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Thread: Breaking down plywood

  1. #1
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    Breaking down plywood

    ok as we age we finally acquire some wisdom.. well i think i am old enough but havnt found it yet.. i dont have the fancy track systems out there for doing it and dont have a panel saw either.. so i am still laying on the TSaw and doing it the way i was shown but without the other set of hands i got a side feed setup which helps immensely, but how do you set it on the saw to get started long ways or crosscutting?? thanks for nay pointers that will get this old head started in the right direction
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  2. #2
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    Larry I have a festool track saw and rarely do I use it to size plywood.
    I still use my TS faithfully.
    I usually end up setting one end on the saw fence rail than lifting the opposite end and doing the 3 point balancing act to get it up against the fence. One good thing is that cabinet plywood comes 48.5 x 96.5 so there is that extra half inch to play with if your first cut is off. Usually what I do is rip it just over 24 inches so I can straighten out the edge then flip it and cut the factory edge off.
    I do have an excalibur sliding table for my saw so cross cutting is pretty easy. I have always found it easier to rip first cross cut second.

    That said. you can easily make yourself a track set up with some plywood. Cut a straight piece of ply 8 feet and one at abit over 4 foot by 4 inches wide. Then cut a piece of 1/4" ply a little wider than the 4 inch strip and the distance from your skilsaw to the blade. Attach the 1/4" ply to the 4" strip and run the saw. This will give you an exact reference point as well as a straight cut.
    Now all you need to do is measure off points on the ply, clamp the "track" to the sheet and run the saw. I would advise getting a good plywood blade for your saw and only use it for that. Then you wont blow out the veneer when cross cutting. This is also great for getting your rough sizes to make it more manageable on the TS!

  3. #3
    Depending on how many pieces I need to rip I'll usually have a table on the infeed side of the table saw that I can lay the plywood on and then lay it down. Then I can position it squarely against the fence and start my cut. At work I haven't made a table for the in feed side yet and put the edge of the plywood on the rail for the fence and against the cast iron table and lay it flat. Then I walk one corner then the other onto the top of the saw.

    They also make a metal tube with a hook that attaches to the side of the table saw with a hinge that you lay the sheet in and then rotate it up onto the saw. Something like this that woodcraft sells.http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/202...Accessory.aspx

  4. #4
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    Beaverton, Oregon
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    I use CutList to lay out the design and set the kerf width to 1/2", I then cut down the big sheets using a portable saw to lighter pieces always leaving at least one factory edge. You don't need to be accurate as long as you cut close to the center of the 1/2" waste. I also don't care about chipout because my table saw is going to clean that up.

    I then run the smaller pieces though my tablesaw with the longest edge againat the rip fence, typically removing about a 1/4".

    This wastes a small amount of wood in theory but in practice I always have scrape anyway and account for it in my designs.

  5. #5
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    ..................
    Last edited by John Bartley; 09-22-2011 at 12:34 PM. Reason: spelin...wut els?

  6. #6
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    I like that mobile cart concept John. If I had more room I could see doing that.

    Since I don't really have enough room to swing a full sheet of ply around, I use a track saw on a cutting platform on saw horses.

    So I guess my point is it seems to be an issue of space and experience. I don't think I've heard of many pro's using the track type system to break down sheet goods.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  7. #7
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    thanks john and others.. i have a table that would work for that but it was collecting the cut outs...might have been smarter to use the table for the sheets and the other clear flat area for the cut outs
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    ...might have been smarter to use the table for the sheets and the other clear flat area for the cut outs
    You have a CLEAR flat area in your shop???

    I did, once upon a time, but all horizontal spaces are now completely covered with assorted clutter...
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    You have a CLEAR flat area in your shop???

    I did, once upon a time, but all horizontal spaces are now completely covered with assorted clutter...
    the shop has been basically closed this summer jim its now open for a short while then will be back to being closed for tree work come oct threw most of nov
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    You have a CLEAR flat area in your shop???

    I did, once upon a time, but all horizontal spaces are now completely covered with assorted clutter...
    You need to build some more flat areas!.

    Most of the flat areas I built except for one at completely covered... and I had dreams of finally getting organized...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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