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post #1 of 22 Old 05-16-2020, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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How to fix my uneven cuts?!

So I'm making (4) VBSS subs and have started ripping the MDF. I'm using my circular saw and a 50" straight clamp I got from Harbor Freight. It seemed to be fine but as I was dry fitting things together it seems the "straight clamp" wasn't quite. What's the best way to get these cuts straight again? Some boards have two factory straight ends left but some only have one. I have:


Circular saw
Jig saw
Drill
Bench that can have a router put in it (but a short fence)
Plunge router


Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 Old 05-16-2020, 03:08 PM
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Assemble it as best as possible, fill and sand the crap out of it.

^ not the best solution, but it works!

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #3 of 22 Old 05-16-2020, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
Assemble it as best as possible, fill and sand the crap out of it.

^ not the best solution, but it works!
Agree with this! I'm assembling a 1099 at the moment and realized that either my guide was off or I put didn't do a good job holding the saw up against the guide LOL. I have some gaps that are 1/16 to 1/8" in some places that I plan on filling and sanding once I get the box all put together.
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-16-2020, 05:01 PM
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assemble as squarely as you can given that it is MDF
don't worry about any gaps ATT
just build a solid cab

go over every interior seam with a small bead of PL3 that will preserve design integrity sealed, ported, horn

exterior joint flaws depends on the desired aesthetic
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post #5 of 22 Old 05-16-2020, 07:07 PM
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Depending on what MDF panels you have left, you can use the factory edges of those as a saw guide to re cut the bad pieces. The long edges are usually pretty good. Short edges have been hit or miss for me. If you have to shave off 1/16-1/8” from nominal to make it straight, it’s not a big deal as long as you are consistent with all panels.

If you have a flush trim bit for your router and only a few bad panels, you could overhang the bad ones and trim the joint flush after gluing. Or if you have one good panel, you could also use it as a router template to flush trim a bad panel.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 22 Old 05-17-2020, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MDJones View Post
Depending on what MDF panels you have left, you can use the factory edges of those as a saw guide to re cut the bad pieces. The long edges are usually pretty good. Short edges have been hit or miss for me. If you have to shave off 1/16-1/8” from nominal to make it straight, it’s not a big deal as long as you are consistent with all panels.

If you have a flush trim bit for your router and only a few bad panels, you could overhang the bad ones and trim the joint flush after gluing. Or if you have one good panel, you could also use it as a router template to flush trim a bad panel.

Good luck!
I think I might be able to use one of the factory edges to get templates made and then route the rest flush. Never done it before though.
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post #7 of 22 Old 05-17-2020, 01:50 PM
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Build with Gorilla Glue. It foams up slightly and will fill small (< 0.060") gaps very strong. Sands down smooth and won't clog router bits or other tools either. I use Bondo for bigger oopses.

You can also clean up the edges and build a teeny bit undersized.

What will your finish be? A few layers of latex rolled on hides stuff too.

A true craftsman can screw up and nobody will ever know.
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post #8 of 22 Old 05-18-2020, 06:50 AM
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As mentioned, a router with a flush trim bit can be a lifesaver for squaring up messy cuts.

You may want to consider a track saw in the future. I recently acquired the cheapo Wen track saw system and I love it.
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post #9 of 22 Old 05-18-2020, 07:02 AM
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I would confess that even using a tablesaw and track+circular saw, I STILL end up with less perfect assemblies than I would like. Part of it I have found is the 'greasy' nature of PL3 before it sets up. Wood glue is sticky and stuff won't slide around after a few minutes. Not so with PL3.


Further, my own router skills are less than optimal. Clearly it would go easier if I had a router table (although sliding a big cabinet would present its own problems) as I can screw up with both flush trim AND with roundovers. I have had to do more filling and sanding of roundovers with little gouges from the router pivoting slightly. I tend to get in a hurry, and some of it is mindset: this is going in a home theater and will be covered in Duratex. Perfection isn't required!


I have used more 'color changing' wood filler (recommended by Duratex) than I would have believed. The bondo w/ catalyst is ready for sanding earlier, but even it can be a little frustrating as I find it either wants to set up TOO fast, or sometimes seems to stay slightly gummy for awhile. Accurate addition of the peroxide hardener seems beyond me!


All that said, I actually enjoyed my 1099s + HT10s last night together for the first time. BluRay of Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds @ Radio City was awesome. Very good dynamics in a live performance, I am pleased with what these speakers offer. I still have finishing work to do on 4 subs, plus 2 more to assemble and finish. Then screen paint ...


