How straight do cuts have to be?

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Forum topic by Tefkar posted 07-13-2013 04:39 PM 1021 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1453 days

07-13-2013 04:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: straightedge tolerance straight

I will be cutting plywood for cabinets. I need to cut the bigger pieces using my circ saw and a straight edge. My 48” straight edge has a bow at the center of 0.01” without any stressing. Is that acceptable for cabinet joinery or do I need to find something with tighter tolerances?

13 replies so far

View Buckethead's profile


3191 posts in 1472 days

#1 posted 07-13-2013 04:41 PM

I’m no cabinet maker, but I would think a hundredth of an inch is an acceptable tolerance.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

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4062 posts in 2846 days

#2 posted 07-13-2013 04:44 PM

That’s less than a 64th of an inch; no problem.

View Loren's profile


8574 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 07-13-2013 04:52 PM

If you’re building face frame cabinets, don’t worry about it.

Get Paul Levine’s book or video on cabinetmaking. Best
method I’ve seen for doing accurate work with basic

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


115674 posts in 3180 days

#4 posted 07-13-2013 04:54 PM

Depends on your project, but usually if you rough cut it a little over size and leave one factory edge then you can use a table saw to get a straighter edge .

-- Custom furniture

View Tefkar's profile


6 posts in 1453 days

#5 posted 07-13-2013 06:24 PM

Thanks for the help. I didn’t know if it would be advisable to invest in a straighter saw guide. No point is spending money where it is not needed.

View toolie's profile


2058 posts in 2231 days

#6 posted 07-13-2013 10:55 PM

why not just cut it slightly oversized and rip it to final size on the TS?

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1889 days

#7 posted 07-13-2013 11:00 PM

If his table saw only does 30 inches then he can’t cut a 34 inch high panel. :)
I ran into the same thing. I cut them with a circular saw and guide. They came out fine. You can also just make the sides 30 inches and make separate ladder frames to set them on. Or use adjustable legs. Lots of ways to skin this cat.

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2371 posts in 1628 days

#8 posted 07-14-2013 04:54 AM

My cat hates that saying.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dpwalker's profile


273 posts in 2434 days

#9 posted 07-14-2013 05:42 AM

My dog giggles when I say it.

-- You have not really lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you.

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 1970 days

#10 posted 07-14-2013 11:28 AM

when I say that ..the dog starts chaseing the cat right away!


View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2279 days

#11 posted 07-14-2013 12:15 PM

Zero tolerance is hard enough to achieve as a goal when building cabinets.

Why would anyone want to use a tool that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do?.....cut straight lines.

And yes, it does matter. Mistakes compound everything else.

I don’t know how bad your straight edge is bent. But, you have other alternatives.

1. Can you possibly straighten it?.... kind of doubt it.

2. Stop being so cheap and buy a new straight edge. Your building a cabinet, it’s part of the cost to do it right.

2. use a scrap piece of plywood cut to 6” x 48” for a straight edge.

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Don W

18252 posts in 2170 days

#12 posted 07-14-2013 12:17 PM

these old eye’s can’t even see to those tolerates any more. I think your safe.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2888 days

#13 posted 07-14-2013 12:30 PM


If you find a house that’s within 0.01” of being square, level or plumb than I would be worried about that in a cabinet.

You should always strive to build a square, accurate cabinet, but you can also beat yourself to death trying to make it perfect.

It would probably scare me to death if I went back and checked every cabinet I ever built to see if it was perfect, especially after I screwed it to a wall.

I like Don W’s post!

-- John @

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