Will Home Depot Cut Plywood? Our Experiences


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Home depot is a popular and often easy place for us woodworkers to source timber. More times than not, I find getting large sheets of plywood home is difficult and I require it to be cut. I wanted to know what the costs were and I found out there is a lot of misguided information out there on the topic. I did some extensive research and made many phone calls to find out will Home Depot cut plywood and this is what I found out.

Home Depot will cut plywood free of charge according to the size and specifications you communicate as long as you have bought the plywood from Home Depot and it is limited to 3-5 cuts. We have found this may vary from store to store.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about getting plywood from Home Depot, requesting their complimentary cutting service, and making sure you don’t get the wrong size boards. But first, let’s look further into the store’s sheet-cutting service and its terms.

Home depot plywood
Plywood at Home Depot

Will Home Depot Cut Plywood for Me?

Home Depot will cut plywood for you if you are the store’s customer. If the plywood is bought elsewhere, the store will refuse to cut it for you. This service is available at all Home Depot branches, and you might be able to get a sheet cut by proving you got it from another branch.

The ‘might’ there is quite significant. Once you walk out of the Home Depot with the plywood, it is entirely up to the discretion of the store to offer the cutting service. In most cases, the store will refuse to cut plywood that isn’t taken from the racks.

This matters because you need to go into the store already knowing the specs of your project. If you don’t know what size strips or boards you need, you’ll end up walking out with uncut sheets that the store will not cut later. If you try to offset this by getting them cut without knowing the details of the project, you might end up with poorly-sized plywood planks.

According to the Home Depot return policy, you can return items within 90 days of purchase. If you’ve already bought plywood from Home Depot and the cutting corner refuses to accept it, you can simply return it and exchange it for new sheets. Make sure to get the sheets cut before leaving the store.

Home Depot Wood Cutting Policy

Home depot’s wood cutting policy is that the wood bought at Home Depot will be cut for free as long as it is safe to cut and a reasonable number of cuts (3 to 5 per board) are requested. You can pay for extra cuts but still need to have bought the wood in the store. Wood from outside is not entertained even if you offer to pay. 

That’s alleged to protect the cutting corner tools but is obviously to bolster Home Depot hardwood and plywood sales. The policy is enforced based on how much the staff likes you.

My experience, alongside the accounts of others, shows that if you get friendly with the home depot staff, you can get away with requesting as many cuts as you want. 

In some instances, the cooperation of the staff depends on how bored they are. The home depot staff can refuse to service your request by saying their wood cutting machine is out of service.

I talked with some members of our woodwork community on Facebook and this is what people said:

Woodworkers on facebook commenting on home depot cutting policy
Video showing plywood being cut at Home Depot

Can I Cut Plywood at Home Depot?

You cannot cut plywood at home depot yourself, but the staff there can cut it for you. Letting customers work with power tools and sharp saws can result in legal liability, which is why the store doesn’t let woodworkers operate in its wood cutting corner.

Home Depot doesn’t mind customers having their own ideas regarding sheet-cutting. They just don’t want the liability, so as long as you can dictate your cutting goals, you can get the result you want.

There are two ways you can approach this. Firstly, you can decide to note down very specific sizes and shapes in which you would like the wood to be cut. The degree to which this can be accommodated depends on the tools in the cutting corner and the experience of the staff there. Remember, even if you are more experienced, you won’t be allowed to cut the wood.

The second way is to decide the maximum viable size. Knowing what kind of strips would be manageable for your project and asking the employees to cut plywood to that size is the best way to DIY your project with minimal help. That’s what I did because I wanted the planks to be small enough to haul in my car’s backseat but didn’t want to feel like someone else was co-building the project I was working on.

Home Depot will cut your plywood to size ROUGHLY.

The cuts may not be accurate!

Another reason for getting a closer-to-standard cut is that if there is any plywood leftover, it has reuse value. In case you get the plywood cut to fit the specifications of a birdhouse, for example, you won’t be able to use it for anything else if you decide not to build the birdhouse. In my opinion, getting the plywood cut into strips that are 5 or 8 feet long has the maximum transferable utility across different projects.

In general, the Home Depot cutting service is positively received, but I am still skeptical of the staff’s ability to cut plywood in any more precise manner. Please remember that if the specifications you give are not followed by the Home Depot cutting corner, the store will need to replace the material for you.

But to make sure you get the benefit, you have to give the staff the cutting specifications in writing. While the chances are low, there can be a “he said, they said,” situation around the conflict if the staff messes up the plywood cutting and asserts that the size they cut is what you said you wanted.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Wood Cut at Home Depot?

It costs nothing to get wood cut at home depot if you buy the wood there. And if the wood has been purchased elsewhere, you can’t even pay Home Depot to cut it for you, as the store doesn’t have a priced cutting service model.

In terms of cash, there is no cost to Home Depot’s customers, but some of the stores have huge lines at the cutting corner. There, getting the free wood-cutting service costs $12 to 48 worth of your time, depending on how much you’re paid per hour at work.

The intangible cost of getting wood cut at Home Depot shouldn’t scare you away from the complimentary service. You just need to shop at low-demand hours.  It is worth remembering that the time you spend waiting to get wood cut at Home Depot might anyway get wasted cutting the wood yourself. 

The biggest problem with relying on Home Depot cutting corner exclusively is that you might not get what you exactly want. As mentioned earlier, the staff is excellent at making standard cuts but can have trouble sawing plywood into bespoke shapes and unconventional sizes.

Im my experiences, the only reason you should ask Home Depot to cut your plywood is so you can fit it in your car!

If the wood-cutting project requires a fairly standard output, like a shiplap task, you can rely solely on Home Depot cutting. For almost everything else, you will need tools at home.

Still, the Home Depot complementary wood-cutting service is quite valuable because you can eliminate at least one step in your project if it doesn’t use standard-sized plywood boards. It saves effort and energy but doesn’t really save time.

Of the three times, I got the wood cut at the Home Depot, two times the process took less than 15 minutes, and once it took 30 minutes, including the wait. 

I would have cut the same boards at home at around the same time. Instead, I spent it at the store while scrolling on Facebook. If you don’t enjoy working with plywood or the project is a necessity, then having Home Depot cut the boards for you is a major positive. But if you’re a passion-driven woodworker who enjoys every step of the process and you have a car that can accommodate the boards without sawing, you might want to take the boards home.

In my estimation, getting wood cut from Home Depot is worth it if your vehicle cannot accommodate the quantity you’re buying at its initial size. This was the case for the first two times I requested the Home Depot woodcutters to downsize the boards and sheets for me. 

The third time, I was nearing burnout on a project where the joinery interested me more than downsizing. I had Home Depot cut the boards for me so I could focus my energy on the steps I found the most interesting.

How To Adjust Bed Frame Size
How To Adjust Bed Frame Size

Does Home Depot Cut Wood for You?

Home depot cuts wood for you if you request their cutting corner staff to do so and have bought the material from the store. If you don’t want the staff to cut it, you can buy lumber without downsizing it and cut it at home. 

Home Depot’s own website backs this claim and often advertises it to attract novice woodworkers who find assembly easier than sawing. Since a store cannot lie about its services without opening itself to lawsuits, Home Depot’s claim that it offers free wood-cutting for wood bought at Home Depot is to be believed. 

My local Home Depot has a cutting corner, and if we go by the hardware giant’s own claims, there is a cutting corner at every home depot. If you get wood cut from a professional carpenter and focus on assembly only, it is worth it to get wood from Home Depot and receive the complimentary cutting service. Add to that the fact that the price per pound of wood is not higher at Home Depot than at other stores, getting your material from Home Depot is well worth it.

Will Home Depot Cut Plywood Lengthways?

Home Depot will cut plywood lengthways (and in almost any way) as long as the sheet is thick enough to cut safely, and the requirement is not too skill-intensive for its cutting corner staff to service.

If your project requires plywood strips, getting them cut at Home Depot can take away all the cutting burden. As a result, you don’t have to worry about the material chipping or your blades incurring wear and tear.

