As you might already know, an angle grinder is one of the most popular power tools on the entire market. A high-quality angle grinder can be used to cut through everything from metal, to brickwork, and even concrete without much trouble at all.
Although, there are a few pivotal points to ponder before breaking out your dependable angle grinder to maul that would-be piece of lumber.
We did some in-depth research on this questionable topic and came up with a few useful answers on whether angle grinders can cut wood, and if you should or should not partake in this potentially risky activity.
Let’s take a look!
Can I Use a Metal Cutting Disc on Wood?
The short and stupid answer is, yes. But, it's not ideal and most pros would very much advise against using a metal cutting disc to cut wood.
Why is that? Because using an abrasive blade on a grinder to cut a combustible material like wood, could likely result in tragedy.
Apart from that obvious reason, there is also another potential hazard associated with using a grinder to cut wood, and that is kickback.
When you're utilizing a high speed tool like a grinder to make a cut on a piece of metal or even when attempting to cut concrete with a diamond saw blade, there is more resistance due to the density of the material.
This isn't the case with wood. With a small change in position by slightly twisting your wrist when cutting a lightweight material like wood, the grinder could suddenly and radically alter course.
When this does happen, your reaction time will not be fast enough to counteract the almost instantaneous change and you could now have an out-of-control grinder spinning at up to 15,000 RPM.
Plus, (most) grinders usually don't have an electric brake mechanism and are slow to spin to a stop, and I'm assuming you don't want to get in the way of an angry grinder floating through space and time.
So yeah, all-in-all, making use of a grinder with a metal cutting blade to chop wood isn't the greatest of ideas.
What's the Safest Alternative For Cutting Wood Quickly?
Well, this all depends on what tools that you have access to, but you can use either a circular saw, a miter saw, or even upgrade the blade on your existing angle grinder to effectively cut any wood material.
There is a saw blade you can fit to your grinder that utilizes just three-teeth instead of the much greater number of teeth that a crosscut or ripping blade employ.
As long as you match the rotation of the blade with your grinder, you can conclusively slice through wooden material with a three-teeth angle grinder blade with little difficulty. This type of blade is designed to operate at high-speed and due to its beneficial three-teeth construction, and you have reduced risk of potential kickback.
As we mentioned, this type of saw blade is relatively new to the market and could be considered a specialty blade, so finding it at your local hardware store could be a bit of a challenge.
Your best bet in locating one of these unique saw blades would be to either scour the internet in-between frequent visits to PornHub or unenthusiastically venture out your front door to hunt down this mysterious blade.
Or then again, you could just grab one from Amazon -
- Multifunction 4 ½ Inch angle grinder disc that is ideal for cutting, carving, sculpting, and shaping wood material.
- Will not overheat even after continuous work and can be used at high rotation speed rates up to 13200 RPM.
- Perfect for all your cutting, smoothing, grinding, and carving needs for 4 ½ Inch and 5 Inch angle grinders.
- Can be used on wood, laminated flooring, parquet (hardwood), aerated concrete, plasterboard, and plastic.
The Risks of Cutting Wood With an Angle Grinder
Unfortunately, accidents do happen in the workplace, and even when the right precautions have been implemented. But, did you know that more accidents occur in the homes of DIYers than on job sites in the United States.
This is because construction and manufacturing sites are controlled environments with independent employees who oversee any and all safety related concerns.
Fact is, in the 20 plus years I've worked in the construction industry, I've never seen anyone cut wood with an angle grinder. Why is that? Because the risk isn't worth the reward, and you want to go home (or to the pub) at the end or the day, not the emergency room.
If such a catastrophe does occur attempting to cut wood with an angle grinder, you could be in for a world of pain.
Anyway, why risk it? There are two much better cost-effective power tools that are literally made for cutting wood that don't pose the same risks.
If you have a decent amount of lumber to cut and you're a DIY enthusiast that always has one job or another on-the-go, get yourself a miter saw or even a circular saw.
