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Old 9th February 2007, 07:11 PM   #1
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Default Wood working.

I'm getting ready to start my first project and I'm seeing some really clean speaker boxes.

Do most of you use a table saw or a hand held rip saw to cut your MDF?

Any ticks, tips, ideals for clean straight cuts?
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Old 9th February 2007, 07:25 PM   #2
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Location: Appleton, WI
Craftsmen questions are handled pretty well at
audioroundtable.com. It's another audio forum with skilled
builders who will answer questions. There may be areas within
DIY here as well.

It depends on where you're starting from.

If you have a table saw, the Finewoodworking dvd's such as
Mastering The Table Saw and the rest of that series is great.


If you are using hand tools such as a circular saw, then knowledge
of the Guideboard will help a lot in straight cuts.

If you have no tools a local kitchen cabinet maker likely has the
sort of cabinet grade ply and can cut a 'flat pack' from measuerments
that you can put together. Circle cutting and whatnot is handled
by anything from a jigsaw to a router with a circle guide.


I also have interest in starting a community craft center here.

Does anyone know of such a community craft center where power
tools such as table saw, router table and other large tools are
available for do it yourself projects?
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Old 9th February 2007, 07:32 PM   #3
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Default more options than I can count

A circular saw run along a clamped or screwed straight edge will provide reasonably straight saw joints.
An option is making cuts slightly over-sized, assembling and then trimming with a flush-cut router bit to make your edges match better.

This assumes you don't have a table saw. Check local trade schools or adult-education classes for access to their shops.
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Old 9th February 2007, 07:45 PM   #4
poynton is offline poynton  United Kingdom
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Location: A life on the ocean waves when I'm not at home in N. Wales (but I'm not Welsh so no sheep jokes!)
In the UK, most DIY stores can cut a full sheet of mdf according to a cutting plan.

I also have many tools from table saw, router, biscuit jointer etc mostly obtained from local auctions or yard sales at greatly discount prices on new.

Andy
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Old 9th February 2007, 08:18 PM   #5
AuroraB is online now AuroraB  Norway
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You really need a fairly large and accurate table saw with good support tables to manage 4x4 or 4x8 MDF sheets, - in fact the clamped straight edge and hand electric is a much better solution. If the sub panels are not very large, precutting slightly oversize and trimming on the table saw is the best solution. Try to sort the pieces so that all parts of same dimension can be trimmed without moving the fence. This minimizes the problems of the "odd millimeter off".

On several occasions in the field, I've put the sheets on top of a setup of cardboard boxes, when cutting large sheets.
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Old 9th February 2007, 08:34 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. I heard about clamping a guide down, but I have never tried that. I'll give it a try and It will also be a lot cheaper.
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Old 9th February 2007, 08:36 PM   #7
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A sharp blade, a firmly clamped guide, and a steady hand should get you a good clean cut of MDF most every time. I always use the method mentioned above by Ed and use a router and flush cutter for the finish.
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Old 9th February 2007, 08:49 PM   #8
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A hand drill and hole saw (available in various diameters which will
work for up to the 4 in Fostex (3in Tangband W871s) etc.

I have worked with this system so far.

A couple systems for circle cutting are documented on the
net. The most precise is to use a router with the Jasper Jig
available at Parts Express (occasionally on sale-- like now, I think)
or Woodcrafters outlets. A hole is drilled for a metal insert in the
Jasper system in the center point on which to work the router.
The jig is incremented at 1/16th inch. Small increases in depth of the
cutter routes out the circle. This prevents certain kinds of tear out
which can happen when cutting a circle 'freehand' or with a jigsaw
circle jig.

The couple times I did large circles I made the cut in 2 parts (so the
disk wouldn't fall free) and then used a coping saw to do the final
trim.

Using a hole cutter is best done on a drill press. I've chucked them up
in a hand drill. Many will caution against this. The cutter can catch
and hurt your wrists if not used to just nibble a little at a time.


There is a story about someone who tried to use one of those
Milwaukee right angle hand drills with a circle cutter and dislocated his shoulder.


Also avoid adjustable 'fly cutters'. I was in the Woodcrafters and a salesman actually recommended using one of these dangerous
gizmos.


Everybody has tool horror stories. But with proper precaution
tool use can be learned.

I've been doing the hobby for years and still have all eight fingers.

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Old 9th February 2007, 08:53 PM   #9
Bob2 is offline Bob2  Canada
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loninappleton

Check your local high schools, some of them may offer night classes that allow the use of all the tools.

Bob
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Old 9th February 2007, 08:56 PM   #10
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I've been collecting stuff for months now to try a first project. I've been using gift cards and what not to buy stuff.

I have the jasper jig for cutting up to 7", a craftsman router ( I still need bits) and tang band drivers. Now, I just need a new work bench (left mine behind from a move) and clamps, and a electric saw. I have a mask and goggles to work with.

I don't have a drill press, just a air drill.
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