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Cutting magnetic dry-erase board

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  • Cutting magnetic dry-erase board

    My wife is a kindergarten teacher and just inherited a bunch of really cool furniture for her classroom, used but still usable. One piece has a removable framed dry-erase board that sits on an easle-type ledge. The dry-erase board has been abused and is trashed, but fortunately the maple frame around it is easily removed. So, my idea was to go get another board from Staples, cut it down, and swap it into the frame.

    Well, she came home with the new board today, and it's a magnetic board made by Quartet, very nice (it was $50), but it's a little too big. The magnetic part is a sheet of thin steel laminated to the back of the whiteboard, I don't think I can peel it off. So, the question is, how should I cut it? I was originally planning to use my circular saw, but I don't want to ruin the carbide blade. What about a cheap plywood blade, in my worm-drive saw?

    I was also thinking about using my jigsaw, with a metal blade, with a straightedge guide. It doesn't have to be a clean cut, as it gets hidden in the dado of the frame.

    I also have a metal cutoff saw with abrasive blades, but don't think it will cut the wood part very well.

    And I also have access to a plasma torch, but I don't think that would work out very well... ;-)

    Suggestions welcome. She has her heart set on having the magnetic feature, so taking it back and getting a non-magnetic one is not preferable.

  • #2
    A jigsaw with a metal cutting blade should do the job just fine. The marker board part of it shouldn't be thick enough to be a problem for the blade.

    For the circular saw, you should be able to find a ferrous metal blade to cut it, though it'll be more expensive than the jigsaw blade. A regular old non-carbide blade would probably cut it too if it is real thin, but probably isn't going to be the best on the blade and you'll probably shoot sparks all over.


    • #3
      I would suggest using a good cutoff blade. Lay down some wide masking tape first. I personally have had trouble with metal jigsaw blades on thin metal sheets as it will make the edges much rougher, catches occur and the flatness is gone around the edges. IF you do use the jigsaw blade, make sure it is laying on a smooth solid table and up as close to the cut line as possible.
      Last edited by leehljp; 07-23-2009, 08:36 PM.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


      • #4
        I second the cutoff blade in the CS. I've never had good results with metal blades. Cutoff blades are handy to have around too.

        Come to think of it I've never had good results with a wood blade either. My jigsaw is a real POS.


        • #5
          I'd bet my Bosch 1587 Jigsaw against any CS for this sort of a job. Each time I've had to cut metal (with a metal blade), I've surprised myself, even with my (now) high expectations !

          The last time, I cut the stock blade guard from my earlier TS (BTS20) to fit my Unisaw - nary a glitch. And that is 3/32" thick metal!

          I think you'd get more control with a JS than a CS, particularly because you don't need the higher power of the CS for this.

          Unless of course, as Erik says, your jigsaw is no-good.
          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
          - Aristotle


          • #6
            My jigsaw is a Ryobi, not as good as the Bosch but better than the cheapo Black&Deckers. It does have a blade guide roller, and I have a package of brand new Bosch metal blades. I think I'm gonna give it a try and see how it does, I could clean up a jagged edge with a file, and there's a 1/4" deep dado groove to hide it in anyway.

            My CS is a cordless Makita BSS610 (18V LXT) which I love, but there's only one 6-1/2" blade available for it and they're almost $20 each, kinda pricy. But, I do have an old Skil worm-drive saw, I suppose I could pick up an abrasive blade for it and give it a try if the jigsaw makes too much of a mess.

            I should have clarified that the "cutoff saw" is an air-operated type with only a 3" abrasive blade:

            Great for cutting off bolts and exhausts, but I think it would be hard to get a straight cut with it, there's no way to guide it.

            Thanks for the replys, I'll report what works best.
            Last edited by KLF; 07-24-2009, 10:04 AM.


            • #7
              You could just go through the metal with the cutoff saw, then finish up with the jig/circular.
              She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.


              • #8
                What about a 10-12 TPI blade in a band saw. I have had good luck cutting almost everything wih one of those.


                • #9
                  You might want to sandwich it between two sheet of thin plywood or masonite, that should prevent the steel from getting bent into the kerf as you cut.
                  I think in straight lines, but dream in curves


                  • #10
                    Well, this turned out much easier that I thought. When I popped the extruded aluminum frame off, I found the "board" was a sandwich of 2 sheets of thin sheet metal (I think about 20 gauge), lightly glued to 2 layers of corrugated cardboard. It was easy to peel the layers apart. Then, I just took the top layer (the one with the special "marker board" paint on it) to the office where we have a nice Pexto jump shear, and trimmed it to a perfect fit on the old board. I sprayed a coating of Scotch dry mount adhesive on the back of the new sheet and glued it to the old board, slid it back into the frame. All done.

                    Disappointed that this thing was $50, it certainly wasn't worth that, especially when I only ended up using a small part of it, the rest went to the recycle piles. I hope it lasts...

                    Thanks for all the suggestions!


                    • #11
                      The scraps might be handy for the shop.

                      I've got a magnetic pin board that I use for plans when in the shop. Looks like a coarkboard with a perforated metal covering, about 12x18. It'll handle two 8 1/2x11 sheets or an 11x17. Magnets are easier. It usually goes on the inside of the door to my shop. When I'm inside with the doors closed it's in view or outside with the doors open.