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How to Cut Plywood without Tear Out

How to Cut Plywood without Tear Out ?

Using plywood is probably one of the most convenient options for any wood-project. It’s lightweight, it’s affordable, and it promises strength at the same time. But plywood does come with its baggage, as well. One of the prime issues with plywood cutting is the tear out it causes.

The rough and jagged edges of the wood will definitely piss you off after you have spent lots of time trying to make a perfect cut. To bring you out of this frustration, we are here with cool tips on how to cut plywood without tear out.

What Is Tear Out?

If you look closely, plywoods have grain-marks on them. The grains are clearly visible and are there in a straight-line fashion. The other fibers next to them do not support these fibers. So, whenever these grains have to endure an impact, they tend to flex. That’s why they end up in a jagged edge, which is more known as a tear out.

How To Cut Plywood Without Tear Out

Using Several Types Of Power Saw?

Now there are a few ways you can cut plywood without the tear out. But before even going into the tricks and tips, you need to make sure you are using the proper saws and blades.

Two of the most popular cutting saws for plywood are circular saw and table saw. Although the basic blade type for both the saws is somewhat the same, the way these two devices work makes the actual point of difference.

Before using these two saws, you need to have a clear understanding of the two sides of the plywood. There are a good side and a bad side to the plywood. The good piece is generally referred to as the side that has a smoother finish, and it will be the actual side that can be shown when the project is done.

To prevent tear out in cutting plywood with a circular saw, you need to put the good side of the wood piece down as the circular saw blade would cut in an upward motion from the bottom.

On the other hand, in the case of a table saw, the opposite is to be followed. Table saw blades would cut in a downward motion from the upper side, so the plywood's good side should be on the upper side.

Apart from these two saws, you can also use a jigsaw for cutting plywood without the tear out. Although jigsaws are not the prime choice for plywood cutting, with the best cordless jigsaw with you, it’s not that bad, actually.

To cut clean with a jigsaw, make sure you are using the best jigsaw blade with a good teeth-count. The smoother the blade, the better it is. Simply draw the line of cutting, and engage the saw blade on the line.

Make the first cut without the machine powered up so that it prevents any slipping. Then simply turn the device on and carefully follow the line. Make it fast and powerful. You will get as fine cut as a circular saw.

Remember To Use Fine Blades

Using the best blade for cutting plywood is unavoidable. You have to make sure you are using a fine-tooth blade that suits cutting plywood the best. The fine-tooth blades do have more teeth every inch. Plus, you get a bit of a higher bevel angle on these blades to get an extra advantage to cut straight through the wood.

You may need to spend a bit more for the finer collection, but it’s worth it. Simply ensure that you are using a high-quality blade with at least a teeth-count of 40. And also, make sure that you are placing the wood’s good side up or bottom according to the blade's motion direction.

How To Cut A Plywood - Step By Step

Now, let’s say you are using a table saw for cutting the plywood. Here’re some simple steps you can follow to achieve the best cut.

Step 1: Use the best type of blade. Make sure the blade comes with at least 40 teeth-count. Usually, the table saw blades rotate downwards, so you need to keep the wood's good side in an upward position.

Step 2: The best way to mitigate tear out is to use a zero clearance on the blade surrounding. Zero clearance allows the least area around the blade so that it can easily support the wood fibers.  

Step 3: One of the easiest ways to prevent a tear out is to cover the area of cutting with tape. As the blade pushes the fibers around and causes the actual tear out, the tape may put the fibers in their place, reducing the chance of a tear out.

Step 4: Execute the cut. Be gentle and slow. Once done, simply take out the tape, and you can see you have a smooth cut, free from tear out.

Tips For Cutting Plywood

Here are some quick tips you can follow to reduce tear out.

  • Slow down the cutting process to reduce fiber push out
  • Make sure the blade tooth-count is as high as 40 to 80 per inch
  • As we have shown, use tape to cover the cutting zone
  • Use the smooth and good side of the wood against the blade

Final Words

Being a new carpenter or lacking experience, many saw users don’t even know how to cut plywood without tear out. But this is quite a simple task that needs following a few easy tips as we have shared in this article.

What matters the most is the type of saw and the quality of the blade you are using. Once you have made sure of good quality for these two, getting a cut free from tear out gets way easier.

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