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



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5 replies on “Plywood Swirls via Jigsaw Make Surprising Tables and…

  1. 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. 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.

  3. @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 :/

  4. 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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