I have had several incidents where I ask for a sheet of 4x8 wood to be cut down into more manageable sizes at a big box store on a panel saw and the result was less than favorable. The resulting pieces were out of square and, of lesser issue, cut other than close to indicated sizes.

I have even marked the wood for them before, and am then left with the awkward situation of them still not doing it correctly.

Is there a trick to these panel saws that the employee's aren't aware of?

Has anyone had good luck with getting fairly accurate and square cuts at a big box store? What steps did you take?


I wouldn't expect decent cuts unless you paying them per cut to do so.

These guys are (probably mostly untrained) retail staff doing a job and they'll just want to get it done as quick as possible.

Get them to cut oversize (leaving square reference corners if possible) and then cut down yourself at home.

You could (as you say) premark the boards) and then stress you want them to follow it, but I think I'd be struggling to measure and mark square lines on a sheet of ply in a store without bringing my big square etc with me.

(Not the answer you want I know - sorry!)

  • I have done this too, but it seems such a shame that I can't get something more usable off that nice big saw. – NipFu Feb 26 '16 at 0:34
  • If you can find a place that has the saw on a moving carriage (as opposed to the wood being pushed through a fixed saw), you'll do better with square. A good lumber yard is, on average, going to be better than a big box. Measurements are always tough, though. If you have repetitive parts and ask them to measure up from the bottom for multiple cuts, you'll at least get the same mistake repeated. – Aloysius Defenestrate Feb 26 '16 at 1:58
  • 3
    Buying at a real lumberyard rather than a home center may find a morecautious saw operator. Fast, Good, Cheap -- Pick any two. – keshlam Feb 26 '16 at 2:07

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