How to Cut Plywood Without Chips

In the manufacture of various finishing works or the manufacture of furniture, the use of plywood is a common practice. At the same time, home craftsmen have a choice: how to cut plywood and how to achieve a perfect cut without chips. When cutting such a material, some difficulties arise: the sheet is large in size, and the structure of its base creates difficulties when sawing. Knowing some of the features, you can achieve excellent results when working with an electric jigsaw, hand or circular saw. The main condition is to ensure reliable fixation of plywood.

how to cut plywood without chips

Plywood. material practical in use and convenient in processing

Cutting targets and suitable tools

Depending on the purpose of sawing, it is selected what can be used to cut plywood most efficiently. Among the tools used to work, we can distinguish the following:

  • electric circular saw;
  • hand saw;
  • electric jigsaw.

Consider the features of using various tools for cutting plywood sheets and in which cases it is more advisable to use one or another device.

Hand saw

When cutting plywood with a hand saw, one has to exert physical efforts due to the significant density of the material. This tool is used if necessary to cut a sheet of plywood into identical fragments.

A manual jigsaw is considered the best tool and allows you to decide in advance how to cut plywood without chips, eliminating the need to purchase electric tools. With its help, you can make a small number of elements of complex shape. Having certain skills of working with a jigsaw, you can make a neat cut, however, due to the high labor costs and low productivity, this method cannot be called optimal.

If there are no electric tools or a simple jigsaw at hand, then you should resort to the use of a simple hand saw. To cut the sheet was convenient and avoid the formation of chips, the tool blade must have a large number of small and well-sharpened teeth. The angle of the saw to the plywood sheet should be sharp. It is recommended to avoid jerking and make uniform movements with strong pressure.

Tip: The cut of a conventional saw is rude, therefore it is recommended that the end parts be machined with emery after cutting.

Circular Saw

Various forms can be created from plywood sheets using a circular or circular saw, but the main purpose of these tools is to create rectangular cuts. When cutting material, it is very difficult to get a precise cut, because the speed of rotation of the discs is very high. In this regard, preference should be given to those cutting wheels that have small teeth and are used to work with wood. When processing plywood, it is good to use cutting wheels designed for sawing chipboard.

Tip: while cutting the plywood sheet, you should make sure that the pressure on the sheet is insignificant, and the speed of rotation of the disk is small.

In the manufacture of furniture or its repair, one often has to choose what to saw with laminated plywood. To get a clean cut, you need to select discs or blades that have frequent and small teeth. Of great importance is the angle of sharpening, as well as the shape. It is advisable to select discs with a positive sharpening angle and different tooth shapes (alternating trapezoidal and straight teeth are observed). If the disk has negative sharpening angles, then it is necessary to reduce the speed, otherwise the wood will burn.

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Important: the larger the diameter of the disk, the wider the cut will be and, accordingly, the number of chips will increase. It is completely impossible to avoid the formation of chips, but it is really possible to reduce their number and size to such an extent that subsequent processing can completely eliminate all roughness.

The relationship between the size of the chip and the teeth of the saw is established: small ones leave less damage than large ones. The amount of tooth bite affects the cleanliness of cutting plywood. The best result is achieved with minimal wiring. You can check this parameter using a standard ruler. Sawing a thick sheet with a disc with a minimum set of teeth should not be, because of increased friction, it will burn and jam the disc.

Electric jigsaw

Sawing any plywood is best handled by an electric jigsaw. When working with this tool, you should use small files, cut the blade, pressing the jigsaw and avoiding jerky movements. At the end of the process, the ends of the material are treated with sandpaper.

It is not worthwhile to purchase low-quality tools, since after cutting a length of 5 meters, a strong blunting of the cutting edge is observed, which causes the appearance of chips. The absence of wiring and the opposite sharpening of the teeth located in the neighborhood and the small width allow you to make a complex curly cut. But these qualities of fine cutting files cause fragility of the blades.

Video: How to Cut Plywood Without Chips

Finishing cutting of plywood can be carried out using blades for working with metal parts. The size of the teeth of such saws is minimal, which greatly slows down the cutting speed, but allows you to achieve the highest quality. Since the width of the saws for metal is large, it is possible to carry out curly cut only with a large bend radius (0.6-0.8 m).

Features of cutting tools

Each plywood cutting tool has its own characteristics when used. Consider the rules for working with plywood with various cutting tools.

