December 30, 2022
I had reached a point wherein I could sort out and distinguish the circular saw blades that could give me the best cuts on plywood.
Of course, such a level of expertise in choosing a high-quality saw blade is born of having ripped and cross-cut countless plywood sheets using various brands and models of saw blades. For if you have sawn countless plywood, you would understand that plywood can be very stubborn and annoying to work with. Yet, it is universally used in woodworking. As such, you will be dealing with it whether you like it or not once you’ve decided to dabble your hand in woodworking.
Most Commonly Used Types of Saw Blades for Cutting Plywood
Saw blades may appear to those uninitiated to woodworking as almost similar to each other. Yet, upon closer scrutiny, you will see that they vary from each other. In general, many woodworkers either use combination blades or rip blades when cutting plywood, and both types of blades are perfect for plywood cutting. Nevertheless, if you are still unsure which one to choose between the two, let me elaborate on these two types of blades.
Blade Application Types That Suitable For Cutting Plywood
Rip Blades: Rip blades are perfect for use in ripping challenging materials like plywood. These blades come with a low tooth count, extreme hook angle, and extra gullet depth. With these characteristics, these blades can cut even the toughest boards.
Combination Blades: Combination blades on the other hand, combines the features of rip and crosscut blades. With these blades, you can save time and effort if you often switch between crosscutting and ripping jobs.
Blade Sizes that Are Ideal for Cutting Plywood
Circular saw blades come in various sizes. But the most common blade you will find out there is the blade with 7-1/4″ diameter. You can also find blades with smaller diameters ranging from 5-3/8″ and 6-1/2. With bigger diameter blades, you will need fewer passes to cut plywood smoothly. However, with smaller diameter blades, you need to compensate by making multiple passes through the plywood. With a more significant number of passes, you increase the chance of splintering or damaging the board.
Optimal TPI to Produce Minimal Tear-out on Plywood
If you are desirous of creating smoother cuts, characterized by less tear-out, you should go for a 40-tooth blade. Plywood, of course, comes in various sheet sizes. So, if you are ripping through plywood, then you need a 40-teeth blade or less.
If you are cutting plywood with a fine finishing or a hard veneer on its upper surface, I recommend that you shift to the use of blades with around 80 teeth or even 96 teeth. In this way, you create a splinter-free cut.
The Best Circular Saw Blades for Cutting Plywood
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The perfect blade will enable you to cut quickly and efficiently through plywood without leaving any frays, splinters, or kerf tear-out. Yet, given the many types of brands and models of circular saw blades in the market today, choosing the best blades become doubly difficult. Below is a shortlist of the most recommended circular saw blades in the market today:
1) Freud 7-1/4″ x 60T Blade (LU79R007)
The Freud 7-1/4″ x 60T Blade (LU79R007) is a 7-1/4″ blade that comes with 60 teeth. It features a high premium density made for maximum performance and durability. It is carefully crafted using excellent materials and comes with an innovative design. So, if you are tired of ending up with chip outs and burn marks on your plywood, you should use this blade.
Many woodworkers attest to the fact that this blade produces a perfect cut, which you would surely appreciate. When used with veneered plywood, melamine, laminates, fine moldings, and even solid wood crosscuts, this blade brings about flawless and splinter-free edges.
It comes with an anti-vibration feature and its Hi-ATB tooth design that provides the ultimate finish. The resulting cuts exhibit smooth and chip-free edges that you will appreciate. It also features a Perma-shield coating (non-stick) that lessens blade drag while protecting the blade from pitch build-up and corrosion.
2) DEWALT 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Blade (DW3196)
The DEWALT 7-1/4” DW3196 features a 7-1/4″ blade for fast cuts on plywood. It also features 60 sharp teeth that can cut through materials with ease and efficiency. These teeth are wrought in tungsten carbine, assuring its users of having a blade whose teeth would remain sharp longer.
This blade comes with an expansion slot, ribbed, and filled with resin to reduce the vibration level. Hence, this blade works quietly and true.
The DEWALT DW3196 is engineered for preventing or stopping kickback. It comes with a shoulder, allowing you to remain in control when you use it. Moreover, it cuts thin kerf for quality cuts. One downside of using this blade is that it is prone to produce burrs when you use it for crosscuts.
