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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I very recently started to work with wood and power tools because I'm trying to make a automatic cat specific (RFID based) feeder box. For the first step I'm making a box with a cat door.

To make the entrance, I started with a piece of plywood and using a jigsaw I cut a rectangle out of it in its center which will serve as the door and frame. The problem is that both the door and the insdie of the frame are not cut straight because the jigsaw went off-course by 1/8"-1/4". In addition, I anyway need to enlarge the hole in the frame and reduce the door so that it can easily be swung open (the wood is 5/8" thick). So I need to somehow sand down a lot of wood.

I tried using a sanding attachment on my drill. but it takes forever just to remove 1mm. So I'm looking for advice on which tool to use for this.

Looking at youtube videos of sanders, e.g. random orbit sanders, it seemed that it's used to remove only a few mm not like 1/4" of wood (good belt sanders seemed quote expensive). A plane/planer wouldn't work because the center cutout is only 8" in one dimension and I don't think I'd be able to fit it in properly to be able to move it side to side. A router seemed like a good option, but it seems inappropriate to buy a router for this. What tool would you use? I'm already over budget, but I'd consider something in the $60 range maybe even $100 if it could be useful elsewhere.

Thanks in advance,
Matt
 

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I'm thinking you should use the jig saw with a different blade and taking your time to make a better cut. :thumbsup:

Pictures always help us see things people may not explain well or not even notice. Hint post up some pictures.:thumbsup::laughing:
 

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I did this recently. Tracksaw to cut as much as possible, then a pull saw to the corners. Might have taken 15 minutes on an exterior solid core door. Back in the bad old days, I'd use a circular saw with a loose base against a clamped board to do the same.
 

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The cleanest cut you could make is make a templet and use a router to true the hole. If it doesn't have to be precise I would just use the jig saw with a better blade.
 

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If it's only a quarter inch max, can you shave it close with a rasp before sanding? If you don't mind using hand tools over power tools? Guess it depends on how much wood you need to remove.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. Some pictures are attached. You can see how not straight the cut is. I touched it up with a better (less fine blade) as suggested, and that indeed is better than the original. But because I'm working on edges, the jigsaw blade bends so it gets warped in terms of depth.

I think I'm going to invest in a rasp and maybe a pull saw. I might have to get a very small rasp though to be able to use it in the frame, because I'd have to do it side to side, because top to bottom movement will separate the panels. I think for the second door, I will use a guide when cutting with the jigsaw and then a circular saw to reduce the door part.

But I'm starting to question whether plywoode was a good choice for this, because I can see that the edges can separate unless I put some molding to protect the door from rubbing against the frame as it swings. And I imagine that to use veneer, the frame has to be more straight?

I do have a question on how to use a jigsaw to make a straight cut. If you look at the drawing, The corner is the (rectangle) cut I'd like to have, the circle is the hole drilled in the wood, and the metal color is the jigsaw blade. I did A previously. The problem with A and B is that because initially to get to the line the jigsaw has to be bent/rotated from the drill hole, later the cut ends up not being straight. If I were to do C, I think the cut would be a lot straighter both in depth and length, but that would leave a semicircle in the frame corner. How do you typically do this?

Thanks.
 

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[QUOTE="markiam"

I do have a question on how to use a jigsaw to make a straight cut. If you look at the drawing, The corner is the (rectangle) cut I'd like to have, the circle is the hole drilled in the wood, and the metal color is the jigsaw blade. I did A previously. The problem with A and B is that because initially to get to the line the jigsaw has to be bent/rotated from the drill hole, later the cut ends up not being straight. If I were to do C, I think the cut would be a lot straighter both in depth and length, but that would leave a semicircle in the frame corner. How do you typically do this?

Thanks.[/QUOTE]

You've got the right idea Mark.

Just drill the holes at the cornets large enough so that you don't have to force the blade into the long straight cuts.

Using a guide is a must.

Do these cuts first and get the bulk of the material removed then clean up the corners last with a fine tooth hand saw when you have a straight shot at them....

Or leave the radius at the corners and radius the corners of the door (a fresh workpiece) to match.

You can accomplish this relatively easily by cutting the door to a size appropriate to allow clear operation,
marking the radii with a washer of the right diameter/radius, cutting the bulk of the waste off with a fine tooth hand saw then sanding cleanly to the line.

The thing that's driving your dilemma is that your trying to save the cutout as the door.
 
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Thanks for the replies. Some pictures are attached. You can see how not straight the cut is. I touched it up with a better (less fine blade) as suggested, and that indeed is better than the original. But because I'm working on edges, the jigsaw blade bends so it gets warped in terms of depth.

I think I'm going to invest in a rasp and maybe a pull saw. I might have to get a very small rasp though to be able to use it in the frame, because I'd have to do it side to side, because top to bottom movement will separate the panels. I think for the second door, I will use a guide when cutting with the jigsaw and then a circular saw to reduce the door part.

But I'm starting to question whether plywoode was a good choice for this, because I can see that the edges can separate unless I put some molding to protect the door from rubbing against the frame as it swings. And I imagine that to use veneer, the frame has to be more straight?

I do have a question on how to use a jigsaw to make a straight cut. If you look at the drawing, The corner is the (rectangle) cut I'd like to have, the circle is the hole drilled in the wood, and the metal color is the jigsaw blade. I did A previously. The problem with A and B is that because initially to get to the line the jigsaw has to be bent/rotated from the drill hole, later the cut ends up not being straight. If I were to do C, I think the cut would be a lot straighter both in depth and length, but that would leave a semicircle in the frame corner. How do you typically do this?

Thanks.
my take on a jig saw the bosch is sopose to be the best, that is my least saw i would own, i don't have one and i gave the one i had away yrs ago, they are not the best saw to cut anything streight the blade wander's of cut so a streight board to hold the saw won't fix the bad cut, good luck
 

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You've got that right Del.

A plunge cut with a circular saw s a better way to do this but its a tricky method especially for someone with limited experience.

I would do it using a circular saw (plunge cut) leaving a bit on the waste side and clean it up using straight edges and a router/pattern bit.

Then I'd make the door as I described.
 
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