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I need something to cut plywood with for shelves, cabinet sides, etc.

Wondering whether other people find a circular saw with rip guide is always accurate, or whether it's better to get a table saw and make a support for large plywood pieces to help support whilst cutting.  

Any info on what other people find the best would be appreciated.


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if you make a track to follow the skil saw they can work just as good as a table saw;look on you tube there are many how to's easy to make.but the question is what do you want to do with the saw?

if it's just cut wood to size then a skil saw works fine bet you house was built with one;if you plan on dados and lap joints etc,although there are other tools you can use to do those things a table saw is better.but the cheap home store table saws can be junk,save your penny's and get a decent saw,you can fine used ones on craigslist and e bay.look for brand names like delta,laguna, reviews before you buy.then get a good fence most stock fences are junk because they don't fix straight.

the other thing to think about is room you need at least 4' around each side if your cutting sheet goods or casters to roll it out to where you do. 

Having so very little experience in cutting wood of any kind,  I always felt more comfortable with a circular saw.  Last year I finally broke down and purchased a table saw and now cannot imagine being without it.  Getting a straight cut with the circular saw required a lot of prep work for the proper guide for the pieces you want to cut as well as the proper support.  Also any extension cords required and depth settings.  Just seemed to take a lot of time to do a 30 sec cut and then to tear it all down again.   The circular saw still has its place for cutting larger sheet goods down to size but the table saw makes that final dimensional cut so much easier.


I usually use a combination of both tools like Rita said.  I use the circular saw to cut pieces close to finished size, then complete the cutting on the table saw.  I find the table saw With my 80 tooth carbide blade and a zero clearance insert provides nice clean edge with minimal if any tear out.  For years I tried to make clean cuts using my skil-saw classic with a guide clamped in place but the saw always bound up.  Upon measuring I found the blade was not parallel to the edges of the saw's base plate.  That's why I started using the two tool system and its worked for me.


Just my to cent but if all you do is  shelves and cabinet sides I go with a top of a line circular saw and the rip-cut or a good track saw's. I have a table saw and I cant cut a 8' piece ply wood by my self.

Hi Andy , going to add my 2 cent,s , have been cutting 4 x 8 foot sheets of ply wood  by my self for 20 + years !!  I have an 8' 6" guide  , metal , that has clamps on each end , then I drilled three holes in the guide , one in the middle and  one from each end  at about 2 foot !!   I mark my board at about 1/2 ' bigger then what the finished board will be  , then I clamp it to the board  and add the three screws to hold it straight !! You must allow for the distance between the edge of saw and the edge of blade , after this I can take it into my old craftsman table saw  with a good ply wood blade and cut it to size !! I have two portable roller stands to support the long sheets  while cutting on the table saw !!    When I cut the sheets I use two saw horses  with replaceable 2 x 4 ,s  and  four bracket,s that hook on the saw horses with another 2 x 4   that support the ply  wood , you can get away with two bracket,s and one  2 x 4 , think I got them from Rockler !! If Interested I can set this up and take some pics,  Hope this help,s and gives you another Idea , JIM !!

Since you are focusing on plywood and sheet goods, I'd recommend a circular saw with a guide rail (you don't have to buy a fancy metal one. A homemade one will do as good with little care on storage). In addition to a knock-down cutting table (I find the one featured on woodsmith magazine issue#185 suits my need. Made of only one sheet of plywood and a couple of sawhorses). for repetitive cuts of the same dimension, I'd recommend a larger blade saw (9 1/4") and stock the pieces of the same dimension on top of each others. This way you cut them all to the same dimension at once. I find 60 teeth blade with Alternating Top Bevel (ATB) works great on plywood and veneered MDF.

After all a table saw is more convenient but this doesn't mean you can't have great results with a circular saw, especially when you work on tight space or budget :)

9 1/4" blade? you mean a 7 1/4" don't you? if your just doing sheet goods you can also use a 5 1/4" trim saw lighter weight,cordless.ya only cut up to about 2x4 but you my never be cutting thicker,and you can always cut roll,cut roll if you needed to.

235mm blade is 9-1/4" and yes a 3-3/8" cordless trim saw is even lighter and cut faster (thanks to its thin kerf) but then you have to measure and cut piece by piece which may affect the accuracy. with a larger blade the saw can cut multiple pieces at once like 4 pieces of 3/4" or 6 of 1/2" on top of each others with a single cut make them all at the same dimension to overcome some of the table saw necessity.

daddywoofdawg said:

9 1/4" blade? you mean a 7 1/4" don't you? if your just doing sheet goods you can also use a 5 1/4" trim saw lighter weight,cordless.ya only cut up to about 2x4 but you my never be cutting thicker,and you can always cut roll,cut roll if you needed to.

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