Straight Wood

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.
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Reduce Splintering

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.
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Blade Check

If your wood gluing work is less than successful, check your blades. If the blade in your saw is getting dull, it can loosen (but not remove) a layer of fibers on the edges to be joined. Later, glue may not be able to penetrate through this debris to solid wood, resulting in weak joints. A signal that this may be the problem is if ruptured joints are coated with fibers.
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Rip Cuts

Rip cuts are cuts that go with the woodgrain. After a proper measurement and marking have been made, carefully use your thumb to guide your saw with two or three short upward strokes. Once the cut is started hold the saw at a 60 degree angle to the wood and make smooth, full downstrokes. If you're making a long cut, use a wedge to spread the wood apart. This will help prevent any binding.
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Blade Height

Before turning on your table saw, make sure that the height of the saw blade is no more than 1/2-in. and no less than 1/8-in. above the surface of the workpiece. When setting the height of your table saw, you want to balance the need for safety with effectiveness. The goal is to leave as little exposed blade as possible while still being able to cleanly saw through the wood. When too much of the blade is exposed above the workpiece, friction is increased and the chance of chipping is greater. Also, the higher the blade height, the greater the severity of injury.
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Blade Choices

You should choose a handsaw based on the type and size of wood you're cutting, and the direction of the cut - either cross cutting (cutting across the grain) or ripping (cutting with the grain).

Saws with fewer teeth per inch provide a faster, but rougher cut and are generally used for "ripping" wood, cutting in the same direction as the grain. The teeth of these rip saws are filed differently than the teeth of a cross cut blade to take advantage of the type of grain in the wood.

Cross cut saws are used for cutting across the grain and have finer teeth, usually from eight to 15 teeth per inch. When cutting thicker pieces, a saw with more teeth per inch may produce more debris than it can handle and possibly clog the cut and slow the cutting process. This can be avoided by using an old candle or paraffin wax and rubbing the blade to make it cut more smoothly through the wood. Remember to hold the saw straight in the cut so it doesn't stick.
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Sawdust Relief

Sawdust build-up can create heat and friction when you use a hole saw. One solution is to drill a smaller hole inside the area to be cut out that will allow the sawdust to escape. Size the relief hole according to the size of the larger hole. If, for example, you are cutting a 3-in. hole, drill a 1-in. relief hole. Don't drill the hole too close to the center, which you need for the saw's pilot bit.
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Board Division

A rule can be used to quickly divide a board into equal parts. Lay the rule on the board with the start of the scale against one edge. Then angle the opposite end to a number that is easily divided by the number of parts you want. (If you want to divide a board into three equal parts you might use 9 and mark the board at 3 and 6.) Likewise, if you need four equal parts, angle the rule to numbers divisible by four, like 8, 12 or 16.
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Sheathing Cuts

Often carpenters will make quick work of cutting fiberboard sheathing by making their cut marks with a chalkline instead of a carpenter's pencil. Hook the end of the chalkline on one end, hold down the other end, and snap to make the line. The same idea can be used on other sheet material.
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