An angle grinder can cut through wood, but it is generally not advised to do so due to safety concerns. Using power tools designed to cut wood is preferable, but an angle grinder is not usually included in that list.
You can use an angle grinder to cut just about anything, including metal, concrete, plastic, and more. But that begs the question: should you use it for wood?
Now, the answer isn’t as simple as ‘yes, you should’, as an angle grinder is not the most effective at cutting wood. So, let’s explore how an angle grinder works on wood and why it isn’t exactly the best idea.
The Limits Of An Angle Grinder
As mentioned earlier, an angle grinder can cut through most things, be it plastic or metal, concrete or stone. The handheld power tool packs a punch, providing the user with high RPM and cutting through all materials with relative ease.
But the one quality an angle grinder lacks is precision, as there are no fences or guides included with it. Even if you have the right disc attached to the machine, the angle grinder can only be as accurate as its user’s hand. And since the tool is extremely aggressive and has a kick to it, being precise may as well not be a possibility.
Angle grinders are meant to power through the cutting surface and they are quite good at it. Their speed and versatility makes them a favorite in woodworking workshops, the automobile repair sector, welding shops, and more, so their usability is undeniable. Even so, they can’t be used everywhere.
Can Angle Grinders Cut Wood?
Wood is fairly straightforward to slice through, being one of the easier materials to work with. Naturally, angle grinders can quickly cut wooden materials very quickly because of this. The thing is, woodwork requires precision, and that’s the one thing an angle grinder can’t do well.
That’s not to say that angle grinders don’t see any usage in woodwork shops, as some shops use them for shaping rather than precision cutting purposes.
The combination of high RPM and blades can cause it to get caught in the wood, redirecting the rotational force into the tool’s body. This results in a sudden loss of control, causing the power tool to slip out of your hands and cause a potential angle grinder injury. People unaware of this risk have faced an accidental amputation of their fingers while using an angle grinder on wood.
Worse still, the blade and grinder components can break and fly off, which has a chance of causing more harm than just a severed digit. Safety gear alone may not be enough to stop an injury, which is why caution is advised when using angle grinders for cutting wood.
What Angle Grinder Disc Is The Best For Cutting Wood
Angle grinders are primarily used to shape and carve wood instead of cutting through it. The thickness of an angle grinder blade can range from 0.04 to 0.09 inches, depending on its purpose.
There are two main kinds of angle grinder blades to consider when using the power tool for woodwork: abrasive flap blades and abrasive carving blades.
1. Abrasive Flap Blades
Think of these as a sandpaper disc rotating at high speeds. The metal cutting disc is made of many pieces of sandpaper glued to the disc, forming an appropriately rough surface that’s excellent for sanding wood.
2. Abrasive Carving Blades
This wood carving disc has tiny teeth near the edge of the disc, and it can be used for carving wood for your furniture. You can get creative with this abrasive wood carving disc attached to your grinder and make sculptures out of solid blocks of wood.
3. Three-Tooth Abrasive Cutting Blades
If you must cut through wood, a three-tooth disc will perform the task for you. The blade can run hot due to the high RPM of an angle grinder and may become damaged with prolonged usage. Your finished product may not be as clean as a woodcutting saw, but the result should suffice for woodworking emergencies.
How To Cut Wood With An Angle Grinder
While it is generally not advised to use an angle grinder to cut wood, you may face an occasional circumstance where you have no other options. This may lead you to wonder: how to use an angle grinder?
In such cases, you can follow the following steps while approaching this task, but you may want to limit how often you use the method. Safety is of the utmost importance, and it is not worth sacrificing for a quick cut.
1. Appropriate Safety Gear
When cutting wood with an angle grinder, personal protection equipment (PPE) is a must. This includes sturdy cut-resistant gloves, ear protection, safety glasses, a face shield, a mask, a hard helmet, and an apron to protect your body, eyes, and nose from any serious injury.
PPE becomes all the more important when considering the fact that the guard on an angle grinder merely wards off stray chips of wood. The protection it offers is minimal, which is why you should approach the task with caution.
Lastly, always keep a fire extinguisher within reach in case an unfortunate accident does happen. Wood can catch fire as a result of overheating during the cutting process, so you’ll want to douse the flames as soon as possible.
2. Adjusting The Blade
Ensure that the three-tooth blade you’re using for cutting is installed correctly and is secured in its place. You should consider getting the right size woodcutting blades after asking yourself “what size angle grinder do I need?” And make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging during installation.
3. Making The Cut
When you begin cutting, take note not to apply too much pressure on the grinding wheel. Doing so avoids pushback and any chances of damage to the power tool. Since the machine isn’t meant to cut wood, you may want to take intermittent breaks to avoid overheating.
Keeping your cutting blade at an angle as you cut wood will prevent any knockbacks and reduce blade resistance. An angle grinder works differently from a saw, after all.
Cut through the material without stopping midway, as the cutting disc runs the risk of getting stuck in the wood. And remember to take a break afterward.
Other Tools That Can Be Used For Cutting Wood
We’ve established that using an angle grinder for cutting wood isn’t exactly the safest thing to do. But what are the alternatives to this handheld power tool?
You can get power tools made for the express purpose of cutting through wood with ease. Stationary saws can cut through wood with no issues whatsoever and with the best possible cutting results. These include:
1. Table Saw
A table saw is capable of cutting wood in a straight line smoothly and precisely. Best suited for both small and long boards, projects that demand a consistent and precise cut make the best use out of these saws.
From professional woodworkers to DIY hobbyists, woodworkers of all kinds can reap the benefits of a table saw. While portability may pose an issue, table saws are still one of the best power tools used in any woodworking workshop..
2. Circular Saw
One of the most common saws, a circular saw is a power tool that employs sharp-toothed round metal blades for cutting through all manner of materials. Wood, metal, cinder blocks, plastics- you name it, and circular saw blades can cut through it.
A circular saw is one of the most commonly used power tools for one good reason: versatility. These power tools can be used for a multitude of applications, such as cutting/framing lumber and roofings, all the while satisfying woodworking purposes.
3. Miter Saw
Miter saws are multi-purpose power tools that are designed to make cuts for molding, trim work, and other carpentry work. Their ability to make angled cuts while being relatively more portable than either of the two mentioned above makes them indispensable to the woodworking professional.
You’ll find a miter saw quite beginner-friendly, as it has the appropriate safety faculties to allow newcomers to work without worrying about injury.
Can You Use An Angle Grinder On Wood Conclusion
The safety hazards that accompany using an angle grinder to cut wood make the practice not suited for the task. You may use it for other woodworking purposes, such as carving, shaping, and sanding, and achieve a result that is well worth your time and effort.
For more elaborate purposes that involve cutting wood, you’re better off using a circular saw, a table saw, or a miter saw. Each of these power tools are specifically designed with the task in mind and are much safer than angle grinders.
If need be, a three-toothed cutting blade can be used in an angle grinder to cut through the wood in a limited capacity. While doing so, you may want to ensure your safety and double-check every piece of protective equipment you have. After all, your safety is the most important aspect of any task you perform.