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Working Alone with Plywood Loudon TN

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.

The Home Depot
(865)986-6116
250 Abbie Drive
Lenoir City, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(865)983-6200
943 Foot Hills Mall Dr
Maryville, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Fastenal- Loudon
865-458-0404
155A Natalie Blvd Loudon, TN, 37774
Loudon, TN
 
Sweetwater - D
(423) 337-2870
902 S Main St
Sweetwater, TN
Store Hours
Miscellaneous
Store Type
Miscellaneous
Hours
Mon:8-22
Tue:8-22
Wed:8-22
Thu:8-22
Fri:8-22
Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21
Store Features
Mon:8-22
Tue:8-22
Wed:8-22
Thu:8-22
Fri:8-22
Sat:8-22
Sun:8-21

UNITED RENTALS/Knoxville, TN
(865) 693-5761
10224 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN, 37922
Knoxville, TN
 
The Home Depot
(865)691-9500
9361 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Co/Op Ace Hardware
(865) 458-2057
2084 W Lee Hwy
Loudon, TN
 
Ace Hardware of Dixie Lee Jct
(865) 988-5285
19670 Highway 11 E, WATT ROAD
Dixie Lee Jct, TN
 
Foothills Farmers Co-op
(423) 337-3551
776 New Highway 68
Sweetwater, TN
 
Browder's Ace Hardware
(865) 376-7606
1100 Ladd Landing Blvd, Ladd Landing Shopping Center
Kingston, TN
 

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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