Cutting and Sawing Solid GroundTM Panels
Although the easiest and neatest way to
get Solid Ground panels
in the exact sizes that you want is simply to order them that way,
it is not difficult to cut them yourself. Most any kind of power saw
can give very good results. Radial-type saws (table saws, radial arm
saws, miter saws) work best, but jig saws and band saws work fine
as well. Use a relatively fine-toothed blade (types made for plywood
are usually about right). A circular "hollow-ground" plywood blade
is ideal if you can find it. Carbide is not necessary.
Using a blade with teeth that are too
big (or too few) will give a chipped
edge. Teeth that are too fine (like a blade made for metal) will tend
to burn or melt the edge, as will too slow forward progress of the cut.
Ask a carpenter or handy person for help if you are unsure.
It is possible to cut the
Pastel Panels with a razor knife or a plastic
cutter, although it is not as clean or easy as a power saw, and I recommend
it only as a last resort. (The Artist Panels are too thick and too hard to
cut in this way.) You will need to clamp the straightedge to the panel,
or have a second person hold it for you. You cannot cut through it in one,
or even a few strokes. Use many, many small light strokes until you
have finally cut all the way through. Trying to cut halfway through and
then snapping the plastic will usually not work well. Patience is all.
However you do the cutting, always start
by taping a piece of corrugated
cardboard (cut to the same size as the panel) over the face of the panel to
protect it from scratches and abuse. When cutting, cut through the panel
and the cardboard at the same time.
After cutting, you can clean up the edges nicely with sand paper.
Since very small panels are the hardest
for me to make, and thus the most
expensive on a per-square-inch basis, I have several customers who buy
long thin panel strips (6" x 36", for example) and then saw them into
small rectangles, in order to save a great deal on the cost of the panels.
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