Tips & Tricks: Layout/Cutting

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 12-12-2011 05:59 PM 1546 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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18615 posts in 4094 days

12-12-2011 05:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tips tricks

What are your “tips and tricks” (and challenges) re: laying out and cutting your wood/plans
-best use of the wood; planning for kerfs; keeping the drill squared…

(also add links to helpful blogs etc that are related to the topic)

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

1 reply so far

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4672 posts in 3176 days

#1 posted 12-12-2011 07:40 PM

My approach is from an engineer’s/designer’s perspective. Whatever the industry is (mine was shipbuilding), it all starts with detailed drawings, either hand drawn or computer generated. I use Autocad for all my drawings. By following this method, you avoid making many mistakes. I make layouts for all the cut pieces so I don’t waste material. I can incorporate saw kerfs into the cut list. The first part can be accomplished in the comfort of your home before cutting any wood. The second part is to layout your cuts from the detailed drawings made. Third, I take sample cuts on scrap wood to make sure the cuts are square. Fourth, I cannot emphasize more, to build jigs, especially for drilling holes that must line up. Fifth, set up all the cuts such as the same setting is maintained before switching to a different setting. Six, Start your layouts and cuts referenced from a straight edge and a square corner. On plywood, any of the four edges can be the starting point. On boards, square off one end before measuring from that end.
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you. As someone mentioned on this forum; “it’s supposed to be fun”. Don’t get discouraged because you make a mistake or lots of mistakes. No matter what industry you look at, many mistakes are made. That’s why they have inspections; to catch the mistakes before they go out the door. I’m very careful in my shop work, but after over 50 years , I still make mistakes, even with the high tech tools at my disposal.

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