I layed out my first full sized sheet of plywood. Got off to a bad start after transferring a pattern onto the wrong sized plywood. A good lesson to start with. Measure twice, check twice, verify twice, cut once if possible.
The transfer process is very easy. Using a pointed roller, (provided with the full sized mylar plans);
You simply roll over the plan lines and the points of the roller stick through the mylar and leave a line mark on the wood. After marking the wood through the mylar plans with the roller I would then trace over the line with a carpenters pencil. I thought about using a sharpie pen but if I did this on my first trace I would have messed up a good sheet of plywood. Pencil markings erase.
After transferring my first sheet of plywood patterns I wanted to try various methods of cutting the plywood. After reading how to cut plywood on the “Wooden Boat Forum” I went to Home Depot and purchased a standard hand saw, a light duty pull saw, a new Plywood saw blade for my Skil Saw, and a few battens. I already had some good reverse pull blades for my Jig Saw. Using a scrape section of the sheet I tried cutting with the standard hand saw, the pull saw, and my Skil Jig Saw. I had reasonable luck with both the hand saws.
With a heavy full sheet of plywood (18mm) and integrate design patterns layed out, I don’t see any way to safely cut the patterns out except for a jig saw. The Skil Saw will not cut my pattern curves, and I have very few entry points on the wood for the straight cuts needed. A band saw will work but I don’t have one, or the space to keep it when not needed. With my limited ability at this point I also don’t see how I would control a tight cut from several feet away on my longer pieces.
The hand saws do work, and I would have pretty good control of the pace of the cuts. But, I have a lot of wood to cut and a little mechanical help is needed. I decided a jigsaw was the only tool I could use efficiently to cut my patterns.
My good Skil Jigsaw is a piece of crap and it is now in the trash. It looks brand new, but I wouldn’t give it away on Craig’s List. My test cuts could not have been less straight. I had zero control of the blade. It wandered and caused bowed cuts.
The problem with this Jig Saw, (at least my model) is a cheap platen that is poorly aligned and no roller bearing to help keep the blade from wandering. You don’t do yourself any favors with poorly designed cheap tools, something for me to remember when I need a future tool.
I researched a new Jig Saw and bought the top of the line from Festool, a model PS 300 EQ. I paid 1/3 more than the next better brand, but after owning two worthless jigsaw I wanted no excuse for poor cuts but my own inability. The Festool comes in two models. I picked the lower profile PS 300 EQ over the PSB 300 EQ for it’s lower profile and ability to get closer to the work surface with my hands.
Yehaa, I made some great cuts with the new Festool and now I am rolling through my first sheet.