How to Get the Cleanest Cut on Your Particle Board

Lead Image
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-300
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Straight edge
Table saw with sharp fine-tooth wood-cutting blade
Particle board
Safety equipment safety goggles, dust mask and heavy duty leather gloves

Particle board is an engineered wood product made from sawmill shavings, wood chips and sawdust glued together using synthetic resin. It is significantly cheaper than plywood, OSB and conventional wood and is, therefore, an increasingly popular choice when it comes to DIY and creating cheap furniture. Because of its nature, particle board tends to be difficult to cut cleanly from both sides as the wood particles split and chop when the saw blade exits the board. “Double-cutting” the board in two passes seems to be the best way to complete the task.

Step 1 - Take Appropriate Safety Precautions

Wood dust is released into the air when the particle board is cut. This wood dust can be severely irritating to the eyes and the respiratory system, so wear a pair of safety goggles and a dust mask to avoid any problems. Since you will be double-cutting the board, leather gloves are vital as this is more dangerous than regular cutting — you cannot see the blade under the wood and so cutting your hand is much more likely.

Step 2 - Mark the Board

Use a pencil and straight edge to mark the particle board where you want the cut.

Step 3 - Set Up the Board and Saw

Set the board on the table saw, adjusting the fence of the saw to ensure it is of the same width as the mark on the board (the fence of the saw is the adjustable barrier parallel to the blade). Make sure the mark on the board is lined up with the blade.

Step 4 - Adjust the Blade

A stack of particle board.

Adjust the blade downward so that it is almost completely under the table (this is usually done by adjusting the wheel under the machine, although it may vary according to your specific machine). The exposed part of the blade above the table should be slightly more than half the thickness of the particle board.

Step 5 - Cut the Board

Turn the saw on and slowly feed the board through it, making sure the saw doesn’t cut through the board completely. When you are done after the first pass, the board should have a cut in it that is more than half the thickness of the board.

Step 6 - Cut the Other Side

Flip the board over and line up the groove from the last step with the blade. Without changing the blade height, run the board through the saw again. The blade should cut through completely and cleanly, leaving a smooth edge on your particle board.

Cutting particle board can be frustrating and time-consuming for the novice, but damage can be minimized by ensuring that the saw is properly aligned and the blade is sharp. Feeding the board slowly through the saw will result in an accurate, clean cut and a beautiful looking particle board for your project.