How To Cut Plywood Without A Saw

How and how to cut plywood without chips Anyone who is going to create an interior item from a plywood sheet, for example, a stool, a carved box, a wardrobe or a rocking chair, asks what is needed

Which material should you choose?

Tips for choosing a material:

  1. To create decorative elements, a plywood sheet with a thickness of about four millimeters is suitable.
  2. In order to decorate interior items with a carved panel, a plywood sheet with a thickness of eight millimeters or more is suitable.
  3. A sheet of six millimeters thick is suitable for the manufacture of frame interior items. But if they are going to make frameless furniture, then they choose a sheet whose thickness is at least fifteen millimeters. It is quite possible to connect pieces of plywood end-to-end, without corners, but in this case it is necessary to make holes in the end part. For additional strength, you can apply sealant to the ends.
  4. Plywood sheets, which are more than ten centimeters thick, are mainly used as flooring on concrete screeds. In this case, a layer of waterproofing is placed between the concrete base and the plywood. How to cut 10 mm plywood? An electric jigsaw is best for cutting plywood at this thickness. However, if you need to cut along a straight mowing line, you can do with a saw.


In order for the edges to turn out without chips, you must choose the right tool:

  • Needle files are used when cutting out complex shapes. Thanks to them, the edges can be made rounded or angular. The set includes triangular, flat and round files.
  • For coarse products, two files, a flat and a round one, are quite enough.
  • When plywood sheets need to be cut before roughing the walls, use a flat rasp. With the help of it, the master will clean the edge from chips.
  • Small parts are sanded with sandpaper.
  • Another way to get even edges when cutting is to tape the cutting path with insulating tape.

Edge protection against chipping with insulating tape

How and what to cut plywood without chips

Anyone who is going to create a piece of furniture from a plywood sheet, for example, a stool, a carved box, a wardrobe or a rocking chair, asks what should be taken into account when working to make the product reliable and attractive? Also, many are interested in how to cut plywood (with a jigsaw or a saw).

The sheet material should be cut on a solid installation to avoid the shakiness of the treated area

To answer the question, what is the best way to cut plywood and how to do it correctly, you need to familiarize yourself with all the nuances and subtleties that should be taken into account in the process in order to achieve a positive result before work.

Sawing tips

How to cut plywood correctly to avoid chipping at the edges? To avoid such problems when working, you should take into account some of the nuances:

  1. How to cut plywood with a jigsaw / saw to make it easier to work with? Several clamps will help the beginner master in such a matter. Thanks to them, cutting will be much easier. It is much more convenient to control the material and the tool when the sheet is securely pressed against the table. Due to the reliable fixation of the plywood, damage to the table itself can be avoided.
  2. Drawings of any product can be found on the Internet.
  3. The drawing from the sheet to the plywood can be transferred by copying.
  4. How to cut plywood with a jigsaw to avoid chipping? When working with a hand-held jigsaw, you should always make sure that it moves perpendicular to the pile.

Correct position of the jigsaw in relation to the workpiece

Tips for working with a hand and electric jigsaw:

  1. When working with an electric jigsaw, observe the tilt angle of the platform. Most often it can be customized.
  2. In the process of cutting out simple shapes, you should monitor the position of the blade. The cut should take place from the front of the figure contour.
  3. If the cut is made along a straight mowing line, then in this case, you should be guided by the pointer (on the platform). If there is no pointer, the outline should be drawn with a pencil.
  4. To cut a complex hole with an electric jigsaw, you need to make a hole in any part of its contour. The drill diameter should be larger than the blade width.

Piercing the hole for the entrance of the jigsaw file with a special awl

  • If you are going to make a hole with a hand jigsaw, then the part should be pierced with an awl. Then you should thread the canvas through it. After that, the part is again fixed in the frame.
  • If an electric jigsaw is used, then the tool is turned in the process of work, and not a sheet of plywood (if you need to turn according to the picture). When working with a hand jigsaw, turn the plywood.
  • If you need to cut out a figure and a plywood sheet with cutouts, then cut out the cutouts first (turning the sheet is much easier than a small part).
  • During work, care should be taken that the material does not overheat. When the edge becomes hot, pause for a while to allow the file to cool down. Otherwise, the teeth will lose their sharpening.
  • The canvas should be well taut. Otherwise, the file will break.
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How to choose a plywood sheet cutting tool?

To answer the question of how to cut plywood without chips, you need to find out which tool and in what cases is more appropriate to use.

The choice of cutting tool depends on the complexity of the pattern, more precisely on the bend radius that needs to be cut.

If the bending radius is no more than one centimeter, then a hand jigsaw is used. If the width of the material is about a millimeter, then many complex shapes can be created.

