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Cutting Large Sheets With A Circular Saw

cutting large sheets of plywood can be awkward and challenging especially if you're by yourself so today we're going to look at one simple way to carry plywood two methods for safely supporting them and three options for cutting them to size moving plywood sheets around by yourself can be a challenge so the cheapest way that I found to do it is this $22.00 panel carrier this simple tool allows you to clamp all kinds of different sheet good materials including drywall and that allows you to lift the sheet from the top rather than bending over to lift it from the bottom this tool is a back saver and for $22 I think it's a great option if you're going to be carrying around plywood by yourself or with a buddy because plywood sheets are so big and oftentimes quite heavy properly supporting them while cutting is extremely important to reduce kickback and binding of the saw blade with that let's talk about two methods to safely support the plywood while cutting the first method is to use scrap pieces of wood material that's at least 3/4 by 4 feet long and place them under the sheet of plywood of course you want to make sure that the plywood is first resting on a level surface like a big table or the ground and for cross cuts I like to use two pieces on either end and two pieces about three inches on either side of my cut line what this does is supports the sheets while you're cutting and most importantly once the cut is finished it stops the sheets from moving or dropping which would pinch the blade and if you've never seen or heard what that sounds like take a look and listen at this the last thing I want to say before moving on is to be sure to double-check the depth of your saw blade you don't want the blade set too deep so as you end up cutting the material or the surface that's beneath the plywood the second method to support plywood is to use a piece of rigid insulation to do this simply lay the sheet of plywood on top of the insulation set your blade depth through about an eighth of an inch below the plywood and at this point you can make any cut in any direction without worrying about moving scraps of wood around to support each piece one of the downsides to this method is that you have to store the sheet of insulation somewhere and of course it will need replaced after it gets worn out but I think that's a small price to pay for flexibility and added safety as a side note to make it easier to store the insulation cut it in half and then tape it back together on one side that way you can fold it up when you're done making storing it so much easier until the next time you need it so now that we looked at one way to carry sheets of plywood two methods for safely supporting them while cutting let's finish this video out by looking at three options for actually cutting them to size the first option we're going to talk about is great for rough fast cuts stuff for like sub floors or wall sheathing or for finished plywood when you're trying to size it down before you take it to the table saw for the finished cut this first option starts off by simply measuring and marking two reference points at your desired dimension on both sides of the plywood then using a straight edge connected to points by drawing a line from there you can freehand the cut meaning that the saw is only being guided by your hand so the better you are that the straighter your cut will be again this could be your finished cut it just all depends on how clean you need it to be or you could easily run this over to the table saw and make a final pass to clean things up as I've already mentioned this is a great way to size big sheets down which also helps to eliminate the burden of trying to cross cut these big sheets at the table saw and as a matter of fact all the options that we're going to look at the next two are also great for sizing big sheets down that may or may not be cut again later now when it comes to the straightedges themselves a four or six foot level works great straight long pieces of one buy or even if you have a really long eight-foot rip cut to make you can use a thin chalk line like this one to snap a cut line most of the time this freehand option will be used on what I'll call rough plywood things like sheathing or flooring like I mentioned but as you can see it can also be used to reduce down sheets of finished plywood like this the second option we're going to look at incorporates the use of a guide guides are a powerful tool in woodworking and carpentry because they help to keep the saw cutting straight which produces a very similar cut then to that of a table saw the cheapest way to make a guide is to use a piece of straight wood and a few clamps so this time instead of using the straightedge to simply draw a pencil line we're going to clamp it down and use it as a guide this method does require two clamps and it does take a little bit longer to set up but the cut is significantly better than the previous option in a similar way to the first option you start by measuring and marking for your cut the next step is to find the offset of the saw blades so that you can set the straightedge to the correct position if you flip your saw over you can see that the blade is inbound or offset from the edge of the shoe a lot of people like to measure that distance but it can get confusing to know which side of the blade you should be measuring from therefore let me show you a different way without measuring the blades offset with the sheet marked out and knowing that I want the right piece here to be my waist or cut off and my left piece to be my finished piece line up the blade so that's just to the right side of the pencil mark holding this off firmly in position take a pencil and Mark the right side of the shoe that mark represents the location of the guide to get the same mark on the other side of the sheet simply measure between those two lines and Mark that same distance at the other end now clamp your guide to those two pencil marks line up the saw and you're cut now there is a faster way to do this that still falls within this option and that is to use a guide or a straightedge that has a clamp built right into it this obviously speed things up because not dealing with two separate clamps plus you've upgraded to a metal guide which is always straighter than a wood one the layout is the same as before the only difference is the speed at which you can clamp this straightedge down I've use this straightedge for a very long time and I think it works really good but recently a friend of mine came to me and said I should look at a different option which leads us to our third option which is to use a circular salt track there are two main parts the track or rail and the sled attachment the sled securely attaches to almost any circular saw shoe which enables then the saw to ride perfectly within the track to make a cut using a track measure and Mark the plywood at your desired location then simp

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