The capacity to cut wood is very critical, regardless if the woodworking shop is a small one serving the needs of small clients or an industrial one with a large client base and engaging in large-scale wood cutting. In the simplest sense, a panel saw is any machine or device which is used to sliced wood and other solid materials into different sizes and shapes. It is a uniquely modified kind of circular saw which is used in slicing wood materials such as oriented strand board (OSB) plywood, medium density fibreboard (MDF) etc. many of these wood products are available in different sizes and are usually too heavy to lift to a table and cut with a table saw. Since its invention, panel saws have helped shops of all sizes to cut wood more efficiently.
Benefits of a Panel Saw
While using a panel saw, you can get the same level of accuracy gotten from table saws, and you don’t even need to lift and push the board through the blade of your saw. However, you need to provide ample space for the old-model panel saws because they are usually mounted against a wall. The vertically- inclined boards are subsequently placed on rollers and appropriately placed under the saw, the saw then pushes downward cutting the board in the process. If you want to get a slit cut, then you need to position the saw horizontally, fastened it at the appropriate height above the rollers, set the plywood on the rollers and then pushed it through the saw.
Generally, this is not the best practical operational environment for the home-based and the smaller woodworking shops, however, it is perfect for cutting woods at industrial woodworking shops. When you pay a visit to the lumber section of your local woodwork workshop, most times you will see a panel saw fixed to the edge of one of the wooden racks. Employees will find this type of saw very suitable for cutting large 4ftx8ft woods into smaller portions for their clients as they are quite easy to operate and will provide very accurate results when properly set up and tweaked.
Panel saws can cut plywood only in a perpendicular or parallel direction because they are not designed to make angular cuts, likewise, they are not designed to make beveled cuts on woods. This is one advantage of table saw has over the panel saws.
Panel Saw Systems
Having observed the difficulties experienced by small-scale woodworkers who lacked the required space to accommodate a panel or table saw, a group of tool manufacturers has developed a system of panel saws which allows you to lock a specific circular saw to an extension fitted with roller- bearing control wheels which slide on an aluminum track. A pair of tiny woodworking clamp is used to attach the aluminum track to the plywood slated for cutting, thereby keeping the whole thing in position, the saw is then moved along the track, cutting the wood in the process.
Please bear in mind that you can equally fasten a fixed-base router underneath most of these systems and make use of the system to control the router. One major disadvantage to this kind of system is that fixing the base of the circular saw to the base of an extension is that it can be very difficult to get it joined properly to avoid biding during cutting. If you finally succeeded in fixing the saw to the base of the extension, there is a good chance you want to leave it in that position for future use, this means that you will be unable to make use of the circular saw if the panel kit is not available.
Home-made Panel Saws In case you don’t have access to a specially- made saw panel kit, the home-made alternative could be to just make use of a top-grade flexible metal with a straight edge as a control for your circular saw. In many instances, these straight edges can be obtained in the 4ft sections, but they are premade with an insert which enables you to link two or possibly additional sections together for cutting typical sheets of plywood on the more lengthy 8ft axis.
One major advantage of this kind of system remains the fact that you don’t need to dedicate a specialized saw in the system; the only thing required of you is to calculate from the edge of the circular saw’s base to the edge of the saw blade, after which you counterbalance the distance from the prefer line of cut and use a small C-clamp to fix the plywood and the straight head together.
But there is a disadvantage that comes with making use of a straight edge in place of a specialised panel cutting system, one of the potential drawbacks is that if you are not very careful, the cutting motion of the blade can make the base of the circular saw to shift from the straight edge, resulting in the wrong cut. However, with some practice, this system can be just as accurate as using a table saw to cut woods.