Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

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Not your average framer
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Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by Not your average framer » Mon 23 May, 2022 2:48 pm

I have some pieces of 4mm plywood and was thinking about producing some strut backs from it. I have plenty of clips, bars and the necessary split rivets, so there's not really much reason not to do so. It occurs to me that cutting thin plywood and getting a clean cut is probably not going to be easy. What the best way to be doing this please?
Thanks,
Mark.
Mark Lacey

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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by baughen » Tue 24 May, 2022 7:48 am

I would have thought the bandsaw was the most practical as you can use a fence tokeep lines straight. A scroll saw should produce a better cut but more difficult to keep straight and would take longer.

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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by walnutboy » Tue 24 May, 2022 8:42 am

It might be worth using tape over the cut line before you send it through the saw. It won't stop it, but will help minimise the 'fraying'.

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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by Fruitini » Tue 24 May, 2022 8:44 am

If they are only small pieces wouldn't your table saw be the best option. A sharp blade will be the key with whichever method you choose.

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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 24 May, 2022 9:17 am

I would have thought so too, but although my band saw cuts normal wood quite well using the rip fence, it does not like cutting plywood against the rip fence at all. I strongly suspect the quality of the blade, but I have yet to find a supplier for a much better blade in that particular blade size. I also have a scroll saw which works well, but using a saw which is more optimise for straight line rip cuts would hopefully be better and quicker. Cutting plywood on a table saw is not particularly easy, if you are to avoid splittering and break out.

There is a technique which starts with a very shallow scoring cut, but maybe that is not so easy on such a thing piece of plywood. Ideally, I would cut the plywood into stips and the cut the strips up on my sliding mitre saw which slides to cut up to 14 inches. I do have a 60 tooth blade, which might fit the sliding saw and I'm thinking of trying this on the mitre saw. I bought this blade to fit the table saw and I don't know if it will fit the sliding mitre saw, or not. I guess that in an idea would I would be cutting the plywood pieces oversize and triming the edges on my router table using a router table sled.

I don't want to spend much time cutting these up, because there is a limit to how much I can charge for these and after allowing for the cost of materials, conserving a worthwhile profit margin could become a significant issue. I have long wanted to use 9mm plywood, but it's not really viable if I am to use clips, bars and rivets, unless I am going to be using 10mm long screws. A lot of my pieces of plywood are off cuts and left overs of unknown origin and I not really all that sure how well they will cut on my table saw. I need to try this out to see what happens fairly soon.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

Not your average framer
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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 24 May, 2022 9:26 am

The piece of 4mm plywood is about 5 foot by 2 foot and has been remove from the rear face of a sideboard which I dismanted for some very nice looking solid board. If I am going to cut it into individual strut backs I expect to need to break it down it to oversized pieces first, to make these pieces more managable, before cuttine the pieces to exact size. I've been putting this off a while trying to work out the best way of doing this, but I really need to be doing something about this quite soon now!
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by prospero » Tue 24 May, 2022 12:29 pm

One way to get a clean cut is to pre-score the cutline with a knife. There are lots of pro-tips on YouTube. :)
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Re: Best way to easily and neatly cut 4mm plywood.

Post by Not your average framer » Tue 24 May, 2022 3:42 pm

Hi Peter,

I was wondering about that, but I was hoping to avoid that one. Even after my stroke my brain is still a right handed brain, but my right hand is very weak and lacks a lot of cordination. I certainly can not do this sucessfuly with my left hand, so it would still need to be with my right hand. I guess that I might try scoring the wood with steeply bevelled name plate engraving router piece as there already is one in my Rulands set of router bits. Being able to in effect engrave my way through the board with a steeply bevelled router bit, is looking increasingly like perhaps the easier option after all.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer

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