Operation Holtzapffel #2: Cutlists

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Damian Penney posted 02-28-2008 07:42 AM 1210 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting started Part 2 of Operation Holtzapffel series Part 3: Lumber Acquired »

One thing I’m awful at is taking a cutlist to the lumberyard and figuring out which boards to buy, I either end up with too little or too much. Yesterday I’d picked up the boards for the base, figuring I’d build that first then swing by and get the stock for the top.

I’d heard some good things about Cutlist Plus so figured I’d use it to see how best to cut the pieces for the base from the stock I’d bought. Turns out if I use the pieces I bought for the base, and then go and get the stock for the top I’ll end up wasting about $200 worth of wood! So looks like I’ll be making my second trip to the lumberyard sooner than I thought… It really does go to show just how important optimizing your cuts is though, and I thoroughly recommend Cutlist Plus.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

5 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3954 days

#1 posted 02-28-2008 08:17 AM

I always use AutoCAD and draw 1 to 1 the pieces of lumber I have to use for a project.

Then draw all the pieces I need. Then I arrange them to get them to fit the best.

This allows me to take into account grain features and defects in my stock.

It helps to buy 10-20% more wood then you need. It will never go to waste, and it beats running
back to get more.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#2 posted 02-28-2008 12:46 PM


I have been using Cutlist about two years now and it does the job like you say. The only difficulty I have with it is remembering to keep the inventory updated since it tracks not only sheet goods and raw lumber but also the cut offs as well. Like you I heartily recommend it.

With regards to the wood I agree with Gary. Buy more than you need. It beats having to run back and forth to the lumberyard and it isn’t going to spoil. This way you have material on hand to start another project.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3946 days

#3 posted 02-28-2008 02:40 PM

We too have been using cut list plus. In fact we’ve been using it since the original version came out.

I was cutting the parts for two very large kitchens, for which my buddy Bruce drew on auto cad, then optimized on this new program he found, Cut List. He spoke to the owner / creator of the program prior to ordering it. It was brand new at the time, so the owner asked him to report back to him with a testimonial.

The program was a huge time saver in laying out the pieces, which is also great help in cutting parts in an organized manner. Between this cut sheet program and the then brand new ezee-feed system, along with the newly purchased Jet sliding table attachment, the cutting procedure moved along very quickly. I could make all the full sheet crosscuts with the Jet table, then set up the ezee-feed unit, and then back to the Jet table to make crosscuts of the actual sizes.

I was blown away by how fast I was able to complete the sheet goods sizing.

Unfortunately, the first version didn’t include a label capability, and I was so into cutting parts with these three items working in unison I lost track of which parts were what! I cut all the pieces and had no idea where anything went.

Bruce, who was working at the job site called me to see how I liked the cut sheets. I told him it’s great except for the fact I had pieces all over the shop, and no idea where they go. It needs label capability.

Bruce called the owner and told him what I said. About two weeks later he sent an updated version of the program with label capability.

I used the revised program again on the same project, this time for the library cabinets and the labels sure made tracking parts simple.

Unfortunately, no one said anything about using REMOVABLE labels, but that’s another story.

(I scare myself sometimes)


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3928 days

#4 posted 02-28-2008 03:13 PM

I know what you mean, Lee. I use CabinetCruncher and NOW carry a white pencil with me when I cut a run of cabinets.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3957 days

#5 posted 03-04-2008 08:12 PM

I can see how in a production shop it could make a world of difference. When I first came across Cutlist Plus I set about writing my own version of it. It’s a really interesting problem that a lot of people have put a lot of though into because it’s applicable across a wide range of industries (anything where you are fitting things into a finite space)

Next time I head to the lumberyard I think I’ll take my laptop along with my tape measure :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics