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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Cookeville, TN, USA

    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    You can make splinter free cuts with a "skil" saw a few ways.

    The easiest is to cut with the off side of the board turned up. The bottom side of the work is usually quite clean unless you twist the saw as you cut. This will also keep you from marking the pretty side of the work with the saw shoe.

    Another way is to stack several pieces of plywood and cut them all at one time - the top surface will be splintery as ever but the rest will be marvelous. Of course if you foul up it's multiplied. You should fasten them together securely. This can really speed up the work though.

    You can also contact cement a piece of hardboard to the bottom of the saw shoe, and then lower the blade through it. The resulting zero clearance shoe supports the wood fibers next to the blade and makes a pretty nice cut. Makes it more tricky to stay on line though.

    When I ran a cabinet shop we broke down plywood with a skil saw all the time using a simple jig that is easier to make than to describe. Makes a cut like a table saw but much more safely. If anyone is really interested I'll take some pictures.

    Whatever you do you will get best results if the work is very well supported on a "sacrificial" saw table so that the off cuts don't drop at all. This can be nothing more than several studs that you don't mind scoring layed on sawhorses.

    And yes, use a sharp blade, but I really prefer a good carbide tipped general purpose blade.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Knox County, Ohio

    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    How deep do you have the blade set? You just want the teeth of the blade to be below the wood. If the blade is set too deep, that can cause splintering.

    Have a scrap board directly under where you are cutting on the plywood. This works the same way as when you are drilling through a board and into a scrap piece of wood to keep the hole exit from splintering.

    The more teeth the better, especially on thin boards.

    You can also score both sides of the plywood with your saw. Make a cut 1/8 deep on both sides, and then do a final cut the full depth. This is a major pain and you have to make sure your score cuts on both sides match perfectly but is doable.

    If the cut was still trying to splinter, I'd try putting a strip of strong tape where you are going to cut, and cut through the tape as you saw. (Remember this if you ever have to saw aluminum - if you cut through electrical tape you will have a smooth cut; no snags and burrs.)

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Cheboygan, Michigan,USA

    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Any decent lumber yard has a "panel saw" in their shop and will cut up the sheets (That you bought there of course) to the sizes you want, then give you the drops!


  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Limestone Co, Alabama

    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher Apiaries View Post
    ... I want to rip sheets of plywood on my RAS...
    Why not try doing it like this, (from Wood Smith)

    "Cutting Plywood with a Circular Saw

    Itís possible to cut a sheet of plywood on the table saw, but working with a full sheet of 3⁄4″ plywood, especially if youíre by yourself, can be difficult. But thereís an easier way.

    I use my circular [skill] saw for this kind of work. Itís easier than trying to maneuver the plywood on the table saw, and can be just as accurate if you follow a few simple guidelines.

    First, I use a straightedge guide [a fence made from a 1X4 48 or 96 inches long] clamped to the plywood. This way, all I have to do is ride the edge [foot plate] of the saw along the guide to get a straight cut. Second, as you can see in the photo below, [sorry I don't know how to post pics] I also place the plywood on a sheet of 2″-thick, rigid foam insulation. This supports the full sheet of plywood, and I donít have to worry about cutting into the floor or damaging the saw blade. And that piece of foam insulation can be used to cut many sheets of plywood."

    Here is a link, check page 4.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Athens, OH

    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    I'm a carpenter and have made thousands of rips in plywood with good results. Use a straightedge, good side down, and a sharp blade with at least 32 teeth.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Altamont, NY

    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Not sure if it'll work on plywood but whenever I want a smooth finish with any kind of saw I put a row or two of masking tape on the wood where I'm going to cut it. Then I mark and cut right over the tape. 99% of the time it doesn't splinter. Just be careful when removing the tape.

    Don't use a radial arm saw... you're asking for trouble!

    Setup your circular saw with a straight edge & clamps and run it down the plywood... or get a friend(s) to help hold the plywood - but make sure they know NOT to push/pull the plywood - leave that for the operator! We cut sheets of plywood on a table that's about 2' wide x 2' deep (minus the section on the other side of the fence). With 2 or 3 people helping (who know what they're doing) it get's the job done.

    Bee careful!

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