Carpentry Types – Clean Cuts with Circular Saw

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  • Carpentry Types – Clean Cuts with Circular Saw
  • Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    I make a lot of furniture (bedrooms, studies etc) using cut & edged MFC from Kronospan, Finsa Egger etc. I can usually make pretty clean cuts but sometimes (and with some boards like hacienda Black, which seems to have a lot of mica in it) I would like a cleaner cut. Especially when making shelves which I would like a clean cut both top and bottom.

    I use a Makita circular saw (190 mm blade) and it’s quite a chunky beast. I also have made a few cutting guides and a bench which will support the board along its length when being cut.

    Does a shallow cut (blade only going through the underneath by 1mm) give a better cut than a deep one? Are there any tricks I can use?

    Sometimes when testing new boards I find that some of my blades give better results than others.

    Is there a blade (that comes in 190) that is regarded as the best, or will I just have to bite the bullet and get a Festool?

    And no, I don’t have room for a table saw.

    Cut 2mm wider and router the edge with a straight edge, et voila lovely clean cuts.

    Rail saws! (The Festool I use normally gives a nice clean cut.)
    Can you cut (with the workpiece) upside down or use a blade with lots of teeth?
    Duct tape along your mark.

    Looking like a rail saw I think.

    Mccruiskeen normally helps with this kind of stuff. He’ll be along soon I reckon.

    EDIT: oops, just seen:

    Especially when making shelves which I would like a clean cut both top and bottom.

    Forget my cutting upside down suggestion. 🙂

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    You rang….. 😆

    Make yourself a festool style cutting guide

    once you’ve made that it should prevent any splintering (on the side of the cut the guide is on). If you need better than that, then using the guide set the blade so it just kisses the top surface by a mm or so and do one pass to score the top surface of the wood, then set it to cut full depth and cut again. This achieves the same thing as the scoring blades on big table saws.

    For cleaner cuts use a blade with more teeth on it, the onces supplies with the saw out of the box tend to be quite a course blade

    TheBrick
    Member

    You sound a like a better wood worker than me but one thing I do when I require a clean cut both sides is clamp a scrap bit of wood on the bottom. I don’t know if this is a standard trick or a TheBrick bodge but if works well most of the time. Not always possible I know if you’re doing a big long cut.

    Blade just deep enough to cut through is meant to be best. Also, a lot of circular saws come with a ‘ripping blade’, I bought a second fine cut blade that cost nearly the same as the saw. The ripping blade has about 15 teeth but the fine cut must be closer to 40 and there is an obvious difference when trying to do neat edges.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    You sound a like a better wood worker than me but one thing I do when I require a clean cut both sides is clamp a scrap bit of wood on the bottom. I don’t know if this is a standard trick or a TheBrick bodge but if works well most of the time. Not always possible I know if you’re doing a big long cut.

    I do that by default as I work of a sacrificial surface so the blades only just going through wood and a mm or two into a scrap board on the bench. Whether thats helping to keep the cut clean I’m not sure though. It would help if you were jigsawing

    mcc, the OP will need a table saw to cut the narrower piece for the guide. 🙂

    (Only joking…that’s quite a handy video that.)

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Cut 2mm wider and router the edge with a straight edge

    Yes I’m doing that this evening with 4 vinyl wrapped MDF doors which I stupidly ordered at 1425mm instead of 1394mm Fortunately they’re a square profile and the customer won’t see the top edge (but I’ll stil put a bit of iron on strip on them).

    But the number of cuts I make (I cut 80 pieces to make the study I’m fitting this week, and about half of them need a good clean cut) means it would take me over twice as long. And time, as they say, is money.

    I also have two blades: one for ripping ply etc, and an expensive 40ish teeth one (that can be re-sharpened) for cutting eg parquet borders.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    So long as you’re getting a clean cut on the top – which the cutting guide should achieve as its effectively clamping the top surface down – the guide and the blade are acting like scissors – then the bottom edges should take care of itself.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Subscriber

    I am NOT a proper carpenter not by a long way but if I want a good clean cut i go for the sacrificial bit underneath. Its probably not as good as many here can do without but works for minor diy projects and with a ripping blade in.

