An OSB (oriented strand board) is more stable than natural wood and a great alternative. Most carpenters like to utilize it to add strength and stability to the end product. This article will introduce the best blade for cutting an OSB.
A carbide-tipped blade is the best blade to cut an OSB board. Although a plywood blade can also do the job, its life can be reduced if it is used to cut materials other than plywood. It is best to use a carbide-tipped blade for textured materials such as OSB or particle boards.
Every woodworker, carpenter, or handy worker will come across the usage of OSB boards in their career. It’s a more stable material than natural wood and has excellent resistance against shrinking, warping, and splitting. One common problem you may encounter when working with an OSB is the material is quite tough to cut. It can be challenging to maneuver the large panels on the cutting board. However, if you use the wrong blade, it can cause the material to chip out.
You may be tempted to use a universal or plywood blade to cut the OSB. But, these blades can suffer and degrade due to the textured nature of the OSB. We recommend you use a carbide-tipped blade to cut an OSB.
Benefits of Using a Carbide-Tipped Blade to Cut an OSB
Carbide-tipped blades are great for cutting material as tough as an OSB. Carbide is industrial-grade steel developed with half part tungsten and half part carbide. Carbide-tipped blades and tools are three times stronger and stiffer than tools that are made using steel.
Here are a few distinct advantages of using a carbide-tipped blade to cut OSBs
Carbide-tipped blades deliver cleaner and straighter cuts as compared to other woodcutting tools. This ensures minimum grain damage and less kickback during the cutting process. The finished product glues together neatly when the cuts are straight and clean.
Sharp and Efficient
Regular woodcutting tools using plain steel often dull faster than carbide-tipped blades. Worn blades can cause grain blow-out and damage the OSB. Remaining sharper for longer means carbide-tipped blades are more efficient and put less load on woodworking machines.
OSBs are made of large particles. Carbide-tipped blades are tough and can cut through these particles without getting damaged. Carbide-tipped blades can cut through debris, stones, and even nails, and you wouldn’t even notice it. A regular plywood blade can get damaged when cutting through such a rigid material.
A carbide-tipped blade can last you up to 20 years if properly managed. The key is to have the tips replaced on time. A carbide-tipped tool may be more expensive than other blades initially, but the long life and low maintenance costs make up for the initial cost in the long run.
How to Cut an OSB using a Carbide-Tipped Blade?
Working with OSB can be tricky due to the heavy nature of the material. Here are a few tips designed to help you achieve a perfect and clean-cut, every single time.
1. Mark and Measure the Wood
First, determine how much OSB is required to finish your project. In most cases, you will need thin square sheets. Take these sheets and secure them on the studs or joists. You will probably need to cut a few edges to fit into the rest as you run them against the length of the wall.
Next, measure the dimensions you require to fill and mark them. You should utilize a white chalk or tape measure to do this since you want a clean straight cut. If the project requires creativity and you need pieces cut at an angle, simply use a cardboard stencil or protractor to mark the board.
2. Select the Saw and Blade
It’s time to choose the best tool for the job. This will mostly depend on the kind of cuts you want to achieve. When working with long sheets and straight cuts, use a carbide-tipped blade with a table saw. If you need to make a few cuts here and there, you can use a handsaw. The sheet can be easily propped up on sawhorses, and a circular saw can be used to make the cuts if straightness isn’t a requirement. If you want to cut curves, you can use a jigsaw, router, or coping saw.
3. Cut the OSB
Once you’ve determined the required dimensions and the tool you want to use, it’s time to cut the boards. Here are a few basic instructions to follow:
- Adjust the guide fences and blade guards on your saw as required
- Wear protective gear for the eyes
- Smoothen the edges of the cut board with sandpaper or a block plane
It is crucial to wear that eye gear because OSB is made of large particles that can chip off and fly during the cutting process.
4. Reseal the Edges with a Sealant
A waterproof sealant is used to seal the edges of the OSB by its manufacturers. When the panels are cut, the edges are exposed to water damage again.
Use a waterproof exterior sealant and paint the edges to avoid damage from moisture. Make sure you let the board dry for at least 4 hours before finally installing it.
Ways to Prevent Chip-Out When Cutting an OSB with a Carbide-Tipped Blade
OSB is made of large particles that are prone to chipping out and flying when being cut. Professional woodworkers use a number of tips to avoid this chip out. Let’s look at some of these in detail:
Increase the cutting blade’s depth
You may have been recommended to set the blade’s cutting depth to be slightly more than the thickness of the material to achieve a cleaner cut. However, professional woodworkers do the exact opposite of this.
When a blade is cutting at its full depth, the teeth are more likely to exit at a steeper and nearly vertical angle. This ensures that the teeth don’t take extra material with them. You can also adjust the height of the table saw to its maximum to get a cleaner cut. This will also help in handling the edge of the board at the end of the cut.
Use painter’s tape
Use painter’s tape instead of regular masking tape to tape the cut line. It is easier to remove and doesn’t damage the material during pull-off. First, lay the tape, draw the cut line on it with a pencil and cut through it.
The tape holds the material together and prevents material chip-out from the blade.
Use a knife
Don’t use a pencil to mark the cut line; instead, use a sharp knife to score the line. Doing this will take care of cutting through the facing of the material, which means less work for the blade. This will give you a perfectly clean edge. You can score both edges if you want to.
If you’re using a circular saw, bear in mind that the blade teeth will enter the board from the bottom and exit through the top. In this case, it is best if you flip the board to prevent material chip-out.
If you’re using a table saw, you need to keep the good side on top since the teeth enter from the top and exit through the bottom to achieve a finer cut.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is OSB dust harmful?
OSB dust is harmful for your breathing tract. This is one of the main reasons why it is recommended to wear protective gear for your face when working with manufactured wood materials like OSB, Particlewood, and Plywood. The dust can cause an obstruction in your nasal passages leading to cough, sneezing, dryness, and headaches.
Is OSB cheaper than drywall?
OSB is at least four times pricier than drywall. However, it is a very stable material and super easy and cheap to maintain in the long run. Drywall can also be repainted and maintained easily but it is nowhere as durable as OSB.
How long does OSB take to off-gas?
The resins in the OSB are cured completely in the hot press process at the manufacturing plant. After this process is complete, the SBA mills also stack the hot panels for 48 hours to allow the gasses to dissipate after trimming. Current research and findings suggest that this process ensures that OSBs do not off-gas.
Carbide-tipped blades are the best blades to cut an OSB. They yield cleaner and sharper cuts with a lesser load on the woodworking machines. They’re a long-term investment that requires very little maintenance and will last you up to 20 years.