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Thread: Cutting 4x8 plywood on table saw

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Schreib View Post
    I have been following the thread on tablesaw outfeed tables and have seen a lot of really good ideas. Being new to this, here's my question: what kind of a set up do I need to safely cut 4x8 sheets of plywood on my Ridgid 3650? I have a makeshift outfeed table but no extension to the left or right of the blade. Also, I am using the original fence and rails. Thanks
    I used a Rigid 12-24 for years. I had no trouble ripping lengthwise using my workbench as an outfeed table. My bench is 28” wide, which helped. I just made sure it would be center to the plywood. I would use some folding rollers to help support the sheet when centering to my table was not enough support ripping narrower than 24”. It is challenging at times, but can be done safely. ¾ MDF is a real pain….. I would also rip them slightly wider than needed, then I would rip again after the pieces were more manageable. If cross ripping was needed, I would use a straight edge and a 5” Porter Cable circle saw with a good carbide blade that I bought just for this purpose.

  2. #17
    Here's a slick fence extension from FWW that you might find of use https://www.finewoodworking.com/item...to-cut-plywood

  3. #18
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Your material should be fully supported prior to, through and after the cut.
    I think this is the key...and it's something I used to do, even though it was so much trouble to set up properly (roller stands, outfeed table, workbench adjusted to the proper height, etc., etc.). I just really loved the idea of being able to do it on the tablesaw.
    Eventually I figured out that it was far easier to break it down with a guide and circular saw (and far less of a temptation to cut a corner and reduce the margin of safety).

    As a further aside, it really does make a difference to have a decent guide...for a while I just clamped a board to the sheet, but it really does seem to make a difference to have a guide that's made for the purpose.

  4. #19
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    Best way to handle large sheets of plywood is to have a good outfeed table. Rollers are awkward and while they have their places in a shop nothing beats a nice size outfeed table the same height as the top of your table saw. There are many plans on the web that are knock down or fold away but I built one that doubles as a 4x8 bench as well. Sometimes I too break down sheets with a circular saw and straight edge.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Huskey View Post
    I have no issues ripping plywood with a helper that KNOWS what he/she is doing, my wives used to hate to hear "honey I need you to help me rip some ply" both both of them got very good at it, learning exactly what not to do. The first wife didn't wait long enough for me to have a cabinet saw with a full l shaped extension table, maybe thats why she left... nah.

    I can not say I haven't ripped full panels on even a lesser saw than you have but I wouldn't even consider it alone. A track saw or even just a rough circ saw cut with no guide (cleaned up later via the factory edge) is a much safer idea. In the end even when reduced in size if you are going to do much plywood work build a good support table to handle any sheet you may cut on the TS. Build it with removable or folding legs if you are tight on space.

    GOOD GRIEF ! how many wives you have??

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Peters View Post
    Best way to handle large sheets of plywood is to have a good outfeed table. Rollers are awkward and while they have their places in a shop nothing beats a nice size outfeed table the same height as the top of your table saw. There are many plans on the web that are knock down or fold away but I built one that doubles as a 4x8 bench as well. Sometimes I too break down sheets with a circular saw and straight edge.

    Not only are roller stands awkward but if the stock doesn't hit them almost perfectly perpendicular the sheet goods have a tendency to push them sideways and if they are too far away from the table the sheet sags and knocks them over (or tries too if they are sold) and too close and they don't give enough support. Plus a plywood or mdf table is cheaper but can't do as many jobs (in the support role).

  7. Aluminum guide and a PC circular saw with a Freud finishing blade for rip cut full sheet of plywood lying flat on 2x4's on the garage floor. Blade depth adjusted to just cut through the plywood.

    I also made a 50" long cross cutting guide from plywood to do...you guess it...cross cuts.

  8. #23
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    I fully agree that the safest way is to use a guide and break down with circular saw first. I have a 18V Roibi that does this while on my truck before taking into the shop. The big reason is clearance around table saw and handling the full sheet.

    I do have a 50" aluminum clamp that can be used under the sheet and then used against the edge of the table top. You have to measure the offset from edge to blade for this to work, and it really works better using a longer board clamped to the underside to have a longer guide. Roller supports and/or outfeed table are needed to support both pieces of material. It really is a 2 person job even then.

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Schreib View Post
    what kind of a set up do I need to safely cut 4x8 sheets of plywood on my Ridgid 3650?
    My first job in a shop was in a counter top shop where I would often have to rip entire skids (40 sheets) of flake board down into 2" strips. And they expected it done before lunch.

    The set up they had consisted of a large outfeed table, jet 10" cabinet saw with a standard T fence, and an infeed horse.

    Sounds like you already have the saw and the outfeed table. Just make sure the end of your outfeed table is at least four feet behind the blade, even if that means leaving a gap between the saw and the table.

    The infeed horse was nothing but a 2'x2' flakeboard box that was the same height as the saw. We kept it placed about 3' in front of the saw centered on the blade (this could change depending on the cut being made).

    Now the key to ripping sheet goods on a table saw is, of course, good technique. Many people make the mistake of standing behind the sheet and pushing it through the way you might push a car. A better technique is to stand to the left of the sheet holding the corner furthest from the blade with your right hand. While using your right hand to pull the sheet into the blade use your left to push the side of the sheet diagonally towards the back of the fence. As you pass the midway point in the cut you want to be pushing that corner towards the middle of the fence. When you reach the point where the sheet is passing the fence rail you want to transition to your " car push". For an extra clean cut all the way through without a little breakage or twist at the end, use a long piece of 4" scrap as a sacrificial pusher thingy.

    It really is easy and safe once you get the hang of it.

    Cut to length with a sled.

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