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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Sawing Posts

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.
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Measure Together

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.
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Cross Cuts

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.
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Story Poles

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.
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