View Full Version : Additional Tools for Cutting Hardboard (/Masonite) and Other Panels?

01-27-2010, 03:34 PM
Some artists have mentioned cutting hardboard or masonite panels to size with sharp utility knives. They make several passes, and then snap along the score, typically aligning the scored line or cut with the edge of a table, to help the process.

Some people have said that this also works with birch plywood.

Usually the edge has to be smoothed or touched up a bit after snapping.

There must be some other tools (aside from saws) that would be even better than a utility knife. Does anyone know what tools might be worth trying here?

I'm thinking of simple hand tools, like a pipe cutter. Maybe there are tools designed for something like this?, or designed for something else but adaptable to this? Maybe there are pipe-cutter-like tools that can be used for flat surfaces?

There were all kinds of useful hand tools before power tools took over (fine hand mitering saws, for example, and sharp blades that were used for cutting mitered corners for frames -- people still use these to avoid all the sawdust).

Maybe a specialized plane??, or a plane-like tool that cuts (rather than removes) wood?, or removes only a very narrow band?

Any ideas?

01-27-2010, 04:27 PM
I haven't tried it, but what about a hand-held coping saw? Has a very fine, thin blade used for cutting and mitering molding.

01-27-2010, 05:05 PM
If you don't have the tools, and don't want to invest in tools for whatever reason, have the home center cut the product to size. They may have a minor charge of a dollar a cut but it may well be worth it.

No dust, no mess, no fuss and keeps the studio clean.

01-27-2010, 06:37 PM
Try a jig saw........

01-28-2010, 10:46 AM
The cheapest option in terms of power tools is probably going to be a jigsaw, which when run along a straightedge should be capable of providing a clean, straight cut with minimal effort.

A handheld circular saw is better than a jigsaw for straight cuts (much less tendency to wander) but they're more expensive and also more dangerous to use.

Although certainly not the cheapest, another option worth thinking about is a router,. Using a straight-cutting bit routers can be used to cut thin materials with ease. Again you'd run it along a straightedge for best results.