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Working Alone with Plywood Galax VA

A handy addition to your shop is a cart with a flip-up side. Build it from plywood, with strong hinges on the top edge, a track on the lower edge of the folding side, and a semi-circular cutout at the bottom. Weight your cart with a bag of sand or concrete mix, so it doesn’t tip over.

Galax - Auth Hometown
(276) 238-8600
972 E Stuart Dr
Galax, VA
Store Hours
Hometown Dealers
Store Type
Hometown Dealers
Hours
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-20
Thu:9-20
Fri:9-20
Sat:9-19
Sun:12-18
Store Features
Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-20
Thu:9-20
Fri:9-20
Sat:9-19
Sun:12-18

Blevins Do it Best Building
(276) 236-8171
302 South Main Street
Galax, VA
 
Blevins Do it Best Building
(336) 372-4000
652 North Main Street
Sparta, NC
 
The Home Depot
(757)465-9166
2421 Old Taylor Rd
Chesapeake, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(757)833-8101
325 Chatham Road
Newport News, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Lowe's
(276) 238-3000
8417 Carrollton/Pike Road
Galax, VA
Hours
M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 9 am - 7 pm

LOWE'S OF GALAX, VA.
276 238-3000
8417 CARROLLTON/PIKE ROAD GALAX, VA, 24333
Galax, VA
 
Blevins Do it Best Building
(336) 363-2216
7258 Hwy 21 South
Glade Valley, NC
 
AustralianBurls.com
(757) 816-5622
1013 Fairway Dr
Chesapeake, VA

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The Home Depot
(276)466-1015
3481 Lee Hwy
Bristol, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

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Working Alone with Plywood

Working Alone with Plywood

Tips for taming those awkward and heavy sheets. 

by Jean Bartholome

Woodworking alone is peaceful, serene and quiet. Just you, the radio and your project. It’s also a pain in the posterior when you have to work with big, heavy sheets of plywood, MDF or particleboard. If you can get help, it’s great, but often we end up battling them alone. Here are some tips to help ease the struggle, save your back, and make your cuts go more smoothly and accurately.

A Flip-Up Side for Your Shop Cart

A handy addition to your shop is a cart with a flip-up side. Build it from plywood, with strong hinges on the top edge, a track on the lower edge of the folding side, and a semi-circular cutout at the bottom. Weight your cart with a bag of sand or concrete mix, so it doesn’t tip over. To use this contraption, lift one corner of your plywood, slide it on the track (good side out) and wheel the cart to the front of your tablesaw. Lift the flip-up side, slide the plywood onto the top of the cart (the semi-circular cutout lets you grasp the bottom edge of the sheet), and you’re ready to feed it into the saw. No more awkward gyrations trying to carry the plywood, flip it over, and then hold it steady while you try to line it up with the fence. 

How Much Does It Weigh?

If you’re working with sheet goods, it’s handy to know how much they weigh. Here are the most useful numbers:

- Hardwood plywood typically weighs around 55 lbs. per 3/4-in.-thick sheet. Utility plywood can be much heavier, however. A 3/4-in.-thick sheet of BC fir plywood, for example, can weigh more than 70 lbs. By comparison, a full sheet of 1/4-in. birch plywood weighs only 12 lbs.

- MDF is typically a whopping 96 lbs. per 3/4-in.-thick sheet. Ugh. The suggested maximum load for a car roof (check your owner’s manual) can be as low as 100 lbs., so it doesn’t take many sheets to max out your car. Maxing out your arms is another matter entirely.


Use a “Third Hand” for Assembly

If you’re making a large plywood or MDF case, it can be very awkward to hold the pieces in place when joining them. Two of the most useful tools are a couple of one-hand clamps (Quick-Grip is one brand) and a couple of right-angle brackets. Make the brackets from two thicknesses of 3/4-in. plywood glued together, and knock off the inside corner so it doesn’t interfere with the fit of the joint. If you need help holding up one piece of plywood so you can attach the brackets, simply clamp a handscrew to the bottom edge.

Rough Out Your Crosscuts First

If you need to crosscut a full sheet, don’t try to do it by yourself on your tablesaw. It’s too awkward, and you’re likely to get an inaccurate cut. Try cutting your panel close to the final size using a circular saw or jigsaw, always keeping one factory edge on ...

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