If the bending radius is more than three centimeters, then an electric jigsaw is used. What file to cut plywood with? First of all, it should be noted that the radius depends on the width of the material, therefore, the smaller the saw teeth, the more intact the veneer layer will be. For this reason, in order to cut out complex shapes, a metal cloth is used.

The sketch should be applied to the back of the plywood. This will help prevent chips from lifting (if they do, it will only rise from the back side).

If you want to cut in a straight line with the mowing line, then a circular saw is most appropriate. With the help of such a tool, you can achieve an even and clean cut.

If we take into account all the subtleties and nuances of the work, then the result of all negative moments can be avoided.

Zero clearance technique

Carpentry craftsmen often use the principle of finishing the sole of their cutting tools, which consists in reducing the gap between the pressure pad and the leg. This action is guaranteed to eliminate the crust breaking effect in the upper layers of the material.

Zero clearance is achieved by attaching the cover plate to the tool support leg. The onlay has only one narrow hole (slot) that fits snugly against the cutting body. Because of this, even a small feed force of the tines can ensure that small chips are sheared off rather than turning out the chips in the top layer.

The most durable linings are made of sheet plastic (fluoroplastic, PVC), metal or fiberglass. If the linings are made of metal (soft aluminum or duralumin), then they must be carefully polished to avoid vibration.

How and with what to cut plywood and chipboard without chips?

How To Cut Plywood Without A Saw

In addition to stationary sawing machines, other devices can be used. Pendulum and circular saws (jigsaws) can be distinguished from the most affordable tools. You can make a high-quality cut using an angle grinder, on which a saw blade is installed for wood with sharp victorious teeth. But this option will not be the most effective and not safe.

In the process of cutting plywood with any kind of power tools, their working bodies move at a very high speed, so the mechanics of the process remain behind the scenes. But understanding it is the key to getting the cleanest, chipping-free edge. As a rule, the basic principle of operation of electric tools is that the cutting is carried out with the direct movement of the saw blade. At this time, the size of the removed fragments depends only on the size and setting of the teeth.

Chipping can occur due to the inhomogeneity of the material being cut. Very often, chips form on laminated plywood sheets due to the fact that the composite fibers have different densities. In addition, chips can form from different sides of the plywood sheet, regardless of the shape of the teeth, the speed and effort of movement of the working body. In the course of working with a jigsaw, chips can appear due to the fact that the teeth literally pull out large fragments from the wrong side. In addition, the top layer of the panel can be pushed through or broken out in whole fragments.

The principle of operation of a circular disc is similar to that of an ordinary jigsaw. However, the movement of the circular teeth is directed in one direction only. The main factor is the angle of the applied force. If the jigsaw blade moves perpendicular to the surface, then the circular saw can cut at any angle, depending on the diameter of the blade and the thickness of the part. This can be an advantage as the oblique immersion of the teeth contributes to a neat chip cut. However, on the other hand, due to the movement of the cutting edges, individual pieces of plywood can be pulled out tangentially. In addition, only a straight cut can be made with a circular saw.

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Application of adhesive tapes

Adhesive tape (tape, electrical tape, fiberglass) can be used to protect the back of the material being processed. To do this, you need to stick a tape along the cut mowing line, which protects the material from pulling out large fragments.

Pasting surfaces is one of the most effective ways to ensure the cleanliness of a figured cut with a jigsaw. But masking tape is not suitable for these purposes because of its fragility. The highest quality cut can be obtained by pasting the cut material with aluminum or fiberglass reinforced tape. It should be wide enough so that at least 15 centimeters of the material surface is covered on each side of the cut. In addition, the density of the sticker is important. The tape must be carefully pressed down with a dry cloth and the formation of folds must be excluded at all costs.

Do not use a tape with a very strong adhesive, because during the tearing process, it can carry away small fragments of the laminated surface or MDF panels. In addition, strong peeling off of the strip will lead to an increase in microcracks that have already formed during cutting. You also need to pay attention to how easily adhesive traces are removed and whether the adhesion of the glue is high for working with rough materials (not sanded plywood and OSB).

Ensuring a clean cut

For many parts, it is sufficient to reduce the chip size to 0.5 millimeters. Such slight irregularities in the edge will not be conspicuous, and if desired, they can be easily eliminated altogether by chamfering with emery or covering the chips with a correcting pencil. In addition, it is possible to grind the end face with emery paper.

First, you need to make two cuts 0.5 mm deep on both sides of the part to indicate the future thickness of the cut. Make two even furrows along the edges of the cut line. This can be done with an oblique shoe or segment knife (for uncoated wood or chipboard), or with a sharp drill and a victorious cutter (mainly for laminated materials).

