If you're using a handsaw and find that a board you have just cut is 1/16 in. or 1/8 in. too long, here's a way to re-cut the board without making a mess of things. Find another board the same width and clamp it over the top of the board you want to trim. Then mark the cut line on the top board and make the cut. The kerf of the top board will keep the saw in line for a perfect cut below it.
As a practical matter, workshops can be set up just about anywhere space is available. But if you set up in a basement, consider adding a sawdust collection system. While new tools are designed to control sawdust as much as possible, central collection systems are effective and economical to install.
Try to avoid what pro carpenters call a "growing pattern syndrome." This can occur when you are cutting a number of studs or other pieces to length, then always use the most recently cut piece to mark the next piece. The catch is that after two or three generations of cuts, the length can begin to grow longer. If, for example, each stud is off by 1/16 in., after you cut four studs, you will be off 1/4 in. For accuracy, it is better to use one master pattern and use it for every cut.
Don’t throw away that sawdust. Keep some in a coffee can to throw on workshop spills. It’s also great for throwing on icy sidewalks in the winter.
When you cut longer pieces, miter saws are best used with supports on both sides. One way is to cut in a drop-down section into a bench for the saw. Another is to build up raised supports on both sides of the saw on top of the bench. An upright along the back of the supports will let you use a stop block for repetitive cuts.
When sawing wood, take time to consider which side of the material will be facing up. Keep the good side up when you are using a hand saw, scroll saw, band saw or radial-arm saw. Keep the good side down when you are suing a portable circular saw, table saw or sabre saw. The principle is to have the tooth of the blade first break through the rough side of the board or panel.
If you have ever tried to cut or trim veneered pieces like a door, you know splintering can be a problem. A solution is to use a utility knife with a new blade and a straightedge to mark the cut line deeply on both sides. Some carpenters also use masking tape before making the knife cuts to stabilize the edge and protect wood from the saw making the final cut. Most important is to have a sharp fine-toothed blade in the saw.
When measuring, the old adage "measure twice and cut once" can be excellent advice. Pros, however, have their own variation; they usually only measure once, but then will read the measurement twice. They will mark the cut line, then cut the wood just so the saw kerf is touching the line.
Before you glue up wood for a project, examine the parts. If at all possible, start out with cleanly cut, perfectly straight boards of the proper thickness. Take out any bow or warp before you begin your gluing work. By using straight and true stock, you won't have to force the boards in one direction or another, and you won't have to get into tricky, complicated clamping set-ups.
Here's a fast and easy way to reduce the amount of splintering that occurs when cutting wood with a hand saw. Apply a strip of masking tape along the cutting line on the backside of the piece. You'll notice a significant improvement. Another way is to use a utility knife to score the cut. This will give you an accurate measurement and make the cut smoother.