012 02:28 AM

that looks like bigger tearing than you would get from the saw blade. Did the cut off piece fall down before you were ready to catch it? Did you let it fall free?

You could put some masking tape along where the cut line will be, then make the cut. Support the piece fully. I’ve seen it lay on top of a sheet of 2 inch rigid insulation, just let the saw blade cut down into the blue foam board.

Clamp it to a 1×4 or 2×4, and let the sawblade cut into that board.

It might help if you run the saw blade deeper. And as was mentioned, try cutting face down (or – face up if you started the other way).

-- Dan V. in Indy

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1880 posts in 3800 days

#6 posted 02-07-2012 02:33 AM

What Dan said, especially the part about laying it on a sheet of insulation such as stryro foam. (Lay the foam on the floor.)

-- Joe

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117417 posts in 3817 days

#7 posted 02-07-2012 02:35 AM

Many times when I have results like this I find it’s the nut behind the wheel’s falt LOL I think all the about comments may apply.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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4526 posts in 3982 days

#8 posted 02-07-2012 02:35 AM

To support it – I use some blue painters tape and lay it on top of a chunk of foam insulation – the blade wont be damaged by the foam, and the surface stays pressed against the foam – - much like a zero clearance insert.

EDIT….just like Dan said

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

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1687 posts in 3105 days

#9 posted 02-07-2012 03:24 AM

OOO I never thought of foam, thanks guys.

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#10 posted 02-07-2012 05:49 AM

I would cut it with my router. I would use a 3/8” straight carbide bit and run the router along an edge board for a guide’ You can cut from eather side.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

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22016 posts in 2923 days

#11 posted 02-07-2012 05:59 AM

I used to cut that cheap paneling all the time ( mobile home stuff, none cheaper) and a straightedge and a sharp knife was all i really needed. About three trips along the edge, and I was through. If you want, you can even make it a bevel cut , as in “back-bevel”, so when the two pieces meet, the joint won’t show. Just tilt the knife a bit as you travel along that steel straightedge. No powered tool needed, but you might want a block plane for final clean up.

That first pass along should just score the paneling, the next two will follow the scored line. A nice thick straight edge works better than a thin one. Any unevenness in the cut will be taken care of with the block plane.

IF you must use a circ. saw, use a cheap “plywood” blade on it. Just my $.02 worth….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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1854 posts in 2556 days

#12 posted 02-07-2012 07:23 AM

Here’s a nice jig for a circular saw that helps align cuts and minimizes tearout.

Just make the plywood base oversized and rip it to the right width with the saw after the fence has been attached.

-- See my work at and

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Bill White

5149 posts in 4200 days

#13 posted 02-07-2012 04:27 PM

What blade are ya using? A fine tooth blade?
I use a jig shown by JAAune and a “ply tooth” blade with good results.


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1687 posts in 3105 days

#14 posted 02-11-2012 12:56 AM

I have a jig like that btw, the tearing was caused by the paneling not being supported and tearing under the weight of itself.

I cut some more today but it was on top of a piece of OSB, that was the cheapest 8×4 stuff Lowes had at $8 a sheet. The cuts came out great, Im using a 40 tooth finish blade btw.

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2544 posts in 3209 days

#15 posted 02-11-2012 01:14 AM

Glad you got this sorted out. There’s a simple solution to most problems we experience making things, cut away the BS of NSTF and is a place where you will find an answer for almost anything.

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