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How To Cut Plywood Without Power Tools?

People sometimes say that it isn’t possible to cut plywood without power tools. But I am not agreeing with them because it is a myth. Or you can say that I have achieved impossible. Ha ha ha. 


Actually, using the right tools and techniques helped me to do that easily. You can also do that in the same way as I did. I have used only hand tools for cutting plywood. Though it is not the best tool for cutting plywood, it is decent to take care of it. 


Here, I will explain to you how to cut plywood without power tools. And will share some tips to do that flawlessly.

Things You Need To Cut Plywood

Since I am talking about the cutting plywood without using any power tools, you just need some hand tools to do the job. And cutting plywood without splintering is a challenging task to do. So you need the right tools for completing the task. To do it I will recommend you to use a cross-cut saw or pull saw. This kind of saws cuts material by pulling strokes. Though crosscut saw is the member of hand saw family, don’t go with another kind of hand saw. As I mentioned, a western handsaw will tear apart your workpiece made of plywood. 


However, just having the Japanese crosscut saw is not enough for completing the task successfully. So, here I am listing down a whole pack of tolls which you need to plywood with a hand saw easily and safely.


  1. A Japanese style crosscut saw. (which has minimum 10-PPI blade)

  2. Scrap piece of plywood. (which you have to sacrifice)

  3. Hand gloves.

  4. Dust musk.

  5. Measuring tape.

  6. Pencil or marker pen.

  7. Workbench.

  8. C-clamp.

Safety You Need To Consider?

Above I have mentioned some safety equipment to keep you safe during the task. It is so important to have them all because here you will be working with some of the best hand saws in the world.


So, always there has a chance you would cut down your finger accidentally. But don’t worry you can be tension free of that kind of situation if you get a pair of cut-resistant hand gloves.


Working with wood is messier than working with other materials like steel or aluminum. In the woodworking shop, you will see dust and debris flying all around. They are harmful to the human body. And after inhaling them into your body, you can end up getting lung diseases. So, use a dust mask.


To protect your eyes from getting dust and debris wear an eye-protective glass.


Before start, the cutting process, make sure that the working place is free of any kind of distraction. Don’t let any children get inside and if anyone already has there, get rid of him.

Cutting Process of Plywood Without Power Tools

You need to go through some specific steps to cut plywood with hand saw only. And here are the steps right below.


Step 1: At first you need to measure the section out which you want to cut. The measuring tape will help you to find that section easily.


Step 2: After measuring you need to mark the workpiece. Where you have pointed the measuring put a T-square on it. And now with a pencil or marking pen draw a line.


Cutting Process of Plywood Without Power Tools​

Step 3: Plywood has a tendency to chip out, and no one wants this. Put a scrap piece of plywood under the actual one. It will minimize the possibilities of chipping out. You can use masking tape to hold the pieces together.


Step 4: Fastening the workpiece is no less important than the other steps. If the workpiece wobbles during cutting, you won’t be able to achieve the straight cut. 


Place the plywood on a workbench. And fasten it tightly using some C-clamps.


Note: At least use 2 clamps at the edge of the table where it meets the plywood for last time.     


Step 5: Now, follow the cutting line and start cutting with a Japanese crosscut saw. Don’t rush the cutting process. Otherwise, you will end up getting an odd finish. 


Note: If you got a thick piece of plywood to cut, possible your saw blade teeth will lose its sharpness. So, be prepared to resharpen the blade. The main culprit behind your dull blade is not the hard plywood rather it is the glue used in making plywood.

Slowly, keep pace with your cutting and after a while, you will touch the finish line. Actually, it is no as conventional as the cutting plywood with table saw. So, it will kill your time. 

Tips For Cutting Plywood With Hand Saw


  1. Never use a dull blade to cut the material.

  2. Don’t use any kind of hand saw to cut the Plywood.

  3. Don’t rush the cutting project.

  4. Safety first. So, don’t neglect it.

  5. Practice well before you start cutting the actual piece.

James Johnson

James Johnson

Hi, James speaking. I'm a handyman with my own home service startup and a writer. Friends call me tools-nerd, where I call myself a machine-enthusiast. I'm working as a co-editor at Review Infinite, and I'm so in love with my job.

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