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Working Alone v Plywood
Tips for taming those awkward and also heavy sheets.
by Jean Bartholome
Woodworking alone is peaceful, serene and also quiet. Simply you, the radio and also your project. It’s also a ache in the posterior when you need to work with big, hefty sheets of plywood, MDF or particleboard. If you can obtain help, the great, but often we finish up battling lock alone. Here are some tips to help ease the struggle, conserve your back, and make your cuts go much more smoothly and also accurately.
A Flip-Up next for her Shop Cart
A handy enhancement to her shop is a cart v a flip-up side. Construct it indigenous plywood, with strong hinges top top the top edge, a monitor on the reduced edge of the urgently side, and also a semi-circular cutout at the bottom. Weight her cart with a bag of sand or concrete mix, so it doesn’t pointer over. To usage this contraption, lift one edge of her plywood, slide it on the monitor (good next out) and wheel the cart to the prior of your tablesaw. Lift the flip-up side, slide the plywood ~ above the optimal of the cart (the semi-circular cutout allows you understand the bottom sheet of the sheet), and you’re ready to feed it right into the saw. No an ext awkward gyrations do the efforts to bring the plywood, flip it over, and also then host it secure while you try to line it up v the fence.
How much Does it Weigh?
If you working with sheet goods, it’s handy to know exactly how much castle weigh. Here are the most helpful numbers:
– Hardwood plywood typically weighs approximately 55 lbs. Every 3/4-in.-thick sheet. Utility plywood deserve to be much heavier, however. A 3/4-in.-thick paper of BC fir plywood, because that example, deserve to weigh much more than 70 lbs. By comparison, a full sheet the 1/4-in. Birch plywood weighs just 12 lbs.
– MDF is typically a lining 96 lbs. Every 3/4-in.-thick sheet. Ugh. The argued maximum pack for a vehicle roof (check her owner’s manual) have the right to be as low together 100 lbs., so it doesn’t take many sheets to max the end your car. Maxing the end your arms is another matter entirely.
Use a “Third Hand” for Assembly
If you’re making a large plywood or MDF case, it deserve to be very awkward to organize the piece in ar when joining them. 2 of the most valuable tools space a couple of one-hand clamps (Quick-Grip is one brand) and a pair of right-angle brackets. Do the base from two thicknesses the 3/4-in. Plywood glued together, and also knock turn off the inside edge so it doesn’t interfere through the right of the joint. If friend need help holding increase one item of plywood so you can affix the brackets, just clamp a handscrew to the bottom edge.
Rough out Your Crosscuts First
If you should crosscut a complete sheet, don’t try to do it by yourself on your tablesaw. It’s too awkward, and also you’re likely to acquire an inaccurate cut. Try cutting your panel close to the final size using a circular saw or jigsaw, always keeping one factory edge on every piece. That manufacturing facility edge will provide you a recommendation edge to precisely cut the pieces to their last size ~ above the tablesaw. A carpenter’s chalk heat is fast and accurate sufficient for marking the stormy crosscuts.
I keep a couple of old 2x4s in my lumber rack, placed them under the plywood (on the floor or top top sawhorses) and set my saw depth so that cuts into them by 1/4 in. Or so. A an ext elaborate device (and better, i admit) is to do a support grid out of pieces linked by half-lap joints.
This tip is among the an excellent old good ones, and also it can make a large difference in just how well a project turns out.
The 12-Foot Rope Trick
If you have to lug full sheets that plywood (or even worse, MDF) around your shop, a 12-ft. Length of rope is among the handiest tools you deserve to have. Simply tie a loop in every end and also you have actually a simple handle for her sheet stock. I usage a bowline knot, however anything that doesn’t slip would do the trick. Through the paper leaning up against a wall, merely slip a loop under the bottom corners, background the rope, and also off friend go. This functions for drywall, too. (P.S. Us took the picture with ours happy woodworker top top the other side for this reason you deserve to see better, yet normally you’d be ~ above the very same side together the rope, for easier lifting.)
Ya Gotta have actually An Outfeed Table
One of the very best devices for working v plywood alone is one outfeed table on her saw. The will give support for long pieces exiting the experienced much much more securely than roller stands (although they work-related fine for narrow pieces). One outfeed table can be as straightforward as one of your roll carts. Ideally it should be larger, however, come give about 3 ft. Of assistance as a paper goes previous the blade, so the doesn’t fall off the table. ~ above a cabinet saw that stays in one place, one outfeed table is easy—it’s simply a table. ~ above a experienced on a mobile base, especially a contractor’s saw, it’s not as easy. A bigger version that a rolling shop cart, with locking casters, works well. If you have the right to wait a few months, we’ll give you plans because that a rock-solid urgently table for a contractor’s experienced in one upcoming issue.
Shop Carts space Your best Friends
If there is one solitary thing that will make functioning alone through plywood bearable, the a good shop cart, do so it is the same elevation as her tablesaw. Don’t make simply one, though, because I insurance that once you use it you will do it instantly desire a couple more. You have the right to use one cart to support the plywood as it enters the saw and another as it exits, leave you cost-free to concentration on maintaining the plywood walking straight versus the fence. If your floor is rough, put larger wheels on your carts and make the carts 1/8 in. Lower than her saw, simply to it is in safe.
The design we offer here is the simplest and strongest one we’ve seen yet. (See “Hardworking Horse and also Cart,” AW #96, October 2002, web page 52. See web page 5 that this problem for reprints.) It’s make from 3/4-in. Plywood, glued, nailed and also screwed together. Made from fir plywood, each dare will cost less than $80. And when you’re not cutting plywood, carts are great for moving parts around the shop, and also all species of miscellaneous tasks.
Get assistance on the Left Side
For crosscutting lengthy pieces of plywood by yourself, rig increase some type of support on the left side of her saw. Periodically a shop cart will perform the trick, particularly if your floor is smooth. However, a dare can get hung up, destroying your cut. A much more sure-fire method is a piece of plywood clamped come a sawhorse at just the right height. Do it long enough to support your job-related both before and also after the cut. If you have actually a fence through a square metal tube at the front of the saw, examine out the idea on web page 31 (Self-Storing Tablesaw Support) for another approach.