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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am working on some closets, adding some shelving for shoes in the side recesses, etc. (Imagine the leftover space after enclosed vertical ductwork in the closet.) What shelving material would you have used for this (everything painted)? On one side of the closet, shelf dimensions were 15" wide x 14 deep. On the other side, 12" wide x 11 1/4" .

I decided to go with 1/2 birch ply from HD and bought a 4x8 sheet. During the process of making the shelves (nothing square in that closet!), one of the layers began to separate. (Thanks HD!) Maybe that was an omen - telling me something. Should I have gone with different shelf material? What would you have used for that? I thought briefly about MDF, but edges get so "chippy". Thanks.

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Oh, and the main reason I started this topic....I used a brand new Avanti plywood blade for my circular saw, and was still getting the usual tear-out (for the underside). At one point I put the saw down after a cut, and my guard did not retract, so the blade was spinning while lying on the smooth garage floor. Yikes! Anyway, after that, no more tearout! Now I was cutting with some burning, but almost no tearout. I kind of liked it for a job that was going to be painted, so I finished with this newly altered blade. Anybody else experience this?
 

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MarkJames said:
I am working on some closets, adding some shelving for shoes in the side recesses, etc. (Imagine the leftover space after enclosed vertical ductwork in the closet.) What shelving material would you have used for this (everything painted)? On one side of the closet, shelf dimensions were 15" wide x 14 deep. On the other side, 12" wide x 11 1/4" .

I decided to go with 1/2 birch ply from HD and bought a 4x8 sheet. During the process of making the shelves (nothing square in that closet!), one of the layers began to separate. (Thanks HD!) Maybe that was an omen - telling me something. Should I have gone with different shelf material? What would you have used for that? I thought briefly about MDF, but edges get so "chippy". Thanks.

......
Oh, and the main reason I started this topic....I used a brand new Avanti plywood blade for my circular saw, and was still getting the usual tear-out (for the underside). At one point I put the saw down after a cut, and my guard did not retract, so the blade was spinning while lying on the smooth garage floor. Yikes! Anyway, after that, no more tearout! Now I was cutting with some burning, but almost no tearout. I kind of liked it for a job that was going to be painted, so I finished with this newly altered blade. Anybody else experience this?
I noticed with my track saw some chipping along the edge. Put a new blade on and that solved the problem. But I don't remember if it had less or more teeth then the one it replaced.
 

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I haven't bought a sheet of plywood from a big box store in 5 years.
Same old story...you get what you pay for.
I can't even slide it in my truck bed without the veneer getting ripped off.
 

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How many teeth on the blade. IMO avanti blades are cheapo dewalt blades painted blue.

Short of a better blade, you can score your cut line first. Or make a guide to help eliminate tearout. Similiar to this http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/4283497

I haven't encountered a blade guard sticking on a skillsaw, but I'd crap my pants if I put a saw kerf in a finished garage floor.

Maybe you turned the blade into a triple chip grind with it dancing across the concrete. :laughing:
 

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MDF is what I would have gone with. Sand the edge after cutting with a belt sander then a round over router bit of your choice.

Simple...nothing fancy.
 

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I've seen less tear out with a dull blade. Avanti is Freud's economy line.

The 1/2: HD birch ply here is made in the US. Since the glue reformulations, I see delamination on plywood, no matter where it came from. It's hit or miss.

You're making short pant grade shelves - MDF is the perfect product for that. Painted, it will look better than the ply. You don't have to do some edge banding, just a nice routed edge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've seen less tear out with a dull blade. Avanti is Freud's economy line.

The 1/2: HD birch ply here is made in the US. Since the glue reformulations, I see delamination on plywood, no matter where it came from. It's hit or miss.

You're making short pant grade shelves - MDF is the perfect product for that. Painted, it will look better than the ply. You don't have to do some edge banding, just a nice routed edge.
Yup, I figured. 1/2" or 3/4"? I had talked myself out of MDF as I was looking at some dinged up edges in the store. Should have stuck with the plan.

