How to Cut OSB

How to Cut OSB

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OSB or oriented strand board is a popular building material for a variety of purposes. However, no matter the application you are using it for, chances are that you will need to cut it down to size or into various shapes at some point.

Today, we want to teach you exactly how to cut OSB. Specifically, we are going to focus on all of the different ways to cut this material, what the best method is, and how to actually cut it using one of these methods.

9 Best Ways to Cut OSB

There are nine different tools that you can use to cut OSB, so let’s take a quick look at each of them right now.

1. Using a Circular Saw

Circular Saw One of the best tools to use to cut this material is a circular saw. If you are cutting small, medium, or medium-large pieces of OSB, and you are cutting straight lines, whether making rip or cross cuts, a circular saw fitted with an 80-tooth blade will work just fine.

Make sure that your blade is very sharp, preferably a carbide-tipped blade, to ensure that minimal tear-out occurs. A circular saw is also a good tool to choose if you are on the go a lot.

2. Using a Miter Saw

Miter Saw If you need to cut straight lines into OSB, then a miter saw will also do the trick. A miter saw is another one of those tools that are fairly portable and ideal for being on the go. Moreover, if you need to make bevel cuts or miter cuts, or compound bevel and miter cuts, then a miter saw is really the only tool to use for the job.

What you do need to keep in mind, however, is that miter saws are ideal for making cross-cuts, but due to their design, are not ideal for rip cuts. They aren’t ideal for very long cuts, but they certainly are accurate for bevel and miter cuts.

3. Using a Table Saw

Table Saw If you need to make very long and straight rip cuts, some cross-cuts, or maybe even some bevel cuts while ripping or cross-cutting, then a table saw will do fine as well. Now, a table saw has large infeed and outfeed tables, making it the best cutting tool to use if you are cutting very long pieces of OSB.

Just keep in mind that you can only make straight cuts with this tool, although thanks to the fence, it is very accurate. Just make sure to use a fine-toothed carbide-tipped blade to avoid tear-out from occurring.

4. Using a Jigsaw

BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw, Smart Select, 5.0-Amp (BDEJS600C) If you need to cut curves, irregular shapes, or even circles into OSB, then one of the best tools you can use is the jigsaw. Now, do keep in mind that trying to cut straight lines with this tool won’t work well, as keeping the blade moving in a straight line can be difficult.

When cutting your material, make sure it is face-side down, and that you use a blade that has a very high tooth-per-inch count, as this will help avoid tear-out.

5. Using a Router

Wood Router If your plan is to cut the edges of your material, whether in straight lines, curves, or other irregular shapes, then you might use a router affixed with a carbide blade, a spiral flute router bit to be exact. What is also nice about using a router is that you can use it to make interior cuts without penetrating the outer edges of the OSB.

Just make sure that you don’t move too fast, or else the blade may overheat and cause the board to burn.

6. Using an Oscillating Tool

Oscillating Tool If your goal is to cut small shapes or patterns into or out of the OSB, then using an oscillating tool with a segment saw blade or a bi-metal plunge cutter will work best. Yes, you may also cut straight lines with this device, but it won’t be easy, and you’ll need to score that cut first so you can keep the line straight.

An oscillating tool is best used on small pieces of material, particularly if you are doing detailing work. Also, don’t apply too much pressure, or else that blade may overheat.

7. Using a Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating Saw Reciprocating saws are great tools to use but do keep in mind that they are generally just used for demolition. Reciprocating saws are rough and they certainly won’t leave you with clean edges. Therefore, if you are doing demolition work and tearing down some old OSB, then this saw is ideal.

However, if you are doing detailed work and need smooth cuts, it’s not the first tool we’d recommend using.

8. Using a Hole Saw

If you just need to cut some holes into your board without cutting through the edges, such as for running pipes and wires through walls, then using a drill fitted with a hole saw attachment is best.

Once again, just make sure that the hole saw is new and sharp, or else you are going to cause a lot of tear-out.

9. Using a Hand Saw

If you just need to cut a few pieces of OSB, then there is no reason you can’t use a hand saw. Just make sure that it is sharp and in good condition.

How to Cut OSB

Now that you know what tools are best used for cutting this material, let’s go through a quick tutorial on how to cut it. Here, we are going to focus on using a circular saw for the job.

1. Measure and Mark

Use a T-square, ruler, and whatever other measuring utensils you need to measure the cut you plan on making, then use a ruler or other straight edge, as well as a carpenter’s pencil to mark the line you plan on cutting.

2. Prepare the Saw and Yourself

Before you get started, make sure that you attach a blade to your circular saw that has at least 80 teeth and carbide tips. You need that blade to be sharp, durable, and fine-toothed. Then, make sure to put on your safety goggles to protect your eyes. You then want to lay the OSB down on a flat surface and have it supported on either side of the line you plan on cutting. To be safe, you may want to clamp the board down.

3. Make the Cut

Get your saw running at full speed, line up the blade with the mark made in the previous step, and pass the saw through the OSB.

4. Sand It Down

You are likely to have some rough edges here, so use some coarse sandpaper to get rid of any splinters, then some fine sandpaper to smooth those edges.

5. Reseal the Edges

OSB has sealant on the edges, so if you cut this material, you will create new edges that are not sealed. Therefore, once the cutting and sanding are done, to keep the board water-resistant, you will want to reseal those edges with an appropriate sealant.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s go over a few quick tips and tricks to help make cutting this material as easy, fast, and safe as possible:

  • Always reseal OSB after cutting it or else the edges will wear down and absorb water.
  • Always make sure your blades are sharp, fine-toothed, and carbide-tipped.
  • You may want to wear safety gloves, as your board will have a lot of splinters after cutting.

Summary

As you can see, although OSB does often tear out when being cut, if you use the right kind of blade, it really shouldn’t be a problem. You can use nearly ten different tools to cut this material, so you should be able to find at least one method that works for you.