Selection of blades and saw blades

During cutting, processing speed and cleanliness are inversely related. Chips on the cut will appear in any case. That is why the main task comes down to reducing their size to such a value at which they can be easily eliminated by subsequent types of processing. The chipping will be smaller if the saw teeth are small. In this case, the sawing process must occur at a right angle so that the cutting edge touches the surface of the material. Therefore, the selection of a suitable circular disc is an essential factor for accurate work.

Jigsaw saw blades are different. Typically, a series of clean cut files is used for chip-free cutting. They are distinguished by their small size and lack of pronounced orientation of the teeth. Typically, these teeth are in the shape of an isosceles triangle and can cut in both directions.

Clean-cut saws are characterized by the complete absence of set-up and the opposite direction of sharpened adjacent teeth. In order for the master to have the possibility of curly cutting with a small wiring, the files are made narrow in width. For this reason, they are often fragile.

For clean cutting of sheet materials, blades can be used that are designed to work with various metal products. These saws have the smallest tooth size, so the cutting process is very slow and efficient. Due to the small width of the blades for cutting metal, a figured finishing cut can be carried out with a small bending radius of 60-80 centimeters. Low-quality files can quickly become dull and chipped. Therefore, you do not need to purchase the cheapest consumables.

How to cut plywood without chips?

The depth of the grooves when sawing plywood should be at least half the thickness of the outer layer, which is inhomogeneous with respect to the base material. This method requires high precision during operation and perfect matching of the cut line and furrows. If you follow the entire cutting technology correctly, you can create a perfectly flat end that does not require additional processing.

Hand saw

When cutting plywood with a hand saw, physical effort has to be made due to the high density of the material. This tool is used when it is necessary to cut a sheet of plywood into equal pieces.

A manual jigsaw is considered the best tool and allows you to decide in advance how to cut plywood without chips, saving yourself the need to purchase electrical tools. With its help, you can make a small number of elements of complex shapes. Having certain skills in 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 you don’t have electrical tools or a simple jigsaw at hand, then you should resort to using a simple hand saw. To cut the sheet conveniently and avoid chipping, the tool blade must have a large number of small and well-sharpened teeth. The angle of inclination of the saw to the plywood sheet must be sharp. It is recommended to avoid jerking and make steady movements with strong pressure.

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Adhesive tapes

To protect the back side of the plywood, tape is glued along the mowing line of the cut. This method helps prevent large pieces from breaking off, which is especially effective if the decision is made to use a hand or electric jigsaw. However, not all adhesive tape is suitable for this purpose. For example, masking tape in this case will be completely useless due to the small margin of safety.

Before you start sawing, tape-tape with fiberglass or aluminum reinforcement is glued to the surface. The requirements for its width are as follows: on both sides of the mowing line, there should be a margin of 1.5-2.0 cm. 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 unplugging it from the mains. Then proceed to peel off the tape. In this case, great care should be taken so that with sudden movements not to 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 strong adhesive base. When choosing such a tape, one should take into account its adhesive ability and ease of cleaning from a rough surface.


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

  • Before cutting, it is required to take all measurements and check yourself in order to avoid annoying mistakes;
  • During operation, it is necessary to monitor the power cord;
  • Before using the tool, it is required to adjust the cutting depth to an unnecessary value;
  • The saw blade must be suitable for cutting plywood;
  • The use of the saw should be accompanied by the use of protective gloves and goggles;
  • Dull saw blades are more dangerous than sharpened ones;
  • When cutting plywood, it is necessary to observe safety, do not bring your hands to the blade;
  • Do not start work without power tool skills.

Electric jigsaw

Cutting any plywood is best done with 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 processed using sandpaper.

You should not purchase low-quality tools, since after a 5-meter cut, there is a strong bluntness of the cutting edge, which causes chips. The lack of setting and the opposite sharpening of the adjacent teeth and the small width allow you to make a complex figured cut. But these qualities of fine cut files cause the blades to be brittle.

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

Sawing with a circular saw

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

  1. Place the plywood sheet on a stable support and make the first notch closer to the middle of the sheet.
  2. Adjust the cut in depth. To do this, lower the disc and start cutting, while the immersion depth of the disc should be 0.5 cm greater than the thickness of the blade.
  3. Position yourself to the side of the line of action of the saw to avoid injury due to the high probability of kickback.
  4. Prepare the saw for making the required cut. To do this, attach the saw shoe (part of it in front) to the blade and install the blade on the cutting line, having first bend the cover.
  5. Make sure there is no interference at the bottom of the sheet.
  6. Switch on the saw and slowly plunge its blade into the material. Hold the saw firmly to prevent kickback. After plunging into the slot of the disc and installing its shoe on the surface of the sheet, return the protective casing back.
  7. Guide the tool along the mowing line to the end of the blade.
  8. Turn off the saw and only after it has come to a complete stop, remove it from the slot.

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 techniques to help you achieve high-quality plywood cut. Here are some of them.