How to Carve Plywood

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Plywood can be cut and shaped quickly with a rotary tool.
Plywood can be cut and shaped quickly with a rotary tool. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Woodworking is a process of carving, shaping and sanding various types of wood into shapes, signs and symbols that reflect the artisan's talent, personality and mood. Plywood is thin and chips easily, so, it takes a different approach that solid wood. Carving a piece of plywood is actually a process of cutting and sanding. Working a bit at a time you can shape a piece of plywood into whatever shape you desire. A rotary tool with cutting and sanding accessories is more than adequate to perform this task, even in the hands of a novice.

Things You'll Need

  • Saw horses
  • Plywood
  • Pencil
  • Rotary tool with cutting disk and sanding drum attachments
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask

Place your saw horses parallel to each other with thee feet of space separating them. Lay a sheet of plywood on top of the saw horses so that it is centered with an even amount of overhang on both ends.

Sketch the design you want to use on your plywood with a pencil. Refine your sketch and darken your outline so that it stands out from the sketch.

Attach a cutting disk onto your rotary tool. Turn on the your rotary tool and use it to cut away small pieces of plywood from the outside edges of the board.

Continue cutting away pieces of the plywood until you reach your outline. Replace the cutting disk on your rotary tool with a sanding drum. Hold the rotary tool perpendicular to the board and smooth the edges.

Hold the rotary tool so that the sanding drum is parallel to the surface of the plywood. Sand the top of the wood, flip it over on the saw horses and sand the opposite side. Change the belt on your sanding drum as necessary by following the manufacturer's instructions.

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