Sawing plywood at home can be pretty bad if it is your first time working with the material. While it might look like an extremely thin wood sheet with excessive finishing, plywood is not solid wood, and it doesn’t cut like wood. There is a significant percentage of hardened resin in the board.

The resin can, at minimum, exhaust your blade’s sharpness and make it more blunt. At worst, it can break down into solid particles and become airborne after coming in contact with a power tool. These particles are toxic to breathe. You can avoid this hassle by getting the plywood downsized the way you want while you’re at Home Depot.

The other way to ensure you don’t get the worst end of the DIY plywood cutting deal is to get a respirator before sawing plywood with a power tool like a table saw. The GVS SPR457 Elipse is an excellent mask that any woodworker should have to protect himself from airborne sawdust.

While you can get away with a tube mask or a cloth covering your face when you work with regular wood, when you work with amalgamations like plywood, wood board, and or MDF, the rare instances where you cut these materials up, you really need to have a high-end breath-protecting mask like the GVS Eclipse.

I cannot see any other safe way to handle the plywood cutting requirements of your project than to either get Home Depot to cut it or to cover your face with a P100 mask while cutting the board yourself. Here is a video of Adam Savage telling you how masks like the GVS Eclipse are different from standard respirators:

VIdeo showing the mask you should wear while cutting plywood

The mask makes sure you don’t breathe in particles of plywood dust and is a safety essential.

Will Home Depot Cut Plywood to Size?

Home depot will cut plywood to size and specifications that adhere to minimum safety requirements. If you want the board to be cut in an unconventional shape, the request is up to the discretion of the staff, as they can reject it. 

The plywood cutting tools that are the standard for Home Depot cut across a vertical, and horizontal gride, which means boards will have a rectangular or square shape. Here is a video showing Home Depot wood-cutting.

It seems like Home Depot should be able to cut wood in different shapes because the first impression of a ‘wood-cutting corner’ is that of a table saw and a flat workbench. But Home Depot has fixed tools that are easier to operate for new staff and require little expertise. The drawback of such tools is that they have limited functionality.

Will Home Depot Cut Plywood in a Circle?

Home Depot will not cut plywood in a circle because its cutting tools are fixed along a 90-degree grid. The path of their saw is linear, and the boards can be hung with the length or the width parallel to the ground, allowing the staff to cut boards by reducing the subject’s length or the width. 

Again, this is not better known because the phrase ‘home depot cuts wood for free’ is easier to spread than ‘home depot cutting corner saws move at right angles only.’

What to Take to Home Depot to Measure Wood?

You can take an inch-tape to home depot to measure wood before requesting cuts. Otherwise, the cuts are up to the measuring accuracy of the Home Depot staff, which can be slightly off what you request. It is best to measure and mark for the staff.

Plenty of people have had experiences where the boards were not cut to the exact specs they wanted. But this does not make up the majority of people’s experience with home depot. Their experiences differed mainly in how strict the home depot staff was in implementing its policy.

How to Get More Cuts at the Home Depot Wood Cutting Corner?

To avoid getting the cold shoulder at Home Depot, you should avoid having an inquisitive tone. If you sound unsure when you ask the staff if they can cut plywood for you, you might be told you can’t.

Similarly, if you ask the staff what the price of wood-cutting is, they will definitely stop cutting wood for free at 2 or 3 cuts. The best thing you can say to the staff to get as many cuts is something along the lines of “Hey, can you please cut this to (insert size)? I can’t find boards of that size.”

When you sound like your purchase depends on the wood being cut, the staff will be more accommodating.

Final Thoughts – Will Home Depot Cut Plywood?

Home Depot has a wood-cutting corner that offers free wood-cutting within reason. On a slow day, you might get as many cuts as you want, but if everyone’s busy, the staff will hit the brakes at 2 to 3 cuts per board. This is backed by the Home Depot policy.

Derek

I'm the guy behind Woodwork Hubby! I have been doing woodwork and cabinetmaking for over 30 years so I decided to start this site to help educate others on what I have learned.

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