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I am cutting out a hole in my old oak hardwood floor where I am installing a laundry chute. I'm a newbie at woodworking and power tools so bear with me. The one tool I have that I think would work best is my jigsaw. But I must not have the right blade because it's just killing me trying to get it to cut through this wood floor. Any help/suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

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    When you say it's killing you to get it to cut through the wood, how are you doing it? Did you start with a pilot hole, and then are struggling to cut from there? Or are you trying to make a plunge cut somehow? It might help if you post pictures of the progress you've made so far. That would help us see where you're struggling. – Charlie Kilian Mar 26 '18 at 6:02
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    Other considerations: You will have to cut through the hardwood flooring, and also the plywood underlayment, which is itself on a thick subfloor. So there are probably at least three layers there. Are you trying to cut through all three layers in one shot? Also, have you double-checked to make sure you're not running into a floor joist? I assume you probably have checked this, but it doesn't hurt to ask. – Charlie Kilian Mar 26 '18 at 6:09
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There are a few ways you could do this:

  • Drill starter holes and then use a jigsaw. You'll need a pretty beefy jigsaw and a long blade to cut through the flooring, underlayment, and subfloor. I wouldn't recommend trying to turn the blade at the corners. Drill multiple starter holes instead.
  • Drill starter holes and then use a reciprocating saw. You'll need to drill much bigger starter holes, but this is probably the way I'd go.
  • Use a plunging track saw. This is much safer than a circular saw, but still has some issues (minimum cut length, overrun to ensure cutting through all layers.)
  • Use an oscillating multi-tool to cut through one layer at a time. A wood blade on an oscillating tool should have no problem going through 3/4" of material at a time, and it will let you control the cut pretty well. This would probably be my second choice.
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Best Tool would be a circular saw in order to cut through the flooring completely and not have issues with the floor joists. Second choice would be a reciprocating saw (Sawzall, Tigersaw are some trade names). This is basically a much larger version of your jigsaw that will have a longer blade so you can definitely cut through all layers of the flooring. Joists will be an issue though. If possible do not sacrifice a floor joist for a laundry chute.

  • A circular saw will require you to do a plunge cut, which it is not really suited for. You have to tip it up and lower it into the material while the blade is running. It also has a fairly large minimum cut distance due to the circular blade. The short sides of a laundry chute are maybe 4-6", and I'm not sure you can cut that short with a circular saw. It will also require significant "overrun" on the show surface to ensure the full dimensions are cut through the bottom of the subfloor. – SaSSafraS1232 Mar 26 '18 at 15:49
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    I'd be nervous to make a plunge cut with a circular saw myself. I think I could do it, but I'd want to be very careful and plan the cut thoughtfully. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who identifies themselves as a novice. – Charlie Kilian Mar 26 '18 at 19:41
  • I retract the circular saw pocket cut and heartily endorse the oscillating multitool ( I didn't think of it at the time) this would be the best tool to control depth of cut and would be a very affordable tool to acquire. – Chuck S Mar 27 '18 at 0:56

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