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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't have many power tools (mine are cordless 18v drill, ripsaw, and mini-circular saw plus an old corded jigsaw) and even less space to cut plywood. I have a canopy project I want to work on but need to have the long cuts and the angles right.

If I buy plywood from Lowes or Home Depot and need it precut, how much will they do? For example, if I buy a couple of sheets and need each cut into 10-12 pieces of 4 different sizes, would they do that? All pieces will be rectangles, no curves or different angles. If I provide a diagram showing each piece and the exact dimensions will they follow that?

Also, when I laid out my cuts, I avoided using the outside edges. Is this the right thing to do or can you trust those edges to be square?
 

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It may depend on the person you find that day but I find they will cut most very well for me. I never have more than 2-3 cuts but they have a price for more if you want it. Maybe 50 cents per cut? How about a way to get it straight and square with that mini circular? Is it up to that much cutting if it would cut straight? For cutting plywood that is too wide for my radial arm, I clamp a straightedge to run the circular saw along. It takes some figuring to get it set right but once clamped on , it will cut straight and true as the straightedge used. Maybe have the home center cut it to size to haul and work at home and do the rest there?
 

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For plywood, I've never had more than 2-3 cuts and they always did it for me. For 2x4 studs, I had a guy do like 15 cuts just to save me the time and it made it easier to carry and they didn't have an issue doing it. I find Home Depot to be friendly with doing cuts and Lowes usually has a policy for charges for cuts.

Another thing you can do is do the cuts with your mini circular saw and pick up a planar for $50. They you can plane down your edges. Thats what I did when I built my stand.
 

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MickRC3 said:
>snip<

Also, when I laid out my cuts, I avoided using the outside edges. Is this the right thing to do or can you trust those edges to be square?
The factory cuts should be as good as you can get. They are cut using a panel saw and table saw.

Be very careful when cutting plywood with a circular saw especially battery powered. Plywood has a nasty habit of binding the sawblade which causes the saw to walk backward and up ...

If you have experience with a power saw it will not be much of a problem cutting straight and true pieces. If you are not fully comfortable with your skilz by all means pay the two buck and have the local lumberyard cut them correctly for you. Most all yards have a panel saw and will make quick work of those cuts. :thumb:
 

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x2 on what fox said. Use the plywood edges as your true edges and lay out from there. Don't forget that each cut eats up 1/8". Local stores here charge $1 per cut. The precision is usually limited by the operator, not the equipment at the store. You will not be dealing with ticketed cabinetmakers, so if you expect perfection, you'll be disappointed.
 

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+1 on pistolpete

I trusted them to make the same cut 3x and it didn't work out for me at all.... I purchased a aluminum straight edge and did the remainder myself. I still don't get how the cut can be different 3x when they didn't move the saw's vertical location but whatever
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses. I am a Air Force retiree so I will check out the base woodshop (forgot about that option) and see what it would cost me to use a table saw for a few hours.

I will only have HD or Lowes cut the sheets into two sections so I can transport them in my minivan.

I have a little time to decide because I am still working on the design and layout.

Pistolpete, I did plan on 1/8 in for the blade. I am going back to redo my plans because I neglected to allow the lid to overhang the sides enough to clear when the trim is added to block light leakage.

The reason I am planning so many cuts is that I am making a total of 6 canopies (2-55, 2-40L and 2-20H) from two sheets of plywood and 1x2 frames.
 

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I just finished, or in the process of finishing a stand for a 75 gallon aquarium. I would be very careful, i.e. stand over their shoulder when they are making the measurements to cut. I had them cut a majority of my wood as I'm pretty much in the same situation as far as tools. They screwed up a fair amount of measurements, most of them cut to short. I had to take it all back and get a new piece of ply wood or new 2x4's and ended up doing the cuts myself. They weren't pretty, but they were the right length and pretty close to being straight. Any mistakes I had were covered up by the molding. Needless to say they did take the time to cut everything for me, I'll give them that.

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http://www5.snapfish.com/snapfish/slide ... =snapfish/

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For some reason can't get the image tags to work....
 
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