Circular sawing

To effectively cut a sheet with a circular saw, you should adhere to these rules:

  1. Place the plywood sheet on a stable support and make the first cut closer to the middle of the sheet.
  2. Adjust cuts in depth. To do this, lower the disk and start cutting, while the depth of immersion of the disk should be 0.5 cm greater than the thickness of the blade.
  3. To avoid personal injury due to the high likelihood of a kickback, you should sit on the side of the saw line.
  4. Prepare the saw to make the necessary cut. To do this, the saw shoe (part of it in the front) should be applied to the blade and set the blade on the cutting line, after bending the casing.
  5. Make sure there is no interference at the bottom of the sheet.
  6. Turn on the saw and rush to immerse its blade in the material. Hold the saw firmly to prevent kickback. After immersing in the slot of the disk and installing its shoe on the surface of the sheet, the protective cover should be returned.
  7. Run the tool along the line to the end of the canvas.
  8. Turn off the saw and only after it has completely stopped is removed from the slot.
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Cutting with an electric jigsaw

To get a smooth cut, the sequence of actions should be as follows:

  1. Securely fix the material.
  2. If possible, cut perpendicularly to the wood fibers, otherwise it will be very difficult to get a smooth edge.
  3. In no case should you put pressure on the tool, the cutting speed from this will not increase, but the tool is guaranteed to break.
  4. The surface of the teeth should be greased with oil to facilitate work (provided that the wood is working with increased strength).
  5. It is undesirable to use the tool for a long time due to its heating and engine damage.
  6. After use, clean the jigsaw and lubricate it.

Work with a hand saw

Working with a hand saw involves a lot more labor than a circular saw. To correctly saw a sheet of plywood, you need to consider the following rules:

  1. Make a vertical notch along the cut line. To do this, place the saw blade and stretch the blade to form a groove.
  2. Tilt the saw blade to an acute angle with the sheet plane (from 30 to 40 0) and begin to make smooth movements.
  3. To maintain evenness of cut, the forearm and shoulder should be in the same plane. If you deviate from the specified direction, you need to slightly bend the saw in the desired direction and continue to work.
  4. To avoid the formation of a kink, it is necessary to keep the sawn part with an unoccupied hand.
  5. At the end of the cut, it is again necessary to give the blade a vertical position and finish the job by conducting several movements perpendicular to the plywood sheet.

This is interesting: the hard coating of laminated plywood makes the material heterogeneous, which causes chips to form during processing. Another reason for the appearance of such defects is determined by the speed of movement of the cutting edge, the shape of its teeth and the applied efforts. Often a jigsaw blade breaks large pieces of plywood, which is due to the use of files with large teeth or punching the upper part of the sheet.

How to get the perfect cut

In order to get a perfect cut from the front side, you can use both a hand saw and use a power tool. There are several tricks that help to achieve a quality cut of plywood. Here is some of them.

Zero clearance

The principle of this technique is to reduce to the minimum possible distance between the sole of the saw and the pressure pad. This avoids breaking off the top layer of plywood. This effect can be achieved by attaching a patch plate to the sole of the tool. The overlay has a slot to maintain the ability to cut along the intended line. Thanks to this, the teeth are guaranteed to cut small chips and do not break out the material.

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It is important to exclude mechanical damage by overlaying the sheet surface. The overlay should be replaced every 5 meters. The use of overlays made of more durable materials (metal, plastic or fiberglass) allows you to get rid of the need to often change the lining, the surface of which must be pre-polished.

Adhesive tapes

To protect the back of the plywood, a tape is glued along the cut line. This method helps to prevent breaking off large pieces, which is especially effective if you decide to use a manual or electric jigsaw. However, not every adhesive tape is suitable for these purposes. For example, masking tape in this case will be completely useless due to the small margin of safety.

Before you start sawing, a tape tape having a fiberglass or aluminum reinforcement is glued to the surface. The requirements for its width are as follows: there should be a margin of 1.5-2.0 cm on both sides of the cut line. It is better to paste by pressing the tape with a dry cloth, avoiding the formation of wrinkles and gluing.

After the saw blade or electric jigsaw has stopped working, remove the tool after disconnecting it from the mains. Then proceed to peel off the tape. In this case, great care should be taken so that sudden movements do not cause the separation of small fragments of the laminated surface, which inevitably form during cutting. Therefore, it is necessary to abandon the use of materials with a powerful adhesive base. When choosing such a tape should take into account its adhesive ability and ease of cleaning with a rough surface.


To cut the plywood sheet correctly, you need to use a suitable tool and follow some rules:

  • Before cutting it is required to take all measurements and check yourself to avoid annoying mistakes;
  • during operation, it is necessary to monitor the power cord;
  • Before using the tool, it is required to adjust the depth of cut not the desired value;
  • saw blade should be suitable for cutting plywood;
  • the use of a saw should be accompanied by the use of protective gloves and glasses;
  • blunt saw blades are more dangerous than sharpened ones;
  • during sawing of plywood it is necessary to observe safety not to bring hands closer to the blade;
  • Do not start work without the skills of working with a power tool.


It is quite possible to achieve excellent quality plywood cuts at home if you use a guide rail in your work, correctly cut the material and observe safety precautions when working with cutting tools. Knowledge of the structure of the plywood sheet and the features of its processing will help to avoid annoying mistakes and avoid additional costs for the purchase of new material instead of spoiled.