As an aside, sandpaper sure doesn't last very long and has gotten VERY expensive!
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post #10 of 22 Old 05-18-2020, 11:15 AM
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As an aside, sandpaper sure doesn't last very long and has gotten VERY expensive!
The Diablo brand sandpaper at Home Depot seems to be priced fair and lasts a while, for my random DA sander.
But you need to buy it in the 50 pack to get the good prices.

I'm still learning to properly use a belt sander and have no comment on its sandpaper yet.
Did you know beltsanders have a little dial you adjust to keep the sandpaper on straight? lol
I didn't until I got mad at the tenth sandpaper coming off/getting torn and then searched the Internet for fixes.
doh

I use drywall mud to fix my oops on surfaces. Works great for anything but stain finishes.
Or re-cut/use PL3 for slight misses in the seams.

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post #11 of 22 Old 05-19-2020, 08:17 PM
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The Diablo brand sandpaper at Home Depot seems to be priced fair and lasts a while, for my random DA sander.
But you need to buy it in the 50 pack to get the good prices.

I'm still learning to properly use a belt sander and have no comment on its sandpaper yet.
Did you know beltsanders have a little dial you adjust to keep the sandpaper on straight? lol
I didn't until I got mad at the tenth sandpaper coming off/getting torn and then searched the Internet for fixes.
doh

I use drywall mud to fix my oops on surfaces. Works great for anything but stain finishes.
Or re-cut/use PL3 for slight misses in the seams.

CAREFUL with the belt sander, you can quickly do some real damage with one ... or so I have HEARD Although mud is easy to apply and sand, I wouldn't think it would be durable enough for speaker use. I am going to have PLENTY of time playing with mud skimming & sanding my future screen wall!
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post #12 of 22 Old 05-19-2020, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTBDOC View Post
CAREFUL with the belt sander, you can quickly do some real damage with one ... or so I have HEARD Although mud is easy to apply and sand, I wouldn't think it would be durable enough for speaker use. I am going to have PLENTY of time playing with mud skimming & sanding my future screen wall!


Agreed, don’t use mud for filling gaps, it is too soft and will crack under your finish. I tried to use it for my current subwoofers and it doesn’t like to stick to MDF. Body filler if a muck better option. Sand it with heavy grit when it is in the green stage and it will shape quickly. Don’t use bondo. Get some rage gold or 3M premium and you will thank yourself.


-Trevor
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post #13 of 22 Old 05-19-2020, 09:04 PM
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I use drywall mud to fix my oops on surfaces.
I didn't suggest using drywall mud for filling gaps.
I said surfaces.
And it works just fine on MDF when used for this purpose.

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post #14 of 22 Old 05-21-2020, 01:59 PM
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Look into buying a Kreg Jig rip cut for your circular saw. It will give you straight reliable cuts.
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post #15 of 22 Old 05-25-2020, 09:13 AM
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Look into buying a Kreg Jig rip cut for your circular saw. It will give you straight reliable cuts.
4x8 sheets are difficult to deal with at home. Most people don't have adequate work space, work benches are not large enough, saw horses are never level, sheets of 3/4 ate heave and bulky, etc. The best way is to have HD or Lowes do the biggest cuts on their panel saw. Then you have manageable sized sheets cut pretty square to cross-cut at home.

For those who don't know, you make the largest cut first. If they get screwed up, you can make smaller parts out of them. Make all of the cuts that are the same size at the same time so everything fits up correctly. If you have a router and a flush cut bit, make the pieces that will be outside (glue on the sides, not the edges) 1/8" over size, glue it up and flush rout later. With all of this and some care and practice you will have professional looking results.
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post #16 of 22 Old 05-27-2020, 06:25 PM
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4x8 sheets are difficult to deal with at home. Most people don't have adequate work space, work benches are not large enough, saw horses are never level, sheets of 3/4 ate heave and bulky, etc. The best way is to have HD or Lowes do the biggest cuts on their panel saw. Then you have manageable sized sheets cut pretty square to cross-cut at home.

For those who don't know, you make the largest cut first. If they get screwed up, you can make smaller parts out of them. Make all of the cuts that are the same size at the same time so everything fits up correctly. If you have a router and a flush cut bit, make the pieces that will be outside (glue on the sides, not the edges) 1/8" over size, glue it up and flush rout later. With all of this and some care and practice you will have professional looking results.
Agree. I have a table saw that can make strait cuts but even with that I have big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes cut 4' x 8' sheets down to manageable sizes. Usually three cuts are no charge. I can't handle ripping a 4x8 on a table saw by myself. For a fee and some schmoozing it is possible to get these same stores to make more than 3 cuts to desired size. They have better and more precise equipment than I do.
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post #17 of 22 Old 05-27-2020, 07:45 PM
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How to fix my uneven cuts?!

