How straight do cuts have to be?

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Forum topic by Tefkar posted 283 days ago 584 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 355 days

283 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


770 posts in 374 days

#1 posted 283 days ago

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

-- Hi. My name is bucket head and I'm a recovering framing carpenter.

View MrRon's profile


2407 posts in 1748 days

#2 posted 283 days ago

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

View Loren's profile (online now)


6774 posts in 2153 days

#3 posted 283 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


109523 posts in 2082 days

#4 posted 283 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 355 days

#5 posted 283 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


1684 posts in 1133 days

#6 posted 283 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 791 days

#7 posted 283 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


756 posts in 530 days

#8 posted 283 days ago

My cat hates that saying.

View dpwalker's profile


264 posts in 1336 days

#9 posted 283 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 872 days

#10 posted 283 days ago

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


View reedwood's profile


853 posts in 1181 days

#11 posted 283 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

13954 posts in 1073 days

#12 posted 283 days ago

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

-- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

View huff's profile


2724 posts in 1790 days

#13 posted 283 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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