How to cut plywood without chips and burrs. Using a jigsaw

How to cut plywood without chips and burrs

You should always saw along the fibers of the tree. This way, you most likely won’t run into any problems. However, if you decide to saw across, some chips and burrs can appear on the surface.

Often beginners have difficulties in cutting plywood. Namely, when cutting plywood across the fibers, the top layer of veneer is chipped off. This is especially not pleasant if the cut is already ready to burn the picture. These chips appear for various reasons. In most cases, it is almost impossible to fix them. In this article, we will analyze the main reasons for the appearance of chips and a couple of tips on how to avoid them on ready-made portraits.

chips on plywood when sawing with a jigsaw

The chip appears due to the fact that the file with the teeth pointing up rips off the top layer of veneer. There is a space between the legs of the electric jigsaw and the saw. At this point, the saw when moving from the bottom up lifts the top layer of veneer plywood. Due to the fact that nothing presses on top of this top layer of plywood, this veneer is chipped at this point.

Turn off the pendulum stroke on the jigsaw.

A number of modern electric jigsaws have a setting that helps speed up the cutting of wood. The speed of sawing increases significantly. However, the quality of the cut suffers and there are chips on the surface.

This will not give you a clean cut. But without this stage, it is useless to move on.

Select the appropriate saw file

Files differ in the size of the tooth, edge, length, direction of the tooth, and so on. You can read more about which saw file to choose and how it looks in this article.

As strange as it may sound, do not use saws for wood. They have a very long rough tooth. These saws are designed for fast sawing of boards. But if you need a clean saw on plywood, they will not work for you.

If you are working with a jig saw, it is highly recommended to either use a saw blade for cutting metal or files used for laminates.

But using only a finishing file does not guarantee you a clean cut. Files need to be combined with other methods, which are described below.

Cut the plywood on the back side

The fact that the standard saws have teeth in the side of the fret (as opposed to the saw blade with a reverse tooth). These saw “eats” the wood when moving from the bottom up. When the tooth clings to the top layer of veneer, it often splits and there is a chip. In this case, the lower side is often left with a very good edge. Hence, the masters made a simple conclusion that for a clean saw, it is enough to turn the plywood upside down and saw from the “wrong” side. The method gives the best result, so feel free to adopt it.

But I do not like this method – the chips still remain even when turning over. Of course, they are not so strong, but you can not get rid of them.

Use tape

To prevent the top layer of veneer from being lifted up, you can glue a tape on top of the plywood. It is important that the tape is well glued and held. Otherwise, it will come off during the sawing process. Therefore, some use masking tape (white) or construction (silver) tape. Construction tape is glued and holds much better.

This method is not bad. But personally, I don’t like this method.

  • First of all, the tape can often come off when sawing, leaving the spot unprotected from chipping.
  • Secondly, if you use this method on a piece of plywood, which has already been burned with a picture made by our Pyroprinter, small pieces of the picture may come off with the tape.

The placing of the second sheet of plywood

Another way to get a very clean cut is to put another sheet on top of our plywood and pull them together with clamps. The upper sheet of plywood will not allow chips to form on the lower sheet of plywood.

The result is really very smooth and neat. No chips.

  • I have to spend an extra piece of plywood
  • I do not see the cut place because of the top sheet of plywood.

How to Make Straight Rip Cuts with Your Jigsaw | Rockler Skill Builders

Undercutting with a knife

There is another way – it is to undercut with a knife the place of the future saw cut. So you will undercut the top layer of veneer and it will break at the point of the undercut, and not further. For undercutting, use a metal ruler to make a straight line. The saw cut width usually takes 3 mm.

The result is quite good. I actively use this method.

If when sawing I just need to cut a piece of plywood, and the second part I throw out, then I make only one incision – from the finishing side.

Anti-chipping insert

This is a special pad for a specific brand of jigsaw. It is simply inserted between the legs of the jigsaw and is not fixed in any way. The insert is adjacent to the saw, so it does not allow the upper layer to rise. Therefore, the saw is smooth. Masters advise you to use saws from the same manufacturer as the jigsaw — so the quality of the cut will be better with the use of the liner.

