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
Last update on 2021-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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 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.
4) 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.
5) Irwin 11820ZR 6-1/2-Inch Cutting Saw Blade
The Irwin 11820ZR is a 6-1/2″ diameter blade that features 140T. It is perfect for cutting plywood, veneer, plastic, and other types of boards. This blade features precision cutting with its precise ground teeth that create accurate and smooth cuts.
The Irwin 11820ZR showcases a fully hardened plate that runs longer and truer. It is also wrought in (heavy gauge) high carbon steel that makes it durable and long lasting. Besides, it features a 5/8″ arbor with diamond knockout. It’s also less expensive than the previously mentioned blades.
Last update on 2021-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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.
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.
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 wooden fibers will break clean and nice 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.