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Old 12-01-2018, 11:39 AM   #1
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Cutting holes in panelling

I will shortly be looking at a project that will require cutting holes in the panelling of our trailer.

I haven’t previously done this and wanted to benefit from other forum members experiences on how they cut into the panels, what tools they used, any short cuts or tips and tricks and so. This is before I make the first cut, which is the deepest, as after that there’s no going back. What will make it more difficult is that I need to cut out circles as well, not a straight edge.

I see from all the pictures that many members have done all sorts of mods that require cutting so help please! Thanks in advance for any contributions on this topic.

Chris
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:57 AM   #2
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Use a hole saw and be aware of where the wood studs are so you don't cut into them, if possible. It's pretty easy and you'll enjoy the result.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:05 PM   #3
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I agree with Micheal that a hole saw is the best way, especially for larger holes. There are fine fibreglass reinforcing strands in the panelling that help give it strength for its thinness. A spade bit can grab and tear these a wee bit, but if you need a small hole in a cabinet out of the way they will work fine. Twist bits work too, but are limited in size.

For straight cuts I used my Bosch Multi-tool for smooth cuts.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:13 PM   #4
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To install a new light under a cupboard I recently had to cut a 4 inch dia hole. I did not have a 4 inch round hole saw and there was not enough depth in the wall to use a jigsaw. Either saw also might of hacked the existing light wires in the area of my new hole.

I used these two tools pictured below to make the round hole. It was way easier than I thought it was going to be. I started with the oscillating multi-tool on the left following the circle an inch at a time then completed the round with the drum sander.

The multi-tool allows you to go through the wood just the right amount without cutting anything that may be behind.

Note: If you look very carefully you can see the filler marks covering the staples into the wall studs so you can keep clear of them.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:14 PM   #5
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For straight cuts I used my Bosch Multi-tool for smooth cuts.

I've used my cheap Canadian Tire multi-tool for straight cuts. Love how easy it is to control. They keep going on sale for about $27 with a whole bunch of accessories.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:19 PM   #6
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I've used my cheap Canadian Tire multi-tool for straight cuts. Love how easy it is to control. They keep going on sale for about $27 with a whole bunch of accessories.
That is a good price if you only use it occasionally, which most other than us contractors do.

I have had this tool for near 10 years now and could not do without it, it is so handy for cutting and scraping.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
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I use a small "super magnet" slid over the paneling to locate the colored staples ETI uses for assembly.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:24 PM   #8
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Oscillating saw is back at regular price, but if you enter a sales alert, it will be on sale 70% off again soon.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:54 PM   #9
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I prefer the battery operated like this https://www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-V...ded/1000594609
it is precise and there is not a lot of sawdust.
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Old 12-01-2018, 02:20 PM   #10
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Just cut a hole into wall with 2.5" hole saw.
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File Type: jpg Hole Saw 20181201_121654.jpg (215.8 KB, 13 views)
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:16 PM   #11
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Just cut a hole into wall with 2.5" hole saw.

Me, I always carry a camp ax, Boy Scout knife, and tree saw. Cutting holes in panels is nary a problem.
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:10 PM   #12
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I have a couple scout hatchets and like them but usually carry a little heavier Snow and Nealley camp hatchet that’s a Hudson Bay pattern. I have some scout knives too but usually carry a regular pocket knife. Tree saws are handy too, I have a Gerber with both wood and meat blades. I also have a small trowel type shovel with a stout handle. I live the motto and it’s the main reason I approach Total combined weight limits, that and my affinity for bottled beer. I have my Totin Chip but I have had to cut a couple corners off over the years. This fall I was fortunate to camp with an Eagle Scout. A missing hot water handle on a lavatory in a Corps campground was remedied with one carved out of a stick. Eagles are marked for life!
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Old 12-01-2018, 08:15 PM   #13
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I have a couple scout hatchets and like them but usually carry a little heavier Snow and Nealley camp hatchet that’s a Hudson Bay pattern. I have some scout knives too but usually carry a regular pocket knife. Tree saws are handy too, I have a Gerber with both wood and meat blades. I also have a small trowel type shovel with a stout handle. I live the motto and it’s the main reason I approach Total combined weight limits, that and my affinity for bottled beer. I have my Totin Chip but I have had to cut a couple corners off over the years. This fall I was fortunate to camp with an Eagle Scout. A missing hot water handle on a lavatory in a Corps campground was remedied with one carved out of a stick. Eagles are marked for life!
Iowa “the old Scoutmaster” Dave
Thanks for making me smile Dave. And I thought I was the only one who remembers the Motto every time I restock the gear in the trailer! And then...a few short years after I made Eagle I ended up in Coast Guard boot camp where I learned their motto was ...Semper Paratus, which sounded to me like the same thing! No wonder I have problems.

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Old 12-01-2018, 10:46 PM   #14
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The oscillating tools with a straight blade are excellent for straight cuts, but not so great for curves. If a hole saw is unavailable or inappropriate for other reasons, other excellent choices are either a Dremel with rotary cutting bit, or a dedicated rotary cutting tool such as this Ryobi. The Dremel is far more versatile, with tons of different bits available for different functions, but the Ryobi works on same batteries as a bunch of other tools we own and travel with.IMG_0207.jpg

Depth of cut can generally also be well controlled with these as well.
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:56 PM   #15
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Just cut a hole into wall with 2.5" hole saw.
Yesss.
A hole saw is the way to go. It always results in perfect circles. Pretty inexpensive, and only need to chuck them in your drill.

Can’t do that with an oscillating reciprocal saw.
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Old 12-02-2018, 12:41 AM   #16
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Chris said, "What will make it more difficult is that I need to cut out circles as well, not a straight edge".
I gather Chris needs to cut circles and straight edges. So far, a hole saw and an oscillating saw have been recommended. I've not seen anybody suggest cutting a circle with an oscillating saw, or cutting a straight edge with a hole saw.

If I am misinformed, please advise.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:11 AM   #17
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Chris said, "What will make it more difficult is that I need to cut out circles as well, not a straight edge".
I gather Chris needs to cut circles and straight edges. So far, a hole saw and an oscillating saw have been recommended. I've not seen anybody suggest cutting a circle with an oscillating saw, or cutting a straight edge with a hole saw.

If I am misinformed, please advise.
You’re right. No one suggested it because oscillating tools generally cut straight and sometimes curved lines. Hole saws are round tubes with saw teeth on one end, with a drill bit running through the tube’s center, as a pilot to be chucked into a drill. The hole saw, as you expect, cuts bigger holes than most drill bits.

Why didn’t anyone laugh at my joke about using an ax, knife, and tree saw? I thought it was funny to use such hacking tools to do carpentry work. Maybe in a very desperate pinch, but it’s not normal.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:39 AM   #18
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I've not seen anybody suggest cutting a circle with an oscillating saw.
If I am misinformed, please advise.
Please check post # 4 where I explain how to cut a round hole with an oscillating saw.

Not everyone has large size or custom size hole saws. As you can see in the post # 4 picture, the cut outs have flat side because I used a 1 inch wide blade reducing the amount of cuts. If you want it more round you could make many cuts with a 1/4 wide blade.

The drum sander makes it round and to the exact size you want.

This method works when you need a hole larger than the hole saw size you have.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:25 PM   #19
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For straight cuts, I have sometimes used a straightedge (roofing square or small square) and a utility knife with a fresh blade. Score it, then repeat, until through.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:46 PM   #20
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Always cut on the scrap side of the straight edge so that if you veer off the blade cuts the scrap.
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