Jigsaw is a fascinating tool, useful for making circles and curves in the cutting process. Most carpenters won’t even imagine a day without a jigsaw in possession. But this story is not one of total beauty and no challenges.
The challenge we are talking about here is more burdensome for beginners and amateurs. Cutting plywood with jigsaw introduces all those unwanted tears, splints, and chips that can make the work a mess.
Though this problem extends to pro users as well, they must have worked out a way out of this situation with their experience.
There are tweaks and tricks that can help you successfully navigate this problem and ensure that you have a smooth time working on plywood. Let us get into it, from knowing what can cause the problem to finding solutions and being safe.
Reasons For Plywood Splintering During Cutting
The major reasons for the splintering of plywood during cuts are mostly technical, the four common causes are:
- Cutting with the wrong blade
- Too High or low cutting speed
- Rushing through the process
- Issues with blade teeth
These are technical factors that can lead to the problem. None of them are as a result of the jigsaw really being less effective and technically inappropriate. Let me expand the points for clarity.
The Appropriate Blade For Plywood Cutting
Using a bad blade automatically leads to a poor cut with the presence of splinters. When working on plywood, using a thin blade for cutting will be the most appropriate option.
The Teeth Of The Blade
Choosing the right blade type is not enough; it has to be in perfect working condition. Obviously, you don’t expect to get a sharp cut with a blunt blade. To avoid wasting all the money and time, invest in getting new, sharp, and long-lasting blades.
What type of teeth should you use to cut plywood? The two main categories of blade teeth are upward teeth and downward teeth. Upward teeth are the best for avoiding splinters, especially when you are working on plywood.
An extremely high speed or an extremely low speed will definitely cause splintering. Judging the right speed mostly requires experience. There is no speed value that works perfectly for all plywood since they have different textures and thicknesses. From my personal expertise, somewhere between mid and high speed does the magic on plywood.
Rush in Cutting
When cutting plywood, you won’t want to have the negative effects of rushing. So, take it gently. A rushed motion will get the whole work destroyed. Also, pressing the jigsaw too much because of the desired impact will cut your blade, not something you want.
Cut gently, but don’t be too slow. With repeated processes of cutting plywood, you will soon master the required balance that works well.
3 Different Ways to Cut Plywood With A Jigsaw Without Splintering
The machine guides and operational techniques to avoid splinting while cutting plywood are not complicated at all. If you can carefully follow the steps below, the cutting process will go on very smoothly without you having extensive experience.
Use Of A Splinter Guard
This excellent tool for beginners can be useful for the pros too. The tool is easy to use and easy to replace. It is in the form of a strip that you can apply during your cutting process to avoid splintering.
Splinter guards are a bit expensive but easily accessible. With the use of a splinter guard, you can surely have precise cuts without any chips and tears—a simple solution to an ever-existing problem.
Use Of A Masking Tape
This is another money-saving and uncomplicated approach for solving the splintering problem. A masking tape is usually transparent, and that is to your advantage. Paste a layer of the masking tape along the proposed line of cut that you might have marked out ahead of the cutting process.
Don’t just place the masking tape at one side of your mark. Paste masking tapes on both sides of your desired cut. This is a cheaper alternative to using splinter guards, and it is also effective. When you are done cutting the plywood, you can easily remove the attached masking tape.
Engraving The Marked Line
This method is kind of manual in nature, but it can work out just fine. You will need a sharp tool that can inscribe with, preferably a knife (a sharp one). Add depth to your marked line by tracing through it with the knife. It is just a narrowly deep cut through the plywood, not too deep because it is not the major cut.
What side of the plywood do you engrave? Up? Or down? This is a crucial question and can make all of the difference, depending on your blade direction. The top surface is to be engraved if you are using a blade with upward teeth. So also, engrave the downside if you a cutting with downward teeth.
When all these are in place, you can start cutting your plywood, and you will definitely be free from splinters.
Safety Tips To Observe When Cutting with a Jigsaw
1. Always protect yourself because there will always be a chance of having particles flying around. You have the right to have your protective apparels. They include dust masks, eyeglasses, coveralls, hand gloves, and others. Safety must come first, so ensure that these protective measures are in place before you start cutting or any woodworking/workshop operation.
2. Don’t ever press too hard against the jigsaw. There are huge risks that can result from doing that. The blade teeth can get damaged, resulting in injury and messing your workpiece. Also, replacing the blade will definitely cost you some cash that was unplanned for.
3. Don’t utilize the jigsaw in vicinities where people are roaming. As a cliché, they’ll say don’t work when children are around, but there is more to it. Even the adults must wear protective clothing when they are around, and work is going on or maintain a safe distance from the operator.
4. Don’t ever cut plywood with a blunt blade. The tip should have just been to use sharp blades for all cuts, but the issue is more serious when you want to avoid splintering. It is better to get a new blade; it is always worth it.
5. Make sure your jigsaw is properly lubricated before use. This is a safety measure that some operators or carpenters easily ignore. That doesn’t make it less important.
6. Since the jigsaw is an electrical device, ensure that you use the jigsaw in dry places only. The risk of having short-circuited is high when you work in wet places.
With the preventive steps and safety measures, you will be doing great at cutting plywood without splintering. The only step that takes some experience is choosing the right cutting speed.
You will figure it out within a few practices. The required speed might change with respect to thickness and plywood texture.
I think the use of splinter guards is straightforward and applicable for everybody at various experience levels, both beginners and experts. It is very efficient, but you can always use the other means if you need to cut cost, just take some time to understand the processes involved.