How to break down sheets of plywood in isolation - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-01-2020, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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How to break down sheets of plywood in isolation

Thanks to social distancing I was not able to help the home center employee measure the cuts for my six sheets of plywood I needed for my garage cabinets. Instead of risking the unsupervised employee making inaccurate cuts I took the sheet home whole.
. I now realize I should have made one years ago. It's so much quicker than using a clamping straight edge with a circular saw.

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post #2 of 5 Old 05-02-2020, 10:29 AM
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Been there... Done that. Works good doesn't it?

Gary

Woodworking is like wetting myself....Only I know that warm feeling!
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-02-2020, 11:58 AM
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Now that you figured that part out, what are you placing the sheet on when you cut it up. Sawhorses? Most of us get a sheet of foam board insulation, lay it on the floor, and then lay the plywood on it. Set the saw to cut just slightly (about 1/4") into the foam, and cut away. The foam can be used over and over next week or next year, and nothing falls at the end of the cuts, like frequently happens when using sawhorses.

Now that my body is falling apart from age and self abuse in my younger life, I can no longer get down on the floor to break my sheet stock down due to metal knees and 7 heart surgeries. I made myself a cutting table. It's just a frame made from 1 X 4 pine about 30" wide and 70" long, with 5 cross pieces of 2 X 4 laid flat and flush with the top surface of the 1 X 4 frame. One across the center, and two more at each end spaced where needed to attach banquet table legs purchased from Northern. The entire table is biscuited and glued together, so there is no metal in it at all, except for the short screws that attach the leg assemblies to the bottom of the 2 X 4s. When folded, the legs fit up into the recess in the bottom of the table, and I store it leaning on edge against my sheet stock.

I added a small modification to my cutting table when I began to have trouble getting the sheets from vertical carry position to laying flat on the cutting table. This modification is just two rectangular pieces of plywood with an off center hole drilled in each, then bolted to tone side board of the table. When turned, the pieces stick up above the table frame, but turned 180 degrees, they are below the table frame. Now, to load a sheet on the table, I turn these pieces so the extend above the table, and then lay the table on it's side with these pieces of plywood down against my driveway. I carry the plywood over to the table and place the lower edge of the plywood on these pieces and lean it against the table. Then I reach down and pick up both the plywood and the table until the table is back on it's feet and the plywood is laying flat on it's top.

When I make the cuts, I always position the sheet so that the cut goes roughly down the middle of the table, with the blade set about 1/4" lower than the sheet thickness. As the cut is completed, nothing falls to the ground. I then remove the off cut and place it aside, then re-position the remaining piece for the next cut. All of this being done at a comfortable working height and with no need to work at ground level or to even pick up anything at ground level, except for that one plywood and table lift.

Attached are a few photos of my cutting table. I now almost never use my saw horses, except to maybe make a scaffold, occasionally.

I've also added a few photos of my sheet stock dolly. It was made from repurposed rotary lawn mower wheels and stub axles, plus some scrap 3/4 birch plywood. I added a piece of 1/4" plywood to the center piece to make the gap 1" wide, so it would handle anything up to 1".
I also made it a little taller to be able to add the handles, so I don't have to bend so far over to pick it up or position it. In use, I just drop the middle or end of the sheet in it and then wheel the sheet wherever I want to go with it. The donating mower carcass had two sizes of wheels, so I made this from the larger wheels. I have a 2" bump to go in and out of my shop and this helps go over that. It also works when moving across my lawn, and I don't think the smaller wheels would let it do this as easily. Without wind, the dolly will even hold a full sheet upright on it's own while I get the cutting table ready.

Hope you like my way of moving and breaking down sheet stock. My shop is too small to do this inside, so it's always done in the driveway.

Charley
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-03-2020, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
Been there... Done that. Works good doesn't it?
Yes it does! I had a clamping straight edge for the last while and it would take 15 mins to setup to match the blade off set with the edge of the fence. This is WAY easier to use.

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post #5 of 5 Old 05-03-2020, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
Been there... Done that. Works good doesn't it?
Thanks for sharing. The folding table is a great idea. As is the plywood dolly. I have some old BBQ wheels that will work well as a dolly.
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