Aluminum Fascia and Soffit Cutting advice


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Old 08-18-07, 08:00 PM
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Aluminum Fascia and Soffit Cutting advice

I'm installing new aluminum fascia, soffits, J trim, and L trim onto my garage. I've had no problem cutting the trim pieces with tin snips to do what I want but now its time to cut my soffits. I've got 12ft long pieces that need to be cut to various sizes. I've built myself a jig out of 2x4's that seems like it will work. I have set up a skilsaw with the blade on backwards as advised by more people/places than I can count. Now my question is, is the cut supposed to look so jagged? Here is a link to the picture of my first cut(ignore the far left corner, a small oops):

http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h82/n0c7/DSCN0411.jpg

And just for kicks, I've included a picture of my jig rig for opinions:

http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h82/n0c7/DSCN0413.jpg

And finally, the blade "shield" or whatever you call it on a skilsaw is going to be a pain. When I get half way through my piece, it makes contact at my starting point and I have to manually move it up(a bit tricky when you're trying to cut a piece). What can I do to avoid this? I don't want to totally remove it as I usually throw down the skilsaw on the ground when I'm done cutting, and I don't need the blade still freely spinning and contacting anything.

Thanks all!
 
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Old 08-18-07, 09:16 PM
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I couldn't access your pictures, but to cut aluminum soffit, use a plywood blade turned backwards, but try to find a blade where every other tooth points opposite. This will keep the blade from binding in mid cut. As for the table, when I do fascia and soffit jobs, I build a cutting table from 2x4's and 1/2" plywood or osb (whatever you have to use). Rip the sheet of plywood in half, so you will have 2 pieces that are 2'x8'x1/2" thick. Then get 4 2x4x12's is what we use. Lay 2 2x4's on your horses about 2' apart, lay your plywood rips on top of them (one of the pieces of plywood only needs to be 4' long so that the 8'+4'+12' long) and then nail or screw the plywood to the edges of the 2x4. Once your done nailing the plywood on, flip the table over and nail the other 2x4's through the plywood into the other 2x4's. Take time to make sure that the 2x4's are as straight as possible because the 17" (24-3.5-3.5=17) channel that is formed is what your soffit is going to rest in. Check your soffit because some soffit is 17 1/4" or larger and you want to make sure it slides freely. Next take two scrap pieces of osb or plywood and cut them 3" x 24"--cut these from the 4' you cut off your sheet of plywood. Take one of these pieces and nail it perpendicular to (across) the 2 2x4's on your table--about 2 feet or so from the end of your table. Then nail the other piece about 2" from that one, so that they are parallel. These pieces are what the saw will ride on as you are cutting the soffit. The last step to the table is a 24" or longer straight edge (it can be another piece of plywood that has a factory edge). You will nail this straight edge on top of the plywood strips you already nailed down. It must be nailed perfectly perpendicular to the 2x4 guide--this guide is what the saw will slide against to cut the soffit square. If you place straight edge in the right spot, the 1/2' plywood spacers under the straight edge will hold the blade guard up as you cut the soffit. Lastly, use your saw with a wood blade and cut a groove through the 2x4's (the 2x4's on the bottom will keep the table together after you make the cut. Then put in your plywood blade and cut soffit, siding, or whatever you need to cut at 90 degrees. The only problem you should have with this setup is sometimes the edges of the soffit get stuck between the plywood and the 2x4. We usually build up with shingles or whatever you have to make it so soffit rides higher than the joint. Remember to cut good side up so that good side doesn't get scratched when sliding pieces through table. Wear eye and ear protection and away you go. sorry for the spelling errors, but I don't have time to proofread. Good luck dave
 
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Old 08-18-07, 09:34 PM
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Hi Dave,

Not sure why you were unable to view the pictures, but what you said is basically pretty much what I *think* I did, minus a few small pieces/steps here and there. My only concern is how clean is the cut supposed to be? Should it look a bit jagged?
 
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Old 08-18-07, 09:46 PM
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if you use the right blade--every other tooth in opposite direction--then the saw shouldn't bind and the cut will be clean. cut slow and hold soffit from moving. the cut will not be as smooth as tin snips but it will be relayively smooth. just so there are no jagged pieces sticking out to keep the soffit from expanding and contracting in channel. I just looked at your pictures, and the cut doesn't look bad, but the way your table is, the saw might bind and get crooked and there is nothing to keep the table of the saw off the soffit and keep it from getting scratched. that is what the plywood scraps do.
 

Last edited by allareawide; 08-18-07 at 09:53 PM. Reason: just saw pictures
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Old 08-18-07, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by allareawide View Post
if you use the right blade--every other tooth in opposite direction--then the saw shouldn't bind and the cut will be clean. cut slow and hold soffit from moving. the cut will not be as smooth as tin snips but it will be relayively smooth. just so there are no jagged pieces sticking out to keep the soffit from expanding and contracting in channel.
The blade is every other tooth in the opposite direction. I just realized that you're probably not able to access the pictures because you have to copy and paste the links I posted into your browser. This forum for some reason has external linking disabled.

I'm able to shove a shim into my rig to stop the soffit from moving, and I will try cutting slower. I'm wearing eye and ear protection as I don't need metal in my eyes(I've had almost everything stuck in them at one time or another....) and the noise is unbearable .
 
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Old 08-20-07, 07:50 AM
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Well, I got through a 20ft stretch of soffits yesterday with this rig. Worked better than I thought but I see your points about the saw binding and the extra care I have to take to not scratch the surface. Other than that, the cuts were relatively good but I ended up putting the blade on forward(normal position) as it gave me quite a better cut and prevented the binding half way through. I think I need a better blade. :P I actually realized that it is every tooth, not every other tooth, that is pointing in the same direction. Will stop and get one today. Oh and I should mention that there is space for the soffit to slide where my guide is, its not tight and its not scratching as I slide them through.
 
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Old 08-20-07, 07:40 PM
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I picked up a new blade today that said its for metal siding. Works great, much better than what I had.

Only other concern I have is, where the joints connect, they dip down a bit on the outisde(inside is fine). Will the fascia suck this back in or should I be realigning these?
 
 

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