I want to mount this piece of plywood in such a way that it is reasonably removable. enter image description here I first need to true up the edges of the wood and that is difficult because of its small size, 8" x 12".

I have a table saw, circular saw, and reciprocating saw.

I would like to avoid the table saw because of its weight and bulk and because it is not on a stand.

How can I true up the wood?

  • It's had to be sure from the picture what the scale of this is, could you give the dimensions? Also, when you say true up do you mean to make it square (all 90° corners) or make the edges square to the faces? Regardless of which it is this is easily done with a hand plane but never mind that if you don't own one, the table saw is a perfectly reasonable way of doing it if you take suitable care, if necessary using a pair of push sticks to keep your fingers well away from the blade. Although the piece doesn't look that small in the photo.
    – Graphus
    Jul 20 '19 at 18:48
  • 8 x 12 inches. My table saw is not on a stand. That is why I wanted to avoid using it. :-)
    – fixit7
    Jul 20 '19 at 20:48
  • For such cases I would recommend building a shooting board and a block plane. Jul 23 '19 at 20:16

Given your available power tools (and the stand-less state of the table saw which would be appropriate if it were set up properly and if you were comfortable using it), I would suggest using hand tools.

Use an 8-inch or larger carpenter's triangle with one edge flat against one of the long sides to draw a squared up edge along each of the 8-inch sides. Then secure the wood in a workbench vice (or clamped off the edge of a sturdy table) to hold it motionless while you follow each of those drawn lines with a sharp hand saw.

Once those two 8-inch sides are square to one of the 12-inch sides, use a tape measure to find a point equally distant down each of those 8-inch sides. Use a straight edge and a pencil to connect those two points, then re-secure the vice/clamp and reapply the hand saw.

When you are done, sand all cut surfaces to the desired smoothness.


How can I true up the wood?

By sanding.

If the tools listed are the only ones available and the table saw is ruled out sanding is the only alternative I can think of.

Neither the circular saw nor the reciprocating saw are capable of the required accuracy. In theory a decent circular saw is but we don't know if yours is that good and you can't directly use one on a piece of this size, so you'd need to carefully attach it to a larger sacrificial piece and saw through both and that's just crazy to square up a small piece of plywood.

So sanding it is. Start coarse, no finer than 80 grit and possibly rougher than this if you have much material to remove from one corner (although it looks pretty close to square in the photo it's hard to judge). Finish at 180-220 grit, there's unlikely to be any benefit to going finer than this. Note: watch for splintering at the corners, you may need to sand inwards from every corner to completely avoid this.

  • Thanks. I have 60 and 100 grit and an orbital sander. @Graphus
    – fixit7
    Jul 22 '19 at 21:33
  • 1
    If you have more than say half a millimetre to remove from any one side (in imperial call it a generous 1/64") I would start with the 60 grit then. I do recommend you at least begin the sanding by hand rather than risk the orbital action of the sander lifting a flake of veneer. If you don't own a sanding block you can use a spare piece of the orbital paper and just temporarily wrap it around a small block of wood.
    – Graphus
    Jul 23 '19 at 5:51

Only suggestions that I would have would be an auxiliary fence on your miter gauge, a cross cut sled, or (as Graphus said) push blocks with you rip fence but only on the long side true the short sides a cross cut sled or your miter gauge.

Although I think the table saw would be best using an edge guide with the circular saw would also work with careful setup.

https://youtu.be/ttxU494qtpQ cross cut sled or simpler will also work

  • The sled is interesting but a little complex and time consuming to straighten the edges of a small piece of wood. Maybe some others(Like McGiver) can think more outside the box.
    – fixit7
    Jul 21 '19 at 2:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.