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Thread: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

  1. #1
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    Default Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    Hey everyone, I have decided that I will be doing some plywood cut outs this year as a precursor to doing my own lights set up next year. I haven't done this since I was a little kid with my dad so there are some things that I will need to purchase, and the first one would be a good jig saw. I have looked at the Makita ones and they seem pretty good, but I am a little curious about how they handle when trying to make intricate cuts. It has been a long time since I actually owned a jig saw, last time I needed one I just rented it and got a s**t one so I am just going to bite the bullet and buy my own this time.

    What can you all recommend for a good jig saw? I would prefer a wireless one but a good wired one would work as well, everything will be built in my shop so there are plugs available. I could also use some suggestions on blades as I am sure I will need to have some spares/different blades for all the cuts that will have to be done. Thanks for the advice in advance everyone, I am really excited to do my own Christmas decorations this year.

    I took a look a couple hardware shops and they weren't to helpful so I took to the web and found someone who was selling a really nice Bosch jigsaw with some brand new blades on https://www.for-sale.ie/bosch-jigsaw as he was moving away for work and couldn't keep it around. I've gotten my designs on the computer and will be printing them off tomorrow so I can start cutting and then treat the wood. Hoping it won't take me until Christmas but I didn't want to take the chance of being late. Thanks again everyone!
    Last edited by ChristmasChristmas; 09-24-2017 at 02:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    Since many cutouts are done in 3/4" ply, you are wise to invest in a good saw and appropriate blades.
    In fact, your blade selection is paramount.
    You want a saw that has a switch that takes the blade travel from straight up and down (used for metal) to one that oscillates back and forth a bit with each stroke.
    This helps reduce tearout and determine different cut speeds. These feature is often called: orbital.
    Wood blades come in many pitches and types of cut. You will have to do some research, but you want the ones that give you a finer cut verses speed of cut.
    There is also the trick of taping the cut on one side to reduce tearout.

    I have used for 20+ years the BOSCH brand of jig saws.

    Here's an interesting deal on a reconditiioned BOSCH which is often named the best jigsaw available on the market:
    http://www.cpotools.com/factory-reco...4aAjzHEALw_wcB
    Last edited by ukewarrior; 09-19-2017 at 10:16 AM.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    So you want a variable speed one...I still have my B&D from years ago. Ive bought tools I thought were good...but epic failure, so I took them back and said...junk. Got my money back, and tried a different brand. When you goto HD or Lowes and say...return this...get that one...they usually do not give you any issues over it. Someplace I saw (maybe it was kickstarter?) where they mounted a router on a X/Y table and made a CNC machine for plywood. Thats what you need!

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    I've never had issues with dewalt or milwaukee gear. Like they said, you want variable speed and orbital. However, the key to a clean cut is speed of cut AND blade type. If you want very tight, crisp cuts, most likely do what the pro's do, and finish it with a hand scroll.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    Quote Originally Posted by ukewarrior View Post
    Since many cutouts are done in 3/4" ply, you are wise to invest in a good saw and appropriate blades.
    In fact, your blade selection is paramount.
    You want a saw that has a switch that takes the blade travel from straight up and down (used for metal) to one that oscillates back and forth a bit with each stroke.
    This helps reduce tearout and determine different cut speeds. These feature is often called: orbital.
    Wood blades come in many pitches and types of cut. You will have to do some research, but you want the ones that give you a finer cut verses speed of cut.
    There is also the trick of taping the cut on one side to reduce tearout.

    I have used for 20+ years the BOSCH brand of jig saws.

    Here's an interesting deal on a reconditiioned BOSCH which is often named the best jigsaw available on the market:
    http://www.cpotools.com/factory-reco...4aAjzHEALw_wcB
    I also use Bosch (not that exact one though) and it works wonderfully on anything I have tried to cut. As mentioned, the proper speed, orbit and blade all work together to give you the nice cuts you want. Practice on some scrap before cutting in to expensive stuff........ (don't ask me how I learned that one). I have never made cutouts from 3/4" ply, too heavy for me. I use 1/2". Be sure to seal them well so they will last.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    i did plywood cut outs last year in favor of blow ups and will be adding more this year. I might get some pushback on this but a bit of advice, you don't have to invest in 3/4" plywood even though its sturdy. with the sturdiness comes weight. for something that you will have on display for 4-5 weeks, get some 1/2". the end result will be the same, a painted piece of wood that needs to be sealed and supported with rebar or some type of yard stake. what also is a life saver depending on how detailed of a drawing that you aiming for, but with the thinner wood a ROTOZIP spiral saw is your friend. its not as fast a jig saw but if your material isn't 3/4" thick you will be ok. perhaps invest a few $$ in a rotozip and harbor freight the jig saw. good luck

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    I've got a nice craftsman professional model. I don't they make them anymore. Its ergonomic and easy to use. Has the switch for orbital and straight cut. There's a work light that actually works. It has a built in blower to keep the sawdust off the cut line, as well as an effective dust collection attachment. one neat feature is that you can unlock the head and rotate the blade without turning the saw. This helps with those really detailed cuts.

    I also use a router a lot when doing cutouts. I will often use a 1/2" pattern bit to cut out the outlines of the cutouts. This doesn't get into inside corners particularly well, so I finish with the jigsaw. But the router tends to be much faster to cut out the outline. I've got a dewalt DW618 router. This thing is a workhorse. I recently routed a large oval with that same 1/2" x 3" pattern bit into a 2.25" thick piece of decking material for the playset project. it gives a very true perpendicular cut when compared to the jigsaw which tends to lean into turns. It's also great for making quick repeatable copies of a shape.

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Precision Saw for Plywood Cut Outs

    Thanks for all the advice guys, I am going to read up on all the saws mentioned online then go to the shop and take a feel for myself before making my decision, and will let you know the outcome. Hopefully I will have some picture worthy cut outs this year!

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