A saw guide is handy for knocking 4x8 sheets down to size. At least a 4’ one and ideally an 8’ one too, the Bora guides are light and work well. Cut the first cut a little oversized so you can trim it on the table saw. The factory cuts are rough so trimming all edges will give a better result.

If you can, plan the cuts so that if multiple parts have the same dimension, set the table saw fence and cut everything that is that dimension, and then cut the widths to size. You can get pretty accurate with inexpensive tools with some planning and a little luck.
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post #18 of 22 Old 05-27-2020, 08:22 PM
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A saw guide is handy for knocking 4x8 sheets down to size. At least a 4’ one and ideally an 8’ one too, the Bora guides are light and work well. Cut the first cut a little oversized so you can trim it on the table saw. The factory cuts are rough so trimming all edges will give a better result.

If you can, plan the cuts so that if multiple parts have the same dimension, set the table saw fence and cut everything that is that dimension, and then cut the widths to size. You can get pretty accurate with inexpensive tools with some planning and a little luck.
Planning your cuts is key. Start with as large as you can so you can save the material if a cut was measured with a rubber tape measure.

It's nice to have a table behind the table saw that's nearly as high as the saw to catch the sawed boards. I can handle a 4x4x.75 without a catch table but it's not too comforting leaning over the spinning blade. I also use a technique where I stand beside the table saw in certain circumstances. There is a certain amount of skill that goes into using a table saw successfully and safely.

P.S. I sure would like to get my hands in a Rockwell/Delta Unifence. NLA.
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post #19 of 22 Old 05-27-2020, 08:42 PM
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In addition to the recommendations here I will also say get yourself an accurate square and use it regularly. I check for square and mark corners after every cut.

My process for a project is to rough cut about 1” oversize with a track saw then mark a corner that is square. If there are no square corners cut again with the track saw to get one. Then, use the square corner against your table saw fence and do two cuts to get the opposite side parallel and perpendicular. Use feather boards as often as possible. If you have sides that you can leave over cut leave them about 1/8” over and then flush cut with the router after assembly. All the final dimensions should only be made after all four edges of your boards are parallel and perpendicular.

Also, make sure tour table saw is tuned up and that the top/fence is square to the blade. I ignored his advice after I got a new tablesaw about 5 years ago and couldn’t figure out why my projects weren’t turning out. It was only after I squared the top to my blade that everything fell together.
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post #20 of 22 Old 05-28-2020, 08:45 AM
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I agree with having the big box stores cut panels down to manageable sizes, but don’t expect them to be good cuts. I wouldn’t request less than 1/4” oversized. Although the equipment they use is awesome, even “trained” personnel can struggle. I had a guy that ran the panel saw down, but left it running while pulling panels out, causing burn marks. On one panel they even pushed the panel into the running saw, forgetting it was still in the way. Giant circular burn in on that one. So yeah, expect to do some cleanup.

I’d be interested to try a track saw, but circular saws are just not precision tools. I have a nice corded dewalt that is solid with a nice rigid base, but the pivot points that connect the base have enough slop to allow a few degrees of flex from the weight of the saw and how hard you push. Took me forever to figure out why the saw was perfectly square upside down, but when used would cut at a small angle. Yes a rigid guide helps keep a straight line, but the whole setup is just not consistent and reliable enough for me.
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post #21 of 22 Old 05-30-2020, 04:29 AM
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I'm about to start cutting my MDFs for my new HTM-12s. The table on my table saw is very small and there is no way, not even with two extra pair of hands that I'm willing to push a 4x8 board across a table saw.

I'm planning on using my circular saw guided by some long straight edge, clamped down, to cut it slightly oversized and the flush router it even. Lucky for me they go behind my screen, unlike children they will be heard and not seen.

That is the plan, will it work? Stay tuned....


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post #22 of 22 Old 05-30-2020, 01:47 PM
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I go to a lumber yard with large bandsaws and when I ask for cuts like 1600mm by 200 mm I tell them here's the mdf payment and here's some extra money and I tell them I don't care if it takes four days till my cuts are ready I want precise cuts so do it slowly.

And three days later my mdf gets delivered plus minus maybe 1mm but that's close to good so it's kinda OK since most boards are exactly the required cut and maybe 1 board is a tiny bit off.

To fix that single board I mix mdf dust with carpenters glue to make a diy Woodville that holds up really good and sands down almost like actual mdf.

I mix it with mostly mdf and a small amount of glue.


To repair an uneven cut board I slowly move the board edge past a wood lathe with mdf board on table and wood lathe clamped and checked to be true with a laser line from a laser leveler as I kinda obsess over uneven cuts when I do mangage to find one as the lumber yard does do a good job of cut boards at exaptly my specs.....nah must be the extra money when I ask themyself to do good cuts lol.

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