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Monday, July 6, 2009

Carpentry Basics- Make Accurate Cuts

One of the basics of any type of construction work is to make accurate measurements. Many people can get by with "close enough" but sometimes, the cut needs to be perfect in order to fit.

To get accurate measurements, you have pay attention and think a little more as you measure and cut.

First, measure the length to be cut exactly. For instance, I was cutting several pieces today that needed to be 51 inches long. They all needed to be the same in order to fit snugly. So, I marked the lumber at 51 inches... -WAIT!

This is the important part- How do you mark it??

To get accurate cuts you have to watch where you put the mark. Is it right on 51"? Is it just above/below? This is very important.

I've developed the habit of always marking just above the measurement. This way, you will cut "on the mark" leaving no pencil line on the finished piece. So, for a 51" cut, my pencil mark is to the right of the 51" line.

When I make the cut on the miter saw, I line up the left edge of the blade with the left edge of my pencil mark, assuming I measured from my left. This way, the remaining piece is exactly 51".

Once you start paying attention to this it will become habit. You'll probably be surprised at how your cuts will get better and you won't have to "re-do" as often.


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