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Posted: 1/21/2013 1:39:19 PM EDT
I just recently started doing wood work. Nothing fancy, since I'm an extreme novice (actually, I'm probably at whatever step is below a novice). The two things I've made were a shoe/boot rack, and a hat/mitten rack. Both items were made as solutions to problems (needing a way to organize everyone's shoes/boots in the entryway closet; a place for my kids to put their winter gloves/mittens when they come in). I enjoy working with wood, and have already set my sights on bigger endeavors. But, before I try my hand at a making a mahogany bedroom set I'd like to craft more basic stuff to better my skills, and I'm hoping to glean some pearls of wisdom from those more skilled in the woodworking trade than I.

The biggest problem I've encountered is I'm struggling to make precision cuts. I've got a miter saw (and just bought some nice new blades) but for some reason when I want to cut lengths of wood the same length I'm always off by anywhere from 2-4 mm. Normally I measure with a tape measure or ruler, use a right angle to draw my line, then cut just to the right of my line (versus on the line). What am I doing wrong? Why am I always off on my cuts by 2-4 mm when trying to cut multiple pieces the same length?

The second issue I'm struggling with is rounding edges evenly. Say you have a square shape length of wood and want one corner rounded. What is the best method/tool to accomplish this? I tried using my sander, but that was a disaster.

Here is my recently completed hat/mitten rack. It stands about 4' tall and fits in the corner in the front entry way in the area between the front door and door to the garage. Made from red oak. I put on four coats of clear polyurethane so the kids' wet mittens/hats won't damage the wood. The netting is heavy duty black nylon mesh. One major design flaw I recognized after construction was completed was making it a triangle design. Trying to get the netting to make a nice pouch in a triangular pattern was a pain in the behind. In hindsight, I would have preferred to have made it a square so I could have cut the netting into squares and it would have fit nicely. Unfortunately, the way the two doors open inward necessitated the rack be a triangle deigns so the doors wouldn't hit it.



If you got a wood working project you completed recently or are working on, I would love to see it!!

Thanks!
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:41:06 PM EDT
[#1]
Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:43:34 PM EDT
[#2]
Are you using a stop block on your miter saw?  Sounds like sawdust is being packed between the wood and the stop causing the cut to be off.  
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:44:47 PM EDT
[#3]
A stop used against the fence will make all your pieces come out the same length.  Our band saws all have stops on them.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:44:53 PM EDT
[#4]
when cutting multiple pieces to the same length set up a stop. some miter saws/stands have them, some don't

if yours doesn't...picture putting your saw next to a wall. set your miter saw at the correct distance from the wall. instead of measuring each time bump the piece into the wall each time.

it is much easier if you don't move the saw every time and rather just set up a stop on your bench, table, whatever....just using that for visual purposes
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:46:20 PM EDT
[#5]





Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:48:56 PM EDT
[#6]


That thing is awesome for production work.  Too bad it's on a shitty DeWalt.  
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:49:22 PM EDT
[#7]
Quoted:
Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice


Quick and easy if you don't have a stop. I do this all the time.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:52:27 PM EDT
[#8]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice


Quick and easy if you don't have a stop. I do this all the time.


Great for framing.  Not so much for furniture.

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:54:31 PM EDT
[#9]
Quoted:
Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice


if he's cutting to the right of the line, he's going to be increasing length by a saw blade width everytime.

i cut same length pieces all at one time, if the saw can handle it.

otherwise, measure each piece seperately.ETA: and cut them the same way everytime IE: right of line, left of line , or in the middle

plan for thickness of the boards when measuring for full length.

i've screwed up many times forgetting to add board thickness
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:54:36 PM EDT
[#10]
Never use crayons to mark your cuts.

Seriously, cut one piece, and then keep using the same piece to measure identical ones. Called a "story stick". If you do lots of work, you'll have a whole collection of story sticks.

As to rounding stuff off, depends. I use a shaper or router table, or a hand held router. Sometimes it's freehand, but you have to have a bit of practice. Templates often help.

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:56:41 PM EDT
[#11]
you want to make cuts the near exact same length make up a jig with an adjustable stop block on your miter saw.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:00:33 PM EDT
[#12]
Accurate cuts as mentioned above clean table, stops, and/or practice.

For breaking the edge get one of these:


Google search "slickplane" several places sell them for less than $20.00.
Alternative is a router & round over bit.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:06:31 PM EDT
[#13]
Tag for the morning when I get on my computer and can post some pics. Feel free to peruse my website in my sig line while you're waiting.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:12:01 PM EDT
[#14]
Agree that you need to start using a stop system with your chop saw.
Either keep the stop clear of sawdust and/or make a bevