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FrankSmith 10-30-2012 04:12 PM

Soffit Cutting
I am trying to install a large amount of aluminum soffit. The salesman at the store told me that it would be easy to cut with snips. I am finding that it is time consuming and it distorts the shape of the panels. Is there a better way to cut this material with out buying or building a saw setup?

joecaption 10-30-2012 04:17 PM

Set up saw horses and lay a piece of OSB on top of them. Nail or screw am 8'
2 X 4 to it to use as a guide. Use a ciruler saw with the blade on backwards.

FrankSmith 10-30-2012 06:52 PM

Do you then cut one at a time?

Davejss 10-30-2012 07:04 PM

I've cut miles of the stuff with snips, but now a days I use a small radial arm saw with a fine tooth blade. But Joe's suggestion works too. Some sort of strait edge jig and a hand held circular saw with a paneling blade or other fine toothe blade turned backwards works fine.

FrankSmith 10-30-2012 07:11 PM

what snips are you using? How many can I cut at once with a saw? I tried cutting but with a wood blade and the piece jammed up on me. Also the piece got scratched by the saw.

pete0403 10-30-2012 07:34 PM

I've cut 3-4 at once with a saw. Make sure the blade is in backwards and you get it spinning full speed before you start cutting. It also helps if the pieces are back to back and top to bottom when laying down to minimize depth.

FrankSmith 10-30-2012 07:42 PM

what kind of a setup are you cutting on?

firehawkmph 10-30-2012 07:50 PM

I have an aluminum trim table saw setup from 35 years ago that is made specifically for cutting aluminum and vinyl siding and soffit. But for small jobs I will use my 10" sliding compound saw. I use a fine tooth plywood blade. Just a cheapy steel one. With the fine teeth I don't put it in backwards. You can cut single sheets but you have to make sure it is snug up against the fence and you use your hand and forearm to make sure the sheet lies flat against the bed so it can't jump when the saw hits it. The other thing you want to do is feed the saw through at a slow and steady rate. Don't yank it through. After cutting, when handling, be wary of the burr left on the edge. Best to wear some kind of thin gloves when installing, or you could slice your hands up easily enough.
Mike Hawkins:)

Mo Guy 10-30-2012 07:55 PM

If we are going to need several the same sizes we cut it while it is in the box with backwards blade. Other wise we made a rig like was suggested. I know you are thinking about the looks of it but the ends are going to be covered up. I dont like it either.

woodworkbykirk 10-30-2012 09:23 PM

a mini grinder works if you dont have a chopsaw. for the chopsaw either put the blade on backwards or get a non ferrous cutting blade for it, even a diamond blade will work..

id your stuck with snips get rid of the aviation snips and buy a set of malco siders snips. their much bigger and make cleaner cuts in aluminum. almost all siding installers carry them. i have a couple sets in my siding tool bucket

pete0403 11-02-2012 12:41 AM

^^^Yes, those are great. Rubberized handles are key too...the ones I used to use were just metal handles and it made for some hard beer lifting at the end of the day.

iamrfixit 11-02-2012 04:43 AM

Mark across the unopened box of soffit material with a square and saw right through the whole box at once!

The box protects the pieces from getting scratched, controls much of the noise and also helps to contain some of the tiny bits of aluminum that inevitably fly around when cutting metal. I usually open the end of the box so I can be sure the ends of the panels are aligned and I can get an accurate measurement. I just use my regular circular saw with a regular carbide framing blade. Cuts like butter and leaves a real clean edge. Might seem strange but it does not act much different than cross cutting a larger board like a 2x12.

Almost every builder I have seen does it the same way. It works very well and is still very accurate. The best part is you get a whole stack of cut pieces with only one cut. Verify your measurements carefully though because you can get a whole stack of mistakes with one cut also!! :laughing:

Works best with full boxes but I have also cut partial boxes this way without issue.

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