3) DEWALT DWA171460
If you are looking for another excellent option from a well-known brand, you can check out the DEWALT DWA17160. It is a tungsten carbide blade that is of high density. Thus, it resists wear and is tough enough for rugged use. It is perfect for use in cutting plywood. Moreover, it leaves no cracks and chips when cutting plywood. It features a 7-1/4″ blade that comes with sixty teeth (tungsten carbide).
As you check its body, you will see curly slots. These slots function to lessen vibrations and enable the blade to make smooth cuts. This saw blade is durable, given its impact-resistant property. It also comes with a coating that reduces friction and prevents debris adhesion.
The DWA171460 also features a thin kerf designed for smoother cuts. It is also perfect for both cordless and corded saws. Besides, it is affordable.
- It provides smooth cuts sans chipping.
- It’s durable.
- It comes with a non-stick coating.
- It tends to bind easily and becomes dull after continuous use.
- It is not suited for a 20V cordless miter saw.
4) Freud D0760A
The Freud D0760A is a 7-1/4″ circular saw blade perfect for cutting plywood. It features sixty teeth that render excellent cut finishes in plywood. It is a carbide blade that features a thin kerf. It also has a coating (Perma-shield) that prevents corrosion and helps in making excellent cuts.
The D0760A is also ideal for cutting wet lumber. You can also utilize it to cut hardwoods, melamine, and laminate. This carbide blade is of high density and comes with extra strong teeth. Moreover, it comes with slots for lessening vibrations when cutting and for dissipating heat. Thus, this saw blade will not overheat quickly.
Furthermore, the blade slots help in extending the life of the saw blade. It also features a diamond-laced arbor for more extended durability. Besides, you can utilize this saw blade with other saws like table saws and miter saws.
- It’s a multi-functional saw blade.
- It comes with innovative features like its slots and Perma-shield.
- It’s durable.
- The coating may tend to wear off quickly.
- It also leaves red markings on the material.
5) DEWALT 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Blade
The DEWALT 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Blade is s very impressive when cutting through the plywood. I, myself, have been impressed with it and would not hesitate to recommend it to newbie and professional woodworkers. It can cut quickly and efficiently without producing intense heat. Moreover, it comes with precision sharpened teeth for smooth and fast cuts.
This blade comes with a longer lifespan. It features blade coating that prevents it from rusting while reducing friction. Plus, it features a thicker body that provides it with excellent durability for heavy-duty applications.
The DEWALT 7-1/4″ is also resistant to warping with its fully hardened steel body that prevents this blade from binding or warping. Moreover, this blade features a 7-1/4″ 140t blade that is manufactured in China. It is also very much affordable.
6) Century Drill & Tool 08253 Cenalloy Circular Saw Blade
The Century Drill & Tool 08253 is another excellent option if you are looking for a reliable circular saw blade. It is known to offer precision cuts with its precision ground teeth for smooth and clean cuts. Its hard flat body reduces run-out and distortion.
With the use of this blade, you can do away with splinters and chip outs. Moreover, if the blade dulls a bit, you can easily resharpen it when required. Moreover, this blade fits all types of circular saws. It features a 5-1/2″ diameter blade with around 80 teeth.
7) IRWIN Tools MARATHON 24030
One of your best options when cutting plywood is the IRWIN Tools MARATHON 24030. It is a reliable circular saw blade considered a first-grade product. It got manufactured using the finest materials, and it delivers unparalleled strength and durability, making the cutting process of plywood easy for you.
This circular saw blade is 7.25″ in diameter and features a 5/8″ arbor. It also features a hook angle of 20° and comes with 24 teeth. Besides, it is made of carbide material and features an ATB set of teeth.
The MARATHON 24030 is perfect for ripping and framing wood. Its teeth are thinner for fast cuts. Besides, it comes with an innovative heat expansion or vent slot design for reduced vibration. It also features a reinforced shoulder for extra durability.
This saw blade features a silicone coating for smoother and straighter cuts. Besides, it doesn’t leave too much debris, and thus, it doesn’t require much cleanup after use.
- Designed for durability
- Offers high-speed cutting
- Not expensive
- Corrosion and wear-free
- The arbor size is 16mm and not 20mm
8) TWIN-TOWN 7-1/4-Inch Saw Blade
Another excellent option when cutting plywood using the circular saw is the TWIN-TOWN 7-1/4-Inch Saw Blade. This circular saw blade comes with an elegant design. But despite its elegant design, it is a mighty saw blade that could easily cut through plywood. It features tungsten-carbide teeth with C4 construction for better durability.
The TWIN-TOWN 7-1/4-Inch Saw Blade features a thin kerf of around 1.8mm in thickness, allowing for fast cuts. It is also very durable and doesn’t produce much waste. Besides, it features stabilizer vents that trap vibration and noise, keeping this saw blade cooler while reducing the warping of the saw blade.
- Allows quick cuts in plywood
- Durable and long-lasting
- Perfect for ripping and crosscutting plywood
- Can cut a wide array of materials
- Might produce a whistling sound when cutting
9) Rockwell RW9282 (Best 4 1/2″ Plywood Blade for Small Circular Saw)
The Rockwell RW9282 features a high-speed circular saw made of steel. This high-speed steel is corrosion-resistant. It exhibits sterling durability, allowing you to create multiple cuts.
Moreover, you can use this saw blade for cutting plywood and other materials like aluminum, plywood, plastic, and drywall.
The Rockwell RW9282 features sixty teeth, allowing it to cut smoothly and splinter-free. It features a very thin kerf for fast and smooth cuts. Its teeth feature carbide tips which allow for more extended usage without dulling.
This saw blade is 4.5″ in diameter, which means it is smaller than the standard 7-1/4″ saw blades. Yet, it can handle tough jobs sans any issues. Besides, this saw blade can deliver up to 10,000 RPM and is perfect for cutting plywood sheets.
- Allows for cutting various materials
- Provides smooth and clean cuts
- Offers fine cuts because of its thinner kerf
- Might heat up when cutting plywood
Choosing the right blade when cutting plywood will make so much difference in the results of your cuts. So, it will be useful to carefully select the blade you would use if you are going to cut plywood. A cheap blade will leave your cuts jagged with uneven edges.
However, if you select the blade with care, you can assure yourself that your cutting experience will be efficient and quick without having to worry about splinters, tear-out, and frays.
It will help if you match the saw blade you will use with the material you will cut. As you become more aware of the blades’ value and gain more experience in cutting different materials, you will also get to know the best blades for every type of cutting job.
The Easy Way to Cut Plywood with Circular Saw
You might find cutting a full plywood sheet on your sawhorses challenging. One alternative and easier way to cut your plywood is by using a 1”x4”x8” extruded foam sheet on the floor. Position the plywood over this extruded foam sheet and adjust your saw blade’s depth to allow it to cut into the foam by 1/8.”
Once done, you can store away your extruded foam sheet. However, if you find it a challenge to store away your foam, you can cut your foam in half. Then, duct tape both halves on one side to form a hinge. Afterward, you can fold the foam and stack it away in your storage room.
Stack the Plywood Sheet Face Down
When cutting a plywood sheet, it will be best to set it with its good side facing down. The circular saw blade has its blade entering the material to be cut underneath. So, when you set it with the bad side up, the chips and burrs are usually on the bad side. Nevertheless, if you would cut glossy surface materials like laminate, you can stick masking tape along the cut line.
Mark Your Cutline Using Your Pencil
When cutting plywood, always delineate the cutline to serve as your guide. Make sure you draw this line entirely up to the end or finish. Ensure likewise that you observe the appropriate angle of cut. Moreover, you can make an initial cut at the start to ensure that you got the right angle.
Use a Guide
Making an extended ripping cut is not that easy. Your hand might wobble, or your circular saw might veer away from your cutline if you are not careful. You can use a guide to ensure that your circular saw will be cutting along the cutline.
You can make your cutting guide using an evenly cut board piece. Besides, your cutting guide should be coterminous with the width of the wood piece you intend to cut.
Don’t Forget to Use Masking Tape
Masking tape can come in handy in reducing chipping and burrs. You can stick it over your cutline and remove it after cutting. This masking tape will prevent the top veneer from chipping or burring.
How To Prevent Splintering When Cutting Plywood
You can employ various techniques when cutting plywood with a circular saw, and some of these techniques will enable you to cut sans splintering. Splintering happens when the blade that spins at high speed enters the sheet of plywood at the bottom and ends up at the top.
Splintering, of course, mostly happens on the sheet’s topside. You might not think of this as a big issue if you are wall or roof sheeting. But if you are engaged in finer work using expensive plywood coated with hardwood veneer, you will surely not want splintering to happen.
Use Finer and Higher TPI Circular Saw Blade
It would be best to use a circular saw blade with fewer teeth to make a rough cut. Yet, when you use saw blades with fewer teeth, you might produce splintered cuts. If you want splinter-free cuts, you need to use a circular saw blade with more teeth of up to forty teeth.
Use Zero-clearance Base Attachment
If you want less tear-out, you can also attach a zero-clearance base to your circular saw plate. Nevertheless, you should carefully use your circular saw because its telescoping blade guard usually does not extend up to the zero-clearance base to provide the spinning saw blade with cover.
This zero-clearance insert will prevent wood fibers from being pulled by the saw blade teeth upward. You can make a zero-clearance base using a 1/4″ scrap piece of hardwood to match the saw blade’s plate’s size. Afterward, you can retract the saw blade over the base and connect the zero-clearance plate using tape (double-face) or screws.
Set the insert’s edge on either side flush with the edge of the base plate. You can set the zero-clearance base on the workbench’s edge, where it will not cut through the bench. Afterward, you can start the circular saw and start cutting.
Use Supporting Board
To prevent splintering, you can set the plywood with the less nice side facing upwards. In doing so, any splintering will only occur on the sheet’s flipside and will not be visible. Another way to avoid splintering is to support the plywood with four pieces of 2 x 4. Position the 2 x 4 pieces, two on either cut line’s sides for support.
These supports will prevent the plywood sheet from flexing and will reduce splintering. You can also score using a sharp knife the cut line before letting the circular saw cut across the sheet. In so doing, you can make sure that the wood fibers will break clean and nicely when you cut them with the circular saw.
How To Rip Plywood Using a Circular Saw
One of the most challenging cuts you can do on plywood is the rip cut because it runs across the sheet’s entire length. These cuts might be enervating and time-consuming. Hence, you should take extra precautions in engaging in these types of cuts.
To achieve such smooth cuts, you should cut the plywood non-stop using a steady motion. In this way, you can produce an excellent cut. It will be useful if you use a saw that comes with long cords so that it can go the entire distance without snagging or hindering you from making a non-stop cut.
You may be required to stand on the sheet to accomplish a non-stop cutting in some instances. Be very careful of kickback and make sure to place the cord on the floor if you are not using a cordless circular saw.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cutting Plywood with Circular Saw
Aside from knowing the most recommended circular saw blades for cutting plywood, you can also learn from reading the following frequently asked questions about circular saw blades for plywood:
Is It Advisable to Cut plywood with Circular Saw?
Yes, you can use the circular saw to cut plywood. A circular saw is a versatile tool, and as long as you are using the right blade, you can quickly cut through plywood using a circular saw and end up with a refined finish. Nevertheless, if you want to make long straight cuts on plywood, you might as well use a straight-edge guide to ensure that you will end with a straight cut.
You can’t simply eyeball the cut line, for you may veer away from the cut line without a guide. With a straight-edge guide, you can make long straight cuts with ease using a circular saw.
Which Blade Type and Size Should You Choose to Cut Plywood?
The blade size depends on what size of the circular saw you are using. If you are using a 7-1/4″ circular saw, you need to use a 7-1/4 saw blade likewise. On the other hand, the blade type would depend on the quality of finish you would like to achieve.
Saw blades with more teeth will likely make straight cuts than saw blades with fewer teeth. Moreover, if you want cleaner and chip-free cuts, go for 40-tooth saw blades.
Can I Cut Plywood without Splintering Using Circular Saw?
Yes, you can cut plywood without splintering. You only need to know how to do it. For example, you need to set the plywood sheet on a firm and sturdy platform with the good side facing downward when cutting plywood.
Fix the sheet securely. If you don’t want to end with many chips, you can run a knife along the cut line to make a kerf line. In this way, when you cut, the saw blade will not crack or splinter the good side of the plywood sheet.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.