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Working Alone v Plywood

Tips because that taming those awkward and also heavy sheets.

by Jean Bartholome

Woodworking alone is peaceful, serene and also quiet. Just you, the radio and your project. It’s also a pain in the posterior when you have to work with big, hefty sheets of plywood, MDF or particleboard. If you can get help, it’s great, but often we end up battling castle alone. Below are part tips to assist ease the struggle, save your back, and also make your cut go an ext smoothly and accurately.

A Flip-Up side for your Shop Cart

A handy enhancement to your shop is a cart v a flip-up side. Construct it indigenous plywood, with solid hinges on the optimal edge, a track on the reduced edge of the folding side, and a semi-circular cutout at the bottom. Weight her cart through a bag that sand or concrete mix, so the doesn’t guideline over. To use this contraption, background one corner of her plywood, on slide it top top the track (good next out) and wheel the dare to the former of your tablesaw. Elevator the flip-up side, slide the plywood ~ above the top of the cart (the semi-circular cutout allows you grasp the bottom sheet of the sheet), and also you’re prepared to feeding it into the saw. No more awkward gyrations trying to lug the plywood, flip it over, and then hold it stable while you shot to line it up v the fence.



How lot Does that Weigh?

If you working v sheet goods, it’s handy to know just how much they weigh. Here are the most useful numbers:

– Hardwood plywood commonly weighs about 55 lbs. Every 3/4-in.-thick sheet. Energy plywood deserve to be lot heavier, however. A 3/4-in.-thick paper of BC fir plywood, for example, have the right to weigh an ext than 70 lbs. Through comparison, a full sheet that 1/4-in. Birch plywood weighs just 12 lbs.

– MDF is commonly a whopping 96 lbs. Per 3/4-in.-thick sheet. Ugh. The suggested maximum load for a auto roof (check your owner’s manual) can be together low as 100 lbs., for this reason it doesn’t take many sheets come max out your car. Maxing out your eight is an additional matter entirely.


Use a “Third Hand” because that Assembly

If you’re making a huge plywood or MDF case, it can be really awkward to hold the pieces in ar when involvement them. Two of the most valuable tools are a couple of one-hand clamps (Quick-Grip is one brand) and a couple of right-angle brackets. Make the brackets from two thicknesses the 3/4-in. Plywood glued together, and also knock turn off the inside edge so it doesn’t interfere v the right of the joint. If you need assist holding increase one item of plywood so friend can connect 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 you yourself on her tablesaw. It’s as well awkward, and also you’re most likely to get an inaccurate cut. Try cutting her panel close come the final size using a circular saw or jigsaw, always keeping one manufacturing facility edge on each piece. That factory edge will provide you a reference edge to precisely cut the piece to their final size on the tablesaw. A carpenter’s chalk line is fast and accurate enough for noting the turbulent crosscuts.

I save a couple of old 2x4s in my timber rack, placed them under the plywood (on the floor or on sawhorses) and set my experienced depth so it cuts into them by 1/4 in. Or so. A an ext elaborate mechanism (and better, ns admit) is to do a assistance grid out of pieces linked by half-lap joints.

This tip is one of the an excellent old good ones, and also it have the right to make a vast difference in just how well a job turns out.


The 12-Foot Rope Trick

If you need to lug full sheets that plywood (or even worse, MDF) around your shop, a 12-ft. Length of rope is among the handiest devices you can have. Just tie a loop in each end and also you have actually a an easy handle for your sheet stock. I usage a bowline knot, but anything that doesn’t on slide would do the trick. V the paper leaning up versus a wall, merely slip a loop under the bottom corners, background the rope, and off friend go. This functions for drywall, too. (P.S. We took the photograph with our happy woodworker top top the various other side therefore you deserve to see better, yet normally you will do be top top the same side together the rope, for easier lifting.)


Ya Gotta have An Outfeed Table

One the the very best devices for working v plywood alone is one outfeed table on your saw. It will provide support for lengthy pieces exiting the experienced much more securely than roller stand (although they job-related fine for small pieces). An outfeed table can be as simple as among your rojo carts. Ideally it must be larger, however, come give about 3 ft. Of support as a sheet goes previous the blade, so it doesn’t loss off the table. On a cabinet saw that continues to be in one place, one outfeed table is easy—it’s simply a table. ~ above a observed on a mobile base, particularly a contractor’s saw, it’s no as easy. A larger version the a rojo shop cart, through locking casters, functions well. If you can wait a few months, we’ll give you plans for a rock-solid folding table for a contractor’s experienced in one upcoming issue.


Shop Carts space Your ideal Friends

If over there is one solitary thing that will make working alone through plywood bearable, that a great shop cart, made so it is the same elevation as her tablesaw. Nothing make just one, though, due to the fact that I guarantee that once you usage it you will do it instantly desire a pair more. You have the right to use one dare to support the plywood as it enters the saw and also another together it exits, leaving you cost-free to concentration on maintaining the plywood walk straight against the fence. If your floor is rough, put bigger wheels on your carts and also make the carts 1/8 in. Reduced than your saw, just to it is in safe.

The architecture we give here is the simplest and strongest one we’ve checked out yet. (See “Hardworking Horse and also Cart,” AW #96, October 2002, page 52. See page 5 of this issue for reprints.) It’s made from 3/4-in. Plywood, glued, nailed and screwed together. Made from fir plywood, each cart will expense less 보다 $80. And when you’re no cutting plywood, carts are great for relocating parts about the shop, and also all species of miscellaneous tasks.

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Get support on the Left Side

For crosscutting lengthy pieces of plywood by yourself, rig up some kind of support on the left next of her saw. Periodically a shop dare will execute the trick, particularly if your floor is smooth. However, a cart can gain hung up, ruining your cut. A an ext sure-fire method is a piece of plywood clamped come a sawhorse at just the ideal height. Do it long enough to support your work-related both before and after the cut. If you have a fence with a square steel tube in ~ the front of the saw, examine out the idea on web page 31 (Self-Storing Tablesaw Support) for an additional approach.