How straight do cuts have to be?

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Forum topic by Tefkar posted 382 days ago 638 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tefkar's profile


6 posts in 453 days

382 days ago

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


1910 posts in 472 days

#1 posted 382 days ago

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

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View MrRon's profile


2726 posts in 1847 days

#2 posted 382 days ago

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

View Loren's profile


7265 posts in 2251 days

#3 posted 382 days ago

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


112001 posts in 2180 days

#4 posted 382 days ago

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 453 days

#5 posted 382 days ago

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


1723 posts in 1232 days

#6 posted 381 days ago

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


1001 posts in 889 days

#7 posted 381 days ago

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.

View runswithscissors's profile


897 posts in 628 days

#8 posted 381 days ago

My cat hates that saying.

View dpwalker's profile


265 posts in 1434 days

#9 posted 381 days ago

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


746 posts in 971 days

#10 posted 381 days ago

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


View reedwood's profile


858 posts in 1279 days

#11 posted 381 days ago

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.

-- mark

View Don W's profile

Don W

14661 posts in 1171 days

#12 posted 381 days ago

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

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View huff's profile


2788 posts in 1888 days

#13 posted 381 days ago


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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