Panel Saw Please

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Forum topic by Drew posted 04-03-2007 03:29 PM 32344 views 1 time favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Drew's profile


19 posts in 5290 days

04-03-2007 03:29 PM

I need some help. I use alot of plywood in my building and am sick of buying small sheets for double the money just because I can’t cut the large ones at home. Or even worse, having the idiot at home depot cut a large piece of plywood small enough for me to handle on my table sawl.(those guys can’t read a tape to sve their life) The big panel saws are much too expensive for me. I have seen some homemade versions, but can’t find any plans out there. Can anyone help?

-- What would Marc do?

32 replies so far

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 5302 days

#1 posted 04-03-2007 03:35 PM

Well… as my buddy owns timberline tools I would call him and give him a budget… See if he can start looking for a used one for you.


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View Ryan Corrigan's profile

Ryan Corrigan

72 posts in 5297 days

#2 posted 04-03-2007 03:36 PM

I think I saw some plans in a Shop Notes mag a few mos. ago. I’ll get the issue # for you if I can remember. I believe it has complete plans to build on for under $300 w/o the saw itself. I am going to build on myself after I get some other things wrapped up at the shop. Good Luck!


-- Ryan Corrigan Sadieville, KY

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5614 days

#3 posted 04-03-2007 03:40 PM

I usually have some sloop in my measurements and I’ll have the big box guys rip it to about 1/2” over so that I can get it in my vehicle.

Or I’ll manhandle it home and use the sawhorses to get it into smaller size.

I’ve got a sliding table on my saw, but sometimes the dimensions of the cut pieces don’t lend themselves to being long rips or wide cross cuts and the sawhorses do fine.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Ryan Corrigan's profile

Ryan Corrigan

72 posts in 5297 days

#4 posted 04-03-2007 03:45 PM

Another option is to use a FesTool plunge cut circular saw and the guide rail. I have the saw and it produces flawless cuts in all kins of sheet stock. I would recomend it to any one who is trying some large scale projects where there is a lot of sheets involved.


-- Ryan Corrigan Sadieville, KY

View Josh Pendergrass's profile

Josh Pendergrass

123 posts in 5312 days

#5 posted 04-03-2007 04:35 PM

I was watching a podcast from woodworking online (I think) that showed their favorite tips and tricks. They had a tip you might consider. The guy got a larger sheet of styrofoam and laid it on the floor, then laid the plywood on top of it and used his circular saw and one of those clamping guides to cut it. I have tried this a couple of times now and really like it. I used several spare 2×4’s and cut in between them, but it is the same principle. Support the plywood a couple inches above the floor, then you can kneel on it ito make the cut.

-- rtwpsom2

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 5375 days

#6 posted 04-03-2007 06:31 PM

I started a similar topic earlier here.

Rockler has a set of plans to make your own panel saw. It is only $3.95 for the plans. I bought the set and read through them. It would not be that difficult to construct, but it does take some room against a wall.

So far, I have been using the sawhorse and guides method with a circular saw. The problem is the splintering, since I do not have a plywood blade. But, it has worked for the most part. I have also cut plywood on a table saw when I had a helper around. Again, it works but I would like to get better results. It is too hard to move around a full sheet of plywood to cut. That is why I like the idea of the panel saw or guided saw. Then you can move the saw instead of the plywood.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 5302 days

#7 posted 04-03-2007 07:03 PM

I have seen plans to turn your table saw into a movable table… saw…


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1530 posts in 5339 days

#8 posted 04-03-2007 07:34 PM

I’m a Festool guy, and will loudly sing the praises until people tell me to shut up, but if you’ve already got a circular saw that you love you might check to see if you can adapt it to the EZ Smart rails. Or build your own rail system, as others have pointed out, there are various plans lying around on the web, most cost a few bucks, but not much. The key usually involves bolting some hardboard to the base of your circular saw.

The trick is to make sure that the blade is exactly parallel to the rail guide, and that your first cut cuts off some portion of the rail (in the Festool case this is a little replaceable rubber strip) so that you have an exact position of the edge of the cut for alignment on future cuts.

But if you get a system put together that does this right (especially if you get a saw that pivots around the cut line of your rail so that bevel cuts are easy to align) you’ll probably find yourself relegating the tablesaw to the dusty recesses, to be pulled out only when you have to do narrow ripping.

If you don’t already have a circular saw that you love, c’mon over to the Festool Owner’s Group , just be warned that it can become addictive.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5311 days

#9 posted 04-03-2007 07:43 PM

I would try Rob and Karsons suggestions and then decide if you want to invest in one of the more expensive options.

One of the 50” self-clamping edge guides and a good circular saw would be my next step up.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5528 days

#10 posted 04-03-2007 07:45 PM

Here is my two bits. I clamp a semi straight board to the panel then cut it with a skill saw.

View printman's profile


72 posts in 5287 days

#11 posted 04-03-2007 08:15 PM

Like Ryan and Rob I use a circular saw and a 50” clamping guide. The only difference is I have a 3/8” piece of MDF bolted to the bottom of my saw to serve as a zero clearence insert. That will serve two purposes. One as a larger guide to go up against the clamping guide and two it will not chip the laminate on your plywood. Hope that will help.

-- St. Louis - just a cut away from finishing!

View Nicky's profile


718 posts in 5306 days

#12 posted 04-04-2007 05:34 AM

I’m with WayneC, self-clamping edge guides and a good circular saw.

You say that you cut a lot of plywood, but it’s relative. If you’re cutting daily, and this is your business, then you should really think about a good quality panel saw, as it does save time, and will pay for itself.

I enjoy doing cabinet work. Most start out as plywood boxes. I normally cut my ply, a bit oversized, and try to pre-cut all of the ply that’s needed, using my TS for the final cut. I tend to buy only what’s needed for the project so I don’t have to store sheet goods. I use a few saw horses, and an edge clamp, and get busy. This works for me. I really don’t enjoy this part of the process, and have though about buying a panel saw. Think this through, as any panel saw will consume space in your shop.

I’d like to offer a tip for the chipping problems mentioned (I’m a non-festool guy, no offense, just have never seen any festool products up close) in other posts. First, tune up your CS, be sure the base is square to the blade. A little paste wax on the base keeps it moving smoothly. Use a sharp blade designed for cutting plywood, they are inexpensive. Use 1” masking tape on the top and bottom of your cut line so the CS saws through the center of your tape.

-- Nicky

View Drew's profile


19 posts in 5290 days

#13 posted 04-04-2007 05:58 AM

Wow thanks folks! Now I don’t know who’s idea to try first!

-- What would Marc do?

View ErikinColorado's profile


31 posts in 5299 days

#14 posted 04-04-2007 07:21 AM

I’m constructing a sacrificial cutting table…basically a 3×7 frame made from 2×4’s that has folding table legs bolted to the bottom. The table stores flat, and when I’m ready to cut my sheets of plywood, I just pull out the table, put the ply on top, lock down my straight edge, set my saw depth to cut through the ply and just barely into the table surface, and make my cut. The table will support just about any cut I’ll need to make and I won’t have to worry about gravity happening, like I would with saw horses. I’ll post some photos when completed, hopefully this weekend.

-- Erik

View niki's profile


426 posts in 5294 days

#15 posted 04-04-2007 08:05 PM

Hi MountainDrew

Maybe this product will be of interest, it’s called “Ezee-Feed”.


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