Best Budget Power Tools for Cutting Wood
Here are two of the top options I'd advise investing in that are both high-quality and budget-friendly.
Honestly, there's not much of a price difference between the two different power tools, but they are vastly dissimilar in regards to what you can accomplish with them.
Either way, both are a huge step up in terms of capability and performance when compared to cutting wood with an angle grinder.
- Top-notch budget-friendly 12-inch compound miter saw that can handle a heavy workload.
- Equipped with a powerful 15-Amp motor that generates an impressive 4000 RPM for a budget saw.
- Bevels left at up to 48° & right at up to 3° with positive stops at 0°, 45°, and 33.9° for increased accuracy.
- Includes a carbide blade, dust bag, blade wrench, vertical clamp, and comfortable side handles.
- Corded performance from a cordless circular saw that cuts any wood material with absolute ease.
- Equipped with a high-quality brushless motor that delivers 5200 RPM while maintaining speed under load.
- Equipped with a 7-1/4 inch blade that provides 2-9/16 inch depth of cut capacity for ripping larger boards.
- Bevels up to 57° for greater versatility allowing you to tackle difficult tasks effectively & precisely.
Now, if you're only looking to cut small woodcuts (like the edges of trim), or carve sections of wood, an angle grinder obviously has it place. But again, just make sure you use either a three-tooth wood cutting disc or a wood carving disc.
Lastly, the one material I'd avoid cutting with an angle grinder is plywood, and that is with or without a 3-tooth cutting disc. You're better off using a table saw or circular saw when attempting to cut plywood, especially if you're ripping boards of plywood.
Is Cutting Wood With an Angle Grinder Effective?
There are certain evident safety concerns related to cutting wood with an angle grinder. But, if you take the necessary precautions, use the correct three-tooth cutting disc, and you're only cutting a few edges here-and-there, using an angle grinder a viable option.
That said, do everyday woodworkers really recommend using angle grinder on a regular basis? Yep, they sure do. An angle grinder for woodworking is like that side piece you regular use for fun, but never mention to anyone.
Angle grinders are perfect for tasks such as carving, sanding, and shaping. With a wood carving disc equipped to your angle grinder, you can decisively sculpt wooden materials like a master craftsmen.
But using an angle grinder for productively cutting wooden materials on a regular basis? Hmm, I'd say, a grinder is not the best choice of power tool for effectively cutting wood. You'd be much better served utilizing a table saw, circular saw or miter saw.
Again, for cutting small sections of wood using a three-tooth cutting disc, yeah sure, have at it tiger. But for anything beyond that, I'd recommend using a dedicated power tool that has been specifically designed and engineered for such purposes.
Either way, just remember to always use the appropriate PPE gear like; safety goggles, ear protection, and cut resistant gloves, which are really the bare minimum when wielding a grinder.
Honestly, all power tools should be handled with care. But when it comes to grinders, there are over five thousand serious injuries reported each year in the united states, so considerable caution should be taken when conducting work with a grinder.
Lastly, if I could offer one piece of advice whenever using an angle grinder to cut any material, that would be to never remove the guard unless the power supply is isolated.
Operating a grinder without a guard when cutting any material could result with you leaving the hospital with a face full of stitches or a mangled hand.
As you can see the discussion on whether angle grinders should be used to cut wood or not is not that straightforward. The reason is that this tool may be too powerful for most wood materials and thus can increase your chances of injury due to possible kickback.
That said, you do have options regarding alternatives when wanting to cut wood with a grinder as you can simply switch the disc to a three-tooth disc for small jobs.
While we think that there are certain benefits to using an angle grinder for carving, shaping and sanding, you need to be fully focused and understand the limits of the grinder in comparison to other tools.
If you have access to either a circular saw, table saw or even a miter saw, you'd be better off going in that direction when attempting to make precise miter cuts or when endeavoring to rip boards of wood.