Plywood Swirls via Jigsaw Make Surprising Tables and…

We stumbled on this lovely side table at the ever-illuminating Aqqindex. “Paint and parchment side table” was the only info. We instantly envisioned plywood, one of our favorite materials for its possibility and accessibility. You could make a table like this with three rectangles and two flat sides cut with whimsical swirls.

We KNOW it would take some practice to use a jigsaw to make such elegant curves.  And probably a good solid template. It’s certainly possible to do; after all, that is how gingerbread on Victorian houses is done.

Photograph by Jason Penney

Photograph by Jason Penney

So we looked up “how to cut plywood with a jigsaw” and found a trove of info and videos. Our favorite is Pretty Handy Girl’s tutorial, which includes the why’s of her favorite jigsaw and a video that includes essential safety prep.

Then we got imaging all the things we could do with a jigsaw, like cut-out walls into a room...

Mélanie Rodriguez for The Socialite Family

Mélanie Rodriguez for The Socialite Family

walls full of unexpected patterns...

Scott Carter

Scott Carter

…and even crazy, rough holes cut out of sheetrock

rough hole in wall The Back Room by Studio Toogood

Toogood Studio

…or holes as handles in plywood furniture or cabinets...

We want a jigsaw NOW!


Our construction consultant Nina Saltman recommends the inexpensive Black & Decker Variable Speed Jigsaw, since she says “you’ll probably only use it occasionally and it should do the job”. But we’re gonna do our research.

Black and Decker jigsaw



5 Responses to Plywood Swirls via Jigsaw Make Surprising Tables and…

  1. kimithy 08.06.2014 at 3:32pm #

    I’m also an avid plywood lover, but recently seem to be inundated with information (and likely a lot of misinformation) about the dangers of formaldehyde and other chemicals in cut plywood. I can’t seem to find anything legit or conclusive about the actual risks and levels of formaldehyde off-gassing in standard plywood. The “is this bad for us?” question has been floating around in my head of late, as most of our furniture is DIY’d unsealed plywood!

  2. catbirdfarm 08.07.2014 at 2:05pm #

    @kimithy, a few months ago Christine Chang Hanway over on Remodelista did a wonderful post on this after I and other readers asked similar questions.
    See her article here (or if link doesn’t work just google “remodelista plywood formaldehyde”:

  3. catbirdfarm 08.07.2014 at 2:07pm #

    PS. I should have added that the upshot is that formaldehyde is BAD for you and Home Depot makes a formaldehyde-free plywood called PureBond. Their website has a fascinating short video on the making of plywood that I found well worth watching.
    Hope this helps.

  4. kimithy 08.08.2014 at 11:45am #

    @catbirdfarm, Thanks for the ref – that’s the most reasonably written/researched article I’ve seen on this so far! I’ll look into getting a testing kit – we’ve got around 150-200 square feet worth of non-green plywood in our 750 sq’ of apartment right now :/

  5. Sally 08.09.2014 at 10:53am #

    Thanks SO much for this great info. Christine Chang Hanway does great, informative, reliable posts so I’d trust this info.

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