skilsaw for cutting down panels?

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Forum topic by daddywoofdawg posted 02-02-2014 12:43 PM 1250 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1028 posts in 1569 days

02-02-2014 12:43 PM

I use a 7 1/4” skilsaw to cut the panels down to size.My question is would I be better to get a smaller 5 3/8” or a 4.5”VersaCut Circular Saw? I only would use it for 3/4” and down sheets.

12 replies so far

View Skippy906's profile


121 posts in 1981 days

#1 posted 02-02-2014 01:37 PM

I use a festol ts-55 for cutting up my ply. Love it, well worth the money I spent for it. After I cut with that saw, it is down to finished size. Anyway, I do not see a reason you could not go to a smaller saw for cutting ply, just make sure it will have the power that you need, and the lighter weight will be a benefit too.

-- Making progress

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10477 posts in 3423 days

#2 posted 02-02-2014 02:18 PM

I have a little Skil saw. Probably a 5” blade. Been so long since I’ve used it the blade size escapes me. It’s underpowered for 3/4”. My go to saw system for plywood is a Skil 77 and a shop made track saw. The weight is not negligible but it’s always resting on the work, so not a problem. I like the heft, except when picking it up off the floor!
The most important part of any system for cutting plywood is a good blade and tooth pattern to match the work. IMO, size is way down the list of important considerations.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View MJCD's profile


541 posts in 2365 days

#3 posted 02-02-2014 02:41 PM

I use a 6” SawBoss (9amp, Porter-Cable) as my primary saw – it’s great for ripping and crosscutting plywood, and for quick cut-offs on dimensional lumber. The saw is light, powerful (enough) and provides a nice edge.

The whole 7 1/4” blade, 13-15 amp idea is steeped in Construction/Contractor history: a 45 degree miter on a 2×4 – very few need this capability, but companies continue to grind-out these tools. Buy something lighter, less expensive – but not CHEAP! Home Depot has become the ”$29 will buy you a tool’ company.


-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

View dhazelton's profile


2766 posts in 2291 days

#4 posted 02-02-2014 02:50 PM

Buy (or make) a speed square for cross cuts. Two clamps and a straight edge make for accurate rips. Now you have what you can do with a table saw and you’ll keep all your digits.

View dhazelton's profile


2766 posts in 2291 days

#5 posted 02-02-2014 06:13 PM

IGNORE my comment above – I thought I was posting to the guy who wanted to make his own table saw from an upside down skilsaw. Sorry….

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2687 days

#6 posted 02-02-2014 07:00 PM

You have a tool that works. Is it that you just want to buy a new tool?

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View dhazelton's profile


2766 posts in 2291 days

#7 posted 02-03-2014 01:02 AM

I had a 6 1/2 inch Skilsaw that I loved, but the bearings went and I tried to pull it apart myself and long story short I don’t think they make it anymore. I don’t know why you would need anything other than a 7 1/4 now. You can get every blade type under the sun and they will probably be the cheapest version of them.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1569 days

#8 posted 02-03-2014 07:27 AM

The saw I have is fine,It’s just heavy,So I have seen the smaller saws and thought this might be nice to tame ply sheets.I have a 7 1/4 and a compound for cutting dimensional lumber.I just like something lighter I.e to me more control.

View dhazelton's profile


2766 posts in 2291 days

#9 posted 02-03-2014 02:34 PM

Ridgid had a 6 1/2 inch corded for a while. Lots of blade options there as well.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3736 days

#10 posted 02-03-2014 04:21 PM

I think there are a lot of good saws out there.

I don’t believe that you will get any “Better” results with a smaller saw. But you may find the smaller lighter saw more convenient to handle.

Generally the larger blade should track straighter.

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

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2965 days

#11 posted 02-03-2014 06:24 PM

I wanted a ~6” saw and a left hand blade.
Never understood why most sidewinders have the blade on the other side of the saw.
What I wound up having to buy was a Milwaukee battery powered saw.
I will say that it is very very nice, and I do enjoy being able to see the cut line and the light weight.
Just wish the thing was not so pricey.
Bought the saw as a refurb and the battery on sale, but it was still almost $200.

View CharlesA's profile


3319 posts in 1792 days

#12 posted 02-03-2014 07:14 PM

I found that a better blade (a Freud in my case) greatly improved my cuts on panels.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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