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Education Cutting Sheet Material With a Circular Saw

Discussion in 'General' started by Mr_Mistoffelees, 4 Sep 2020.

  1. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    Simple question; How easy is it to cut plywood or chipboard with a hand-held circular saw? Is guiding one in a straight line easy or, will it require a rip-fence? A table saw, whilst I would like one, is not an option.
     
  2. mrlongbeard

    mrlongbeard Well-Known Member

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    It's easier than using a jigsaw..

    If you've got the money look at track saws
     
  3. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I've used a circular saw for all my material chopping. I tend to have a guide clamped on somewhere, if I fancied burning a pile of cash for something to use once a year, I'd look at either a track saw, or a a track that can be used with my existing saw.
     
  4. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Well-Known Member

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    You can get a good result following a line by eye, as mentioned above clamping a fence will boost this to an excellent cut.

    If you're cutting 4x2 or the like you can run it against a rafter square for fast and easy perpendicular cuts.
     
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  5. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look at buying a track saw.
     
  6. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    This is my preferred method.
     
  7. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    Very easy, mine has a laser which you can use to track a line, or you can nail in a guide bit if wood and run against it.
     
  8. legoman

    legoman breaker of things

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    Get hold of a long piece of wood, clamp it in place as a guide rail, I do it all the time in lieu of a table saw or tracksaw.
     
  9. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    That's what I did - a length of skirting board and a couple of clamps. You can just screw the skirting to the sheet if the screwholes won't be seen.
     
  10. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    If you need a straight line, you need a straight line - clamp a guide.

    If you just need a cut, eyeballing it can do a pretty decent approximation to a straight line.

    But bear in mind then you're not leaving behind a straight line either. Just remember that the universe hates you, and the next thing you're cutting from the same sheet will need a straight line, and in trimming off the non-straight edge you'll remove too much material to use what you wanted to use the rest of the sheet for.

    So as a general rule (ha) - guide, all the time, every time
     
  11. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    Thanks for the further thoughts. Still deciding what to do and, in any event, I won't be doing the job for some time. Furthermore, I have found since starting this thread, that B&Q sell MDF in sheets that might not need to be cut down.
     
  12. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Well-Known Member

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    I believe B&Q will do a fair few cuts for you for free, if that solves the problem? I've not used the service myself but I know people who have and they've spoken highly of it.
     
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  13. Osgeld

    Osgeld Active Member

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    most home centers will do 1 or 2 cuts free and then charge a fee for every cut thereafter, though if you do that you will still have to cut it cause all they will do is eyeball it on a panel saw and cut it as fast as possible +- a mile so you have to keep that in mind for your project

    is +- 1/8th an inch going to kill your shed wall, probably not, will it make a mess of your bookcase, 100%
     
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  14. Ajbod

    Ajbod New Member

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    Check this out
     
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  15. Osgeld

    Osgeld Active Member

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    ya thats what i did with some scrap plywood, my no name china express saw was like 29.99 at horrid fart, whats a track saw cost? cheapest one i see at amazon is 114, so 1: I couldnt find one for under 200 5 years ago, and 2: how much you going to use it ... I made my wife some bathroom shelves and a nice printer / cameo stand in the last 5 years, oh and I used it once to install a screen door on the front so I had to trim that

    so 3 times in a half decade, even 114 ... that 40 bucks a pop to get a track saw
     
  16. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    I used that for a kitchen worktop a couple of times, so long as you just want a straight cut they do it, it was free and perfect, great service, my measuring unfortunately wasn't as I didn't realise my walls were flat so whilst it was the perfect size for what I measured I couldn't get the wall to wall worktop in as there was a centimetre difference top to bottom Doh.:duh:.
     
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  17. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    Either draw a line and follow it or clamp on a piece of guide wood is the cheapest option.

    About avoiding ripping:
    • the good side of the material should be the underside. Set the depth of your circular saw to just go a few mm through the material.
    • The more teeth your sawblade has the cleaner the cut will become.
     
  18. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    It's scarier and the guard is annoying but yeah, very hard to mess up a straight line with a circular.

    I had one with a lazer guide on before I stopped using it.
     

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