Having purchased a trim router just recently, I'm practicing some simple woodworking.

At the moment, I have a 4 feet x 4 feet plywood board (3/4 inch thick) that I want to separate into 4 square pieces of 2 feet x 2 feet (approximately, plus or minus an inch-ish accountable to kerf).

Should I go for it with the router using a Straight bit like this one? If so, how do I cut so deep as the board thickness (3/4 inch)?

  • 1
    "Trim router" usually means low power designed for tasks like removing excess veneer material. It probably won't last long if you use it in the manner you've suggested.
    – Steven
    Oct 2, 2016 at 15:17
  • 1
    I would not use your trim router for a cut like this, if only because there's no sense putting that much wear on your blade when various saws can give you easier and straighter (and safer) cuts.
    – Jason C
    Oct 2, 2016 at 19:39

3 Answers 3


If you are in a pinch and your router has a plunge base, you certainly could cut all the way through the plywood with a spiral or straight bit, using a straightedge and cutting in 1/8" deep passes. Make sure you have sacrificial material on the underside so you don't cut into your workbench or floor on the last pass.

That said, the work will go a lot faster and easier with a table saw or circular saw.

  • 4
    And possibly with a hand saw.
    – keshlam
    Oct 4, 2016 at 18:11

Something else to always consider when using routers is that the bit is rotating perpendicular to what a saw blade would be, so when making a linear cut like you are describing, you would be surrounding the bit with material, forcing it to cut essentially on three sides. This is very taxing on both the bit and the router, and can be dangerous if you aren't used to it.

If you don't have a table saw, or a very good circular saw, you can use a jigsaw or handsaw to break down the wood into rough sizes (maybe 1/16"-1/8" oversize) and then use a straight edge and your router with a flush trim bit or a collar to get a clean and straight cut.

Routers are very versatile and useful tools when used right, but very dangerous and can lead to disappointing results when not used right.


Routers are great for shaping corners and edges, or cutting recesses into a surface, but are generally not the optimal choice for through cuts except template-guided ones.

Is there a reason you aren't using a saw for this task?

  • A handsaw seems like a great choice, especially after reading this question here. However, I was (still am) just curious if router is an option since power tools are usually faster / require less human effort.
    – boardbite
    Oct 2, 2016 at 14:37
  • 2
    You will lose more of the wood to the router's wider kerf. You will need a guide to cut as straight a line. You may need to support the plywood differently. You may not actually cut much faster than with a saw because you are removing more wood. ... You can drive screws with a hammer, or nails with a screwdriver, but it's not as easy as you would hope and it's harder to get a neat result than using a more appropriate tool.
    – keshlam
    Oct 2, 2016 at 14:45
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    @boardbite it is a common misconception that power tools are usually faster than hand tools. Often the time to set up the first cut is longer for a power tool, but if you are batching out many identical parts you make up for the setup and save a lot of time and gain repeatability on bulk operations. Less human effort is usually true, although there are also exceptions to that.
    – rob
    Oct 2, 2016 at 15:32

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