    Premier Icon mugsys_m8
    Subscriber

    I’ve used a wolfcraft saw guide and a apparently fine cut blade fitted to a circular saw. Made a nice job of the worktop I cut with it.

    Saw and guide were borrowed, so not sure on the detils of the blade.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Make yourself a festool style cutting guide

    That is a great video – will make one of those this weekend.

    Thanks!

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Yes the guides I made are like that one. Trouble is, i think one of my blades is a bit wider than the others so i have to keep moving the guide over and re-cutting the guides to keep it all in line.

    I like the scribe first cut second idea. I’ve got a number of blades, one has a lot of teeth but it might be getting blunt now. Is it worth having them sharpened? I think Abbey hardware in Shrewsbury does a mail order service.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    On another subject – I had a lot of trouble getting a decent T-square. But as I’m making furniture with bought-in doors i don’t need it to be any squarer than the doors.

    So on one of my door orders i ordered a 500×250 plain door, screwed a bit of MDF to the bottom and wahey – a cheap and very accurate Tsquare.

    Those cutting guides – the biggest problem is making sure the guide piece is absoulutely straight. 90mm MFC can be quite bowed, so the occasional but join of mine has a bit of daylight in!

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Those cutting guides – the biggest problem is making sure the guide piece is absoulutely straight

    Cheapo contiboard shelves are nice and straight – cut one edge off and flip it to make the the edge the footplate runs along to make the second cut.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Those cutting guides – the biggest problem is making sure the guide piece is absoulutely straight.

    My local builder’s merchant has a massive sheet saw thing and cut sheets for free, so can just get the ‘reference’ edge done on that in 18mm ply – should last a while.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    I have got PLENTY of left over cut & edged MFC from HPP to make new guides from. I can colour code them to the job if necessary!

    But if I want them to be compact, rather than 400mm wide, that;s when the bowing comes into it.

    if you’re doing that sort of work regularly, then you should really invest in a TS55. you can pick up the saw, 2×1400 rails, pair of clamps and a rail bag for £462 from D&M. I always use a bench on site made from 4 fold up trestles, a sheet of ply on top and a sacrificial sheet of 6mm mdf to cut onto. A sheet of celotex on the floor also works well.
    the very first cut I did with the TS, I knew straight away it was worth every penny, it really is that good. I had the dewalt plunge saw before and sold it the day after I tried the Fes.

    m1kea
    Member

    TheFunkyMonkey

    if you’re doing that sort of work regularly, then you should really invest in a TS55. you can pick up the saw, 2×1400 rails, pair of clamps and a rail bag for £462 from D&M…………

    The very first cut I did with the TS, I knew straight away it was worth every penny, it really is that good. I had the dewalt plunge saw before and sold it the day after I tried the Fes.

    I’m very much in the “all the gear and some idea” camp 🙄 and got a TS55 last year and have to agree with TFM re the cutting.

    I subsequently got a Mak 1/2″ router and the adapter to run it in the Fes rails.

    russ295
    Member

    TS55 here as well. If mine broke/went missing I’d buy another ASAP.

    b r
    Member

    Ideas:

    1 Scrap clamped
    2 ‘Better’ blade – I bought an 80T for my mitre saw and it cuts like a mirror.
    3 Do you paint the MDF afterwards – if so I’d edge the doors (biscuit jointer) with wood strips and the router to width/depth. Also gives a stronger knock-free edging
    4 Rout to size.

    These ‘bought-in’ doors, are they ready panelled or something like that?

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    I hate to break it to all the TS55 owners… but the Maffel MT55 is better 😀

    m1kea
    Member

    maccruiskeen – Member

    I hate to break it to all the TS55 owners… but the Maffel MT55 is better

    But when splashing money on expensive kit, ‘FESTOOning’ yourself has a better ring than MAFFELING, which er doesn’t……. 😆

    I’m a pauper so I’ve only got the DeWalt rail saw! actually it was bought because of the 1500mm rails on this one as I most often cut 3m worktops down the length, I digress, still the best bit of kit in my van, use if for everything these days!

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