Plywood Blade for Circular Saw

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
I have a Ridgid Fuego 6-1/2” circular saw that I use primarily for breaking down (cross cutting?) 3/4” plywood. It seems to do a good job when I measure correctly, but the cut is not a very clean one. Assuming I should get a blade intended for cutting plywood, how many teeth would the ideal blade have? I see blades with as many as 100 teeth. Does the number of teeth have an effect in the saw’s ability to follow the straight edge I use with it?

Sorry if this question has been posted recently. I haven’t seen it in the last hour of reading through the site.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
I use the Diablo 40 tooth in my Makita for breaking down plywood. Something like $17 ad the Borg.

Only way a blade messes up a strait line is if it gets hot and warps.
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
these are the specs for the festool ts55 fine blade, i think tooth shape and hook angle are important factors to look at in addition to teeth count. I think ability to follow a straight edge is more with the user and how fast you go. If you are able to maintain a consistent body position along the length of the cut you are less likely to wander
  • Kerf: 2.2mm
  • Bore: 20
  • Hook Angle: 5°
  • Tooth Shape: ATB
  • Teeth: 48
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
A couple of thoughts. First are you using a guide? When I say guide, I mean a shop made, upon which the saw rides. By using this style of guide, on one side of your cut, you create a zero clearance insert. Second, is the blade parallel to the edge of the base? The Dewalt, and B&D Sawcats I use can be adjusted to make blade parallel to edge. For blades, I prefer the Diablo 7 1/4", 40 tooth blade from HD. I don't know if you can get this in 6 1/2" size. Maybe as a special order item?
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
A couple of thoughts. First are you using a guide? When I say guide, I mean a shop made, upon which the saw rides. By using this style of guide, on one side of your cut, you create a zero clearance insert. Second, is the blade parallel to the edge of the base? The Dewalt, and B&D Sawcats I use can be adjusted to make blade parallel to edge. For blades, I prefer the Diablo 7 1/4", 40 tooth blade from HD. I don't know if you can get this in 6 1/2" size. Maybe as a special order item?
I use a Tru-Grip clamp as a straight edge. I've thought about a zero-clearance insert, but I haven't figured it out yet. Someone suggested mounting one on the saw's shoe, but that would interfere with the blade guard. The blade on the saw now is a Diablo (red) plywood blade. It seems it should cut cleaner than it does.

One problem I'm having, as silly as it seems, is making a square cut. If I measure from the long edge of the plywood to the cut line and then use a square to position the clamp, the cut is not as square as it would be on my table saw or Kapex. When I check the cut with my square(s), it's not where it needs to be. Believe me, I understand the geometry of the situation. The T-Square and the measured marks are rarely the same. (I'm not actually seeking any input on this problem as it has to be my measuring. I need to learn how to measure.) One day I'll get someone with experience to watch what I'm doing wrong.

The blade is parallel to the edge, as far as I can tell. The saw is not adjustable, I think.

The plywood that I have is 3/4 x 18 x 96 birch. (I buy them from a guy in Virginia for $10 each.) His prices have gone up a little, but I can't buy the stuff any cheaper. I have to build some utility shelves for my shop so I can get a bunch of stuff off the floor. I need room to make room.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
I know its not the answer you want to hear, but buy a Festool Track saw. I used to use a tablesaw / circular saw too. Now, the FIRST thing I typically do on sheet goods is cut off the factory edge! Yes, the Festool (TS75 anyhow) makes a far superior cut than the factory , ZERO tearout!. I find I use this saw for So many other things as well. Like glue line jointing long, heavy live edge material ( Ive easily done up to 2.25" thick maple slabs 9 feet long) not easily done on a jointer. Its also makes crosscutting long things a breeze. worth every penny IMO.
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
I don't mind hearing it at all. Just a couple of days ago, I was researching track saws. The article didn't review the Festool, but it did review some less expensive alternatives, and the clear winner was the Markita. The last time I checked, the Festools were not available, and the dealers didn't know when they would get them. I'll check again since I'm not opposed to buying one.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
I have a strip of Masonite that is exactly the offset between the blade and the shoe, so I just drop it on the line, then slide my clamp against it. So to cut a sheet, I only need a start and finish pencil mark. For short crosscuts, I just use a speed-square. Sometimes I just use a chalk line and freehand.

Sure, a top notch track saw if fine, if you can afford one. A Festool with track etc. can run $1200! I use my cordless to break down sheets because I can't manage a 4 x 8 or even 5 x 5 by myself. I actually re-arranged my shop knowing I don't do full sheets on the TS. So, just slide a sheet back between the tailgate and sawhorse on a sheet of foam.

I concluded the improvement for a cheap track (WEN) to upper (Makita) was not really any better than a straightedge and my cordless. Can't justify a Festool for rough cuts. ( but waiting for the Kapex to come back in stock)

Are the cuts as good as my TS? No. Don't need them to be. A circ saw is a rough/carpentry tool, not a cabinetmaking tool. As far as strait, my Makita can pretty much split a chalk line freehand and it is by no means skill on my part. As far as tearout, that is what masking tape is for. 2 1/5 maple slabs? Well hats off to that. I would have to drag out my Skill and a power cord. Anyone tried using a bit of Masonite on the top of the sheet to prevent tearout?

Now, if you did not have a TS, then the Festool track would be my first choice. Fits in an apartment closet etc. Might even give it a nod over anything smaller than a full size cabinet saw. Job-site size scare the heck out of me.

I got my Diablo from the Borg.
I find factory edges to be strait, but not smooth. So bettering them is no surprise.
Sounds like a great birch ply source.
 

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