Panel Saw

By Robert Robillard on Uncategorized

Milwaukee Panel SawHandling Sheet Stock In A Small Shop

My shop is located in my basement with exterior access through a bulkhead stairway.  Getting sheet stock down those steps is do-able but difficult.

Many a project I work on from cabinets to bookcases end up with me having to rip plywood sheet stock into 12″ or 24″ strips.  On many of these projects instead of wrestling with a 3/4″  4’x8′ sheet of plywood I used my lumberyards panel saw to rip the plywood sheet to a rough width.

What is a panel saw?

A panel saw is basically a circular saw mounted on a carriage that moves vertically on graphite-impregnated nylon roller bearings.  The saw can also be turned 90 degrees and fixed to make horizontal cuts.

Panels can be loaded from either the left or right side and rolls through the saw carriage on a roller mechanism.

When properly calibrated a panel saw can have a cutting accuracy to within 1/32″ in either crosscutting or ripping directions.  I still recommend you cut your sheet to a rough length and then trim it on your table saw.

Besides making the plywood lighter and easier to carry, cutting or ripping a sheet in half is a lot easier to transport.  The next time your working on a project involving sheet stock consider cutting your plywood to more manageable sizes before leaving the lumberyard.

DeWalt DWS520 Track Saw

Track Saws

Track saws take up even less space than a panel saw and cost less too.  To use one you simply line up the track with where you want to cut, and as long as the track is on the finish side of the work piece, the saw l runs along the edge of the track, resulting in a straight, clean cut.

Track saws are an excellent way for solo carpenters to break down 4×8 sheets of ply onto a table saw.


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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