Anyways, it's time to get down to business. Since last time, I have a few more finishing cuts to do. I especially want to cut out the smaller pieces (e.g. shelves and supports) and square everything up, and make sure the pieces all have consistent dimensions. Since I am now working with much smaller pieces, I get to use my workbench!
There was still one issue that I was concerned about. If I were to simply clamp my piece to the edge of my bench, and cut it, then one piece would fall to the floor. This creates two problems. The first is that the piece which falls to the floor might get damaged (in many cases I want to use both pieces from the cut). The second, when the cut is nearly done, and only a tiny amount of wood is left supporting the piece, it is likely to break apart, creating an unclean cut. I could try holding the off-cut piece, but this is awkward and potentially dangerous, and I don't have any other stands or supports I can use, so I developed another idea to fix this.
I clamped two strips of wood under the edges of the piece, perpendicular to the cut. I clamped the plywood to these strips on both sides of the cut. I then made sure the entire assembly was clamped to the bench. I adjusted the depth of cut of my circular saw such that it would not cut all the way through the strips. Thus, once the cut is completed, the strips will continue to support the off-cut piece. This process is shown in the photos below.
|Here I am preparing to cut this piece of plywood. I have wooden strips clamped on both sides of the cut.|
|Here is a closer look at the clamping and set-up.|
|With the depth of cut set fairly shallow, I don't have to worry about cutting through the support strips.|
|The result: a nice clean cut and no damaged pieces.|
|This also works well with the large 2x8 piece shown in this photo.|
|In order to use the saw guide on smaller pieces, I need to clamp it to a spare piece as shown in the above left. The cut goes just as smoothly as shown to the right.|
|Always be mindful of where the blade will travel. This was a minor issue in this case, but could have just as easily been very serious.|
Finally, after all the cuts where made, I squared and evened up the shelf dimensions. In the photo below, you can see on the left that they don't line up very well when placed atop one another. After ganging them up and cutting them once more, you can see the alignment is much better on the right.
|One quick cut and all the shelves are even (on one edge anyways).|
Next time, I will show my progress in banding the plywood edges and preparing the pieces for their protective coating. I anticipate the coating process will take a while sine multiple coats will be required, and drying time adds up!