Inserts are sold in sets of 3-5 pieces. They are not eternal. They have to be changed periodically.

Anti-chipping insert from Bosch:

There are inserts made of plexiglass:

This insert can be made yourself, using your own electric jigsaw.

Here is a version of a thin sheet of tin made by our client.

But it is more convenient to make such a platform from a sheet of plexiglass. And glue it to the bottom of the jigsaw using double-sided tape.

So you will get a very clean cut!


If you’re new to our website, we highly recommend you watch this on our development machine for burning on wood Pyroprinter.

You just upload an image via a program on your computer or an app on your phone and the machine burns the image itself. Read more about this machine here. Learn how to create your own home business with this machine in this section of the site.

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How to Cut Small Pieces of Wood With a Jigsaw

Jigsaws are one of the most versatile tools you can have in your shop. They can be used to make curved or straight cuts in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and even ceramic tile. When cutting small pieces of wood, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the best results.

First, it’s important to use a blade that is designed for cutting wood. These blades have teeth that are spaced closer together than those on blades designed for other materials. Second, when setting up your jigsaw for a cut, be sure to clamp the workpiece down securely.

This will help prevent it from moving around while you’re cutting. Finally, take your time and go slowly when making your cut.

  • Place the wood on a stable surface
  • Measure and mark the area you want to cut
  • Set up your jigsaw with the correct blade for cutting wood
  • Turn on the jigsaw and slowly guide it along the marked line
  • Keep your hands close to the saw body for stability and control as you cut

What is the Best Way to Cut Small Pieces of Wood?

There are a few different ways that you can cut small pieces of wood, but the best way will depend on what type of wood you are trying to cut and what type of cuts you need to make. If you are just looking to make simple, straight cuts, then using a handheld saw or power drill with a sharp blade attachment will work fine. However, if you need to make more intricate cuts or curved cuts, then you will need to use a different tool such as a jigsaw or scroll saw.

Whichever method you choose, just be sure to use caution and go slowly when cutting small pieces of wood so that you don’t end up injuring yourself.

What Tool Can I Use to Cut Small Pieces of Wood?

There are a few different tools you can use to cut small pieces of wood, but the most common and versatile tool is a handsaw. Handsaws come in many different sizes and styles, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. If you need to make very precise cuts, you may want to use a miter box saw.

Miter box saws have a guide that helps you make precise angled cuts. For more heavy-duty cutting, you can use a power hand saw or jigsaw.

How Do You Get Smooth Cuts With a Jigsaw?

Jigsaws are one of the most versatile tools you can have in your shop. They’re perfect for making curved or straight cuts in a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. But if you’ve ever used a jigsaw, you know that they can be tricky to use and it’s easy to end up with ragged, uneven cuts.

So how do you get smooth cuts with a jigsaw? Here are a few tips:

Choose the Right Blade

For most materials, a general-purpose blade will work fine. But for tougher materials like stainless steel or aluminum, you’ll need a specialized blade.

Set the Speed Correctly

If the speed is too slow, the blade will overheat and bind; too fast and the material will burn or melt. Experiment with some scrap material to find the best speed for your project.

Use Clamps or a Vise to Secure Your Workpiece

This will help keep it from moving around while you’re cutting and prevent dangerous kickback if the blade gets bound up.

Guide the Saw with Both Hands

Place your dominant hand on top of the saw body and guide it with your fingers; use your other hand to steady the piece being cut (if necessary). This will give you more control over the saw and help prevent mistakes.

Follow your cutline carefully but don’t obsess over it – especially when making curved cuts. The key is to go slowly and steadily; if you need to stop mid-cut, release pressure on the trigger rather than lifting off completely (this could cause kickback).

How Do You Cut Intricate Shapes Out of Wood?

When it comes to cutting intricate shapes out of wood, there are a few different methods that you can use. One popular method is using a scroll saw. A scroll saw is a small, hand-held power saw that has a thin blade that can make very precise cuts.

