See a super easy way to cut plywood without heavy lifting or fear of it binding the circular saw.
And see great tips on clamping a cutting guide too.
Transcript highlights and images are below the video too!
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See the tools and supplies I use and recommend.
Hand Tools You’ll Need
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Supplies You’ll Need
Video highlights and pictures.
The Secret is 2×2 Foam Board
I love these foam insulation boards! They are cheap, strong, and light.
And they provide a solid surface and it’s easy for me to layout as many as I need.
Here I have 8 laid out to support a full sheet of 3/4″ plywood.
And unlike full insulation sheets, they are so easy to store. I just stack them up on a top shelf or under my bench.
Cut One Short
Take a look at the board in the top right.
I took about 2” off with a utility knife and placed the short side toward the outside on the end.
I plan to cut off the end of the plywood in this area and that’s where I’ll want to place a clamp for my circular saw straight edge.
How I Lay Down the Plywood
Let me show you how I create that same type of notch on the other side.
I lean the plywood against the support poles in my garage workshop.
And then I butt the edges of the foam boards against it.
(See video clip)
This makes it super simple to lay the plywood down onto the foam board.
I just have to make sure I get my feet out of the way before I drop it!
The edge of the plywood that was on the floor will naturally fall 1-2” from the edge of the foam board.
That gives me plenty of room to add a clamp for my straight edge on that side.
And here’s a shot of the notched edge that I cut on the other side.
I use simple spring clamps to hold my straight edge.
The foam board is only an inch thick, which is plenty for this type of clamp. You may have other clamp types that work well too, but all of mine were a little too tall.
And here are both sides clamped. I’ll be cutting on the inside so the clamps aren’t in the way at all.
Be sure to see the post for how to make this super easy circular saw cutting guide too!
Making the Cut
(See video clip above)
Okay, let’s see this thing in action.
Be sure to wear proper ear and eye protection when using a circular saw.
Since the proper depth of the circular saw is only 1/8” deeper than the material you are cutting, there is no chance that the blade will go through the foam board and no risk that it will hit the floor.
The foam board is so rigid that it easily holds my weight as I stop the saw and move across to ensure I’m positioned directly over the saw.
And that rigidity is what makes cutting like this so safe.
Since the full weight of the plywood is being supported, there’s no chance it can bow downward along the cut.
And that means there is no chance that the saw blade will get bound.
So, I know that I can safely cut without concern about the saw kicking out, or worse, kicking back up toward me.
That’s way better than supporting the plywood with 2x4s or such.
If you lay them parallel to the cut, it’s too easy for the plywood to bow and bind the saw.
And if you lay them perpendicular, you end up having to sacrifice the support boards because they will have at least an 1/8” cut in them.
It will take a whale of a lot of cuts before you have to retire a foam board! And they are way cheaper to replace too.
Get More Tips
Okay, that’s it!
Be sure to subscribe to the Heartwood Art YouTube Channel and come on over to the site for more helpful tips just like this.
And I’ll see you in the shop.