Say you're building a deck in your yard and have to cut a 10-in. thick post in half. How do you do this with a circular saw with just an 8-in. blade? Make matching straight cuts on opposite sides of the timber. Set the thickness guide to just over half the woods width.
When cutting up small pieces for a project, an easier way to doublecheck for accuracy is to measure a number of the pieces at once. If you have four pieces which should be exactly 8 in. long, lay them end to end and measure. This multiplies small errors hard to detect on only one piece. For example, if the four pieces measure 32-1/8 in. instead of 32, then you know that each of the pieces is 1/32 in. too long.
Cross cuts are cuts the go against the woodgrain. Once you've properly measured and marked your piece of wood, guide the side of the handsaw blade with the knuckle of your thumb. Start the cut by pulling your hand saw up two or three times, then push the saw blade forward at about a 45 degree angle. It is preferable to begin your cuts on the side of the wood that will show less when the project is complete.
When you need to duplicate multiple measurements on a larger project, it can be helpful to use a length of 1x2 or similar stock as a story pole. Cut or select a piece that is longer than the longest cut required. Carefully mark the height, width, depth and length of various parts onto the 1x2. The story pole will speed up marking for cuts, and matching parts will be cut the same.
You can buy several types of guides that attach to your router so you can create decorative circular grooves on the surfaces of wood projects, or you can make up your own. Besides making grooves of various designs by switching router bits, these jigs can also be used to make circular cut-outs. Instead of cutting only partly into the surface, continue with shallow passes until the cut is all the way through the wood.
Apply wax to straight edges and skill saw bases for nice smooth cuts.
Making perfect dovetail joints can involve some shop practice, so consider starting out with a less-expensive jig that is designed for making only one or two types of joint styles. Then you can later work your way on up to the more expensive and versatile jigs that will let you make up to four or more styles of dovetails. With any dovetail jig, try to avoid using a router that is very light; heavier routers will produce crisper and cleaner cuts.
When sawing wood, take time to consider which side of the material to having facing up. Keep the good side up when you are using hand saws, scroll saws, bandsaws, tablesaws and radial-arm saws. Keep the good side down when using a portable circular saws or sabersaws. The principle is to have the tooth of the blade first break through the rough side of the board or panel.
Don't start a saw motor with the blade touching the workpiece. Let the motor reach full speed before it begins the cut.
One of the more dreaded occurrences for any woodworker is when a tool collides with a metal object in recycled wood. Before you start to cut, plane, or sand, be sure to thoroughly inspect the wood for metal objects such as nails or screws, especially if you are using power tools