Another method that can be used to cut intricate shapes out of wood is by using a laser cutter. Laser cutters are computer-controlled machines that use a laser beam to cut through the material. They are often used for cutting complex shapes out of wood, metal, and other materials.

If you need to cut intricate shapes out of wood but don’t have access to a scroll saw or laser cutter, you can also try using a jigsaw. Jigsaws are handheld power tools that have reciprocating blades that can be used to make curved and straight cuts in wood. When using a jigsaw, it’s important to use a blade designed for cutting wood, as regular blades will quickly dull and may not make clean cuts.

No matter which method you choose, when cutting intricate shapes out of wood, it’s important to take your time and be as precise as possible. Make sure to measure twice and cut once!

Few People Know This Jigsaw Trick | How to Cut Clean With Jigsaw

John Carry

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How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut Out A Square

Cutting out a square with a jigsaw is a fairly straightforward task for this power tool. Simply mark out your cutting line, making sure that these are square and even at all sides, and then follow along the lines with the jigsaw blade.

There are many things you can do to improve your square cuts, though. Making thinner, more precise cutting lines is one way.

Clamping down straightedges to guide the shoe of the jigsaw is another great way to ensure perfectly straight and square sides.

You can also drill starter holes at the corners to start the cut, too, which is the recommended way when working with brittle materials like fiberglass and ceramic tiles or when cutting the square shape out from another piece.

The Tools You Need When Cutting A Square:

Most of these things are basic tools you have – your jigsaw, of course, your measuring tape, a speed square (or straightedge), and a marking tool like a pencil but there are some other optional tools that can help you out in certain circumstances.

A Drill And A Drill Bit (For Pilot Holes):

If you have a drill, you can use it to make pilot holes to help start the square cuts from the corners.

This is probably the most common method to cutting squares or rectangles and the easiest way to go about it too, in my opinion. Just make sure the drill bit is large enough for the jigsaw blade to fit inside.

You will also want to get the drill bit right on the edge of the line so you have a straight and tight starting point when you start using the jigsaw. I started in the corner in the example shown above and is where I usually will drill my pilot holes.

Using Clamps And A Straightedge As A Guide:

A straightedge and a set of clamps will also let you rig up fences to guide the show of your jigsaw, as well if you want to use a guide while you’re cutting.

ALWAYS Dead Straight Cuts with your Jigsaw! | Most Helpful Wood Working Tools. Woodworking Tips #4

This usually works better for longer cuts or where precision is needed. In most cases, a straightedge guide will not be needed for smaller square or rectangular cutouts.

Clamping A Straightedge As A Cutting Guide

Using Clamps And A Straightedge As A Guide:

Blade Selection: Finally, there’s your selection of jigsaw blades. Square cut-outs are commonly done with a jigsaw to make openings for electrical outlets and switches.

You will find a plunge cut blade useful for working with pre-installed plasterboard.

A Note On Specialty Materials Blades: To make square cuts with minimal tear-outs with the finished side facing up, you can also use a reverse teeth jigsaw blade, if you need to.

This is good for more delicate materials and specialty materials like melamine or some softer woods.

You may also find yourself having to cut out square notches where a work piece meets the wall and a standard blade with the offset distance from the front of the shoe will not cut it.

For those situations, a flush cut blade and a jigsaw that can use them will prove extra handy to have but I must admit that these situations are rare and rarely ever come up.

How To Make An Interior Square Cut-Out With A Jigsaw And A Drill.

Making interior cut-outs is one of the main arguments for getting a jigsaw in the first place. Square and rectangular cut-outs are often used in renovations and new construction projects alike.

For installing things like wall fixtures, switches and outlets and other things like cutting sink cut-outs in laminate or tile.

First of all, you need to mark out a cutting line on the work piece. For most purposes, a speed square, a measuring tape, and a pencil are all you’ll need to get accurate cutting lines laid out. If you need the extra precision, though, you can opt for a marking knife instead.


Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a “home” group to specialize in one aspect of a topic (for example, one group studies habitats of rainforest animals, another group studies predators of rainforest animals). Students meet with members from other groups who are assigned the same aspect, and after mastering the material, return to the “home” group and teach the material to their group members. With this strategy, each student in the “home” group serves as a piece of the topic’s puzzle and when they work together as a whole, they create the complete jigsaw puzzle.

How to use jigsaw

  • Introduce the strategy and the topic to be studied.
  • Assign each student to a “home group” of 3-5 students who reflect a range of reading abilities.
  • Determine a set of reading selections and assign one selection to each student.
  • Create “expert groups” that consist of students across “home groups” who will read the same selection.
  • Give all students a framework for managing their time on the various parts of the jigsaw task.
  • Provide key questions to help the “expert groups” gather information in their particular area.
  • Provide materials and resources necessary for all students to learn about their topics and become “experts.”

Watch: Jigsaw

Go inside Cathy Doyle’s second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students use the jigsaw strategy to understand the topic of gardening more deeply and share what they have learned. Joanne Meier, our research director, introduces the strategy and talks about the importance of advanced planning and organization to make this strategy really effective.

Collect resources

Learn how to use the jigsaw strategy across different content areas, including author studies, writing, and math. See example

Learn how one teacher used jigsaw to help her students develop their own definition of a fairy tale, and how her students responded to the self-directed activity. See example

Visit the Jigsaw Classroom, a site dedicated to teaching teachers how to use jigsaw to “reduce racial conflict among school children, promote better learning, improve student motivation, and increase enjoyment of the learning experience.” It also covers how teachers can facilitate the strategy with several different types of learners. See example

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learners

  • Give students experience with small group learning skills before participating in the jigsaw strategy.
  • Have students fill out a graphic organizer in the “home group” to gather all the information presented by each “expert.”
  • “Home groups” can present results to the entire class, or they may participate in some assessment activity.
  • Circulate to ensure that groups are on task and managing their work well; ask groups to stop and think about how they are checking for everyone’s understanding and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard; and
  • Monitor the comprehension of the group members by asking questions and rephrasing information until it is clear that all group members understand the points.

See the research that supports this strategy

Aronson, E., Goode, E. (1980). Training teachers to implement jigsaw learning: A manual for teachers. In S. Sharan, P. Hare, C. Webb, and R. Hertz-Lazarowitz (Eds.), Cooperation in Education (pp. 47-81). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press.

Aronson, E., Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building cooperation in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Clarke, J. (1994). Pieces of the puzzle: The jigsaw method. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods. Westport CT: Greenwood Press.

Crone, T. S., Portillo, M. C. (2013). Jigsaw variations and attitudes about learning and the self in cognitive psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 40(3), 246–251.

Hattie, J. (2017). 256 influences related to achievement. Visible Learning.

Law, Y.-K. (2011). The effects of cooperative learning on enhancing Hong Kong fifth graders’ achievement goals, autonomous motivation and reading proficiency. Journal of Research in Reading, 34(4), 402–425.

no, R. (2009). Constructing knowledge with an agent-based instructional program: A comparison of cooperative and individual meaning making. Learning and Instruction, 19(5), 433–444.

Moskowitz, J. M., Malvin, J. H., Schaeffer, G. A., Schaps, E. (1985). Evaluation of jigsaw, a cooperative learning technique. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 10(2), 104–112.

Slavin, R. E. (1980). Cooperative learning in teams: State of the art. Educational Psychologist, 15, 93-111.

Slavin, R. E. (1995). Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn Bacon. Tierney, R. (1995) Reading Strategies and Practices. Boston: Allyn Bacon.

Stanczak, A., Darnon, C., Robert, A., Demolliens, M., Sanrey, C., Bressoux, P., Huguet, P., Buchs, C., Butera, F., PROFAN Consortium. (2022). Do jigsaw classrooms improve learning outcomes? Five experiments and an internal meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1461-1476.

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