The blade was 140 tooth - enough teeth to spin in place without dancing across the floor.

I took a piece back to HD to complain & demonstrate the splitting. The lady at customer service looks at it (about 24" x 18" piece) and says "THAT costs $46?!" I said, " It does before it gets cut up." "Oh."
 

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Like everyone else said. Big box birch sucks. A decent lumber yard will have better quality ply.

The best blades will only do so much. You have to slow down your feed rate. I can make a crappy blade make a pretty good edge against the grain if I go slow enough but even a good sharp blade with lots of teeth will tear out if you push it through fast.

I've changed my method of making cabinets to more butt joints instead of dadoes and its really been hard to be patient when cutting but that's what you have to do to get a good crisp edge a lot of the time.
 

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Score a line, or two to a little past the blade cut width. Set the blade depth to the blades gullet depth, or about 1/2" past bottom of sheet. As long as you keep the saw from wandering back & forth, the splintering should not happen, as long as blade is sharp, & feed rate is reasonable.
A lot of splintering happens because of the tooth pull angle at the surface. If the blade depth is set too deep, it pulls the surface straight up. A shallow blade depth will pull the surface at a reduced angle, & hence won't pull the surface off as easy.

fwiw
Joe
 

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Railman said:
Score a line, or two to a little past the blade cut width. Set the blade depth to the blades gullet depth, or about 1/2" past bottom of sheet. As long as you keep the saw from wandering back & forth, the splintering should not happen, as long as blade is sharp, & feed rate is reasonable.
A lot of splintering happens because of the tooth pull angle at the surface. If the blade depth is set too deep, it pulls the surface straight up. A shallow blade depth will pull the surface at a reduced angle, & hence won't pull the surface off as easy.

fwiw
Joe
Cool tip.
 

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Score a line, or two to a little past the blade cut width. Set the blade depth to the blades gullet depth, or about 1/2" past bottom of sheet. As long as you keep the saw from wandering back & forth, the splintering should not happen, as long as blade is sharp, & feed rate is reasonable.
A lot of splintering happens because of the tooth pull angle at the surface. If the blade depth is set too deep, it pulls the surface straight up. A shallow blade depth will pull the surface at a reduced angle, & hence won't pull the surface off as easy.

fwiw
Joe
You are the man. :thumbup: Why I never thought of that I don't know. :blink: Glad vets like you are around here.
 

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Score a line, or two to a little past the blade cut width.
Sometimes you can get away with not doing this on unfinished plywood, but if there is finish on it, it HAS to be scored. Or at least I've never found a blade / setup combination that will work every time on finished ply (even if it's just sealed).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Score a line, or two to a little past the blade cut width. Set the blade depth to the blades gullet depth, or about 1/2" past bottom of sheet. As long as you keep the saw from wandering back & forth, the splintering should not happen, as long as blade is sharp, & feed rate is reasonable.
A lot of splintering happens because of the tooth pull angle at the surface. If the blade depth is set too deep, it pulls the surface straight up. A shallow blade depth will pull the surface at a reduced angle, & hence won't pull the surface off as easy.

fwiw
Joe
Thanks. My feed was slow, blade (new) depth was good (not too deep), and I was cutting straight (sometimes with a guide). I should have scored it, too. Still, it was lousy ply.

For what it's worth, the following day I was making larger 3/4" ply shelves with a carbide-tipped framing blade (24T) and had near-zero tear out. (I was "re-purposing" an ugly TV armoire for the same job.)...Edit:..that was finished with some sort of white pickling stain + poly, I guess.
 

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hdavis said:
Sometimes you can get away with not doing this on unfinished plywood, but if there is finish on it, it HAS to be scored. Or at least I've never found a blade / setup combination that will work every time on finished ply (even if it's just sealed).
Before I got a track saw I would cut a sacrificial piece of 1/4" MDF. It was a pain but gave a good cut. With the track saw, to get a good bottom cut you need to be fully supported. (Cut on a sheet of 1/2" MDF). Works like a charm.
 
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