Preventing Blow-Out When Cutting Double-Sided Veneer Plywood

Advice on equipment, blades, and techniques to prevent a ragged edge on the underside of table-saw cuts. January 20, 2007

I am trying to cut 1/2" and 3/4" double sided veneered plywood on my table saw for custom entertainment centers. The top of the cut comes out fine but the bottom blows out and splinters. Any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
It is probably the saw blade you are using. There are a couple of special blades that are designed to cut these materials cleanly on both sides. The first is a blade with a very steep alternating high point and a negative hook angle. This blade's high points score the material on both sides of the cut and its negative hook exerts less impact on the material. The second option is a newer design that uses a cupped face grind to accomplish the same effect as the first. Both blades will give you a very nice cut, however the tool life will be severely diminished due to extreme cutting angles on both.

From contributor K:
You could get the blade contributor T suggested or you could also cut the piece 2-3" longer and trim it after on a radial or chop saw. That is assuming you have the length to do it.

From contributor A:
Several possible solutions:
1.) Use a veneer blade and a zero clearance insert on your TS. Use a stabilizer on the blade. You'll still see a little chipping on the lower edge. The blade has to be kept sharp. Some manufacturers' blades will hold up longer between sharpenings before they begin to cause chip out.

2.) Use a vertical panel saw with a scoring blade. (Pretty expensive, unless you plan to make lots of veneer ply boxes.)

3.) Cut up the panels with a circular saw and guide. Use a high quality blade on the circular saw. You have to make two cuts: First score with a 1/8" deep cut, and then cut the panel through. (Kinda slow.)

- A Festool circular (not your every day circular saw) does this really well and quite quickly. It has a chipout guard on the upper surface, so you can get pretty good cut quality with just one pass - no scoring.

From contributor D:
Another thing you might try, even with a good blade, is using masking tape wrapped around the area to be cut. Even if you're only cutting a little veneer, a good blade is the best thing short of spending a lot on scoring saws, etc.

From contributor H:
Try adjusting the height of your blade - sometimes this can make a lot of difference. Recently bought the Festool saw and guide - best thing since sliced bread.

From contributor J:
Try out the Forrest Hi-At 80 tooth blade for melamine and veneer ply. It is easily available and one of the best I've used for cutting v.c. ply cleanly.

From contributor E:
Run your blade up about 1/16 to 1/8" and make a scoring cut on the bottom first, then run the piece through again. Try a scrap piece first.

From contributor Z:
First, get a veneer blade as suggested: Freud, Amana, Forrest. Second, you must use a zero clearance insert. Third, as important as all the above plus, absolutely make sure your fence is parallel to blade and the blade is square to table. I mean really, really square.