Cutting cherry ply w/a circular saw

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Forum topic by longfade posted 01-13-2009 08:56 PM 3168 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 3608 days

01-13-2009 08:56 PM

Like (I imagine) many here, my little workspace isn’t big enough to cut down 8×4 sheets of ply, so I’m going to be cutting them down with my Bosch HD77 circular saw. I am building the Shopnotes cutting guide/sled which will ensure excellent accuracy, so it’s conceivable that I could get perfectly usable cuts w/o fine tuning them on the TS. My question is, is there a circ saw blade that I could use that will minimize tearout with this saw? I’d just get a 7 1/4” Woodworker and be done with it, but the Skil has a diamond arbor and I don’t believe the Forrest blades have a diamond knockout.

Are there any recommendations for a circular saw blade for cutting 3/4” Cherry Classic Core ply? I’ll probably end up rough-cutting them w/the circ saw and dialling them in on the TS but I still like as much accuracy as possible at every phase, if you know what I mean.

10 replies so far

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3461 days

#1 posted 01-13-2009 09:21 PM

I can not help you directly about names of blades where you are, but I can just give you a good rule of thumb and that is if you are cutting something and it should not tear out then, the more teeth on the blade the better, as well make sure the blade is specifically for crosscutting… so the teeth of the blade are alternating… this will result in the best cutting results.

Because of the higher glue content, it is very recommened to cut such materail with blade that have some sort of “hard metal” so carbide tipped or wolfram that sort of thin. ususally these teeth are soldered on.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3674 days

#2 posted 01-13-2009 09:41 PM

I found the Freud Avanti 40tooth Blade to produce clean tearout-free cuts in bitch-plywood – should be similar to cherry plywood. that is what I use for cutting down sheet goods, and mostly I do not need to finish it on the table-saw. they are available at Lowe’s, or

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#3 posted 01-13-2009 09:48 PM

If you want the smoothest cut possible (but not the fastest) Aplywood blade (140-150 tooth) would be what you are looking for. I did a quick google, and there are plenty out there with a diamond knockout.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4151 days

#4 posted 01-13-2009 10:02 PM

I’ve got the Festool setup and think nothing of this. I think if you’ve got a good guide and a fraction of a hair of toe-in you’ll be fine. I don’t have a specific blade to suggest, but two things:

First, tape your cut. Masking tape under your cut line, well burnished, can do great things.

Second, take two cuts. The first is a super thin cut, just enough to cut the top veneer. When you do go all the way through don’t go any deeper than you absolutely have to. This way the cuts end up pulling the veneer fibers sideways rather than lifting or pushing them away from the core.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View longfade's profile


2 posts in 3608 days

#5 posted 01-13-2009 10:06 PM

As usual, great information. I really appreciate the replies. So, taping along the cutline is pretty effective? I have read about that technique plenty of times but have yet to try it…...

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3848 days

#6 posted 01-13-2009 10:14 PM

I routinely breakdown cherry, birch and oak plywoods with either my Rigid and Dewalt cordless saws both of which have 24 tooth carbide blades in them. I usually cut them 1” oversize and finish up on the table saw. But the cordless saws, when the batteries are well charged, produce only a little tear out and that is on the back side.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3674 days

#7 posted 01-13-2009 10:23 PM

I used to work with a cordless circ-saw for many years. to avoid tear out, I’d start by marking my cut line, and going over it with a marking-knife /utility-knife to cut through (at least) the top veneer which is the most likely to tear. also using tape on the underside of the plywood is a good idea as Dan Suggested. when using circ-saw, it is the UNDERSIDE of the plywood that is subject to tear out.

this was tedious, and required many steps, each involving me to reposition my straightedge guide precisely to follow the same lines…. it was tedious. plus the cordless circ-saw wasn’t up to par with the work, and would lose power…battery would empty out…. aaarrrggg…

I got a porter cable corded circular saw with dust chute, the freud avanti 40 tooth blade and cannot be happier – cuts on the first setup, no marking, just cut to depth – another good tip was – if you’re cutting 3/4” material – set your depth of cut to only 3/4” ... easier on the saw, and will also help avoid tearouts.

one last thing – since the tear out is on the underside of the material – I always cut my panels over a full sheet of MDF which provides a backing to the cut, and ‘holds’ the cut material from tearing up.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4151 days

#8 posted 01-13-2009 10:49 PM

Oooh, good idea on the sheet of MDF, sometimes I forget when I’m working on hundred-dollar-plus sheets of veneered ply that spending thirty bucks on a sacrificial sheet is worth it.

On taping the cuts, I’ve also taken to doing this when routing end-grain (as in router-cut dovetails), where I’m not sure it helps prevent tear-out, but it does let me find the splinters to glue ‘em back in! Cyanoacrylate is my friend…

And it’s not fine furniture, but I think it’s looking pretty good (modulo the horrendous white balance on these photos. Who put those on the web?): all the cuts on these cabinets and these drawers, including the ripped 1/8” beauty strips on the edges of the ApplyPly used for the drawers, are cut with a circular saw on a rail, with the default general purpose Festool blade (that gets sharpened moderately regularly). Amazing things can happen when one doesn’t have shop space for a table saw, necessity is a mother…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 4018 days

#9 posted 01-14-2009 08:29 AM

ok this my sound silly but i make my own zero clerence bottom plates for my delta saw and i saposse you could do it on any saw it really easy i use 1/2 ply wood cut to the same size as the guied plate i drilled 4 holes in it to bolt it on to the plate with stove bolts and then you just ease the blade thru the plywood the only down fall with this is you put the blade guard out of commision so you have to take extra care when useing it i tend to pull the blade back up thru the plate when im fiished cuting.

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View edp's profile


109 posts in 3986 days

#10 posted 01-24-2009 07:44 PM

I like the idea of the zero clearance plate added to your saw’s sole plate. Really a clever idea. I will frequently break down large sheets with my circular saw and 97” long, rip guide and get zero tear out. For regular plywood or mdf etc, I generally use the upright panel saw or the table saw which is surrounded by a 6’ deep x 8’ wide outfeed island, but for cross cuts on all my veneered sheets it is the circular saw I reach for. I set the blade depth for the material thickness plus about a quarter of an inch, clamp my guide on the sheet and cut away. The real trick is the guide. It is constructed in such a fashion that the saw rides on it , the blade runs right along the edge (not even enough room for an angel’s fart between) and so it provides support for the veneer layer as the saw tooth is coming up through the sheet. Works on the same principle as the Festool saw in this regard.


-- Come on in, the beer is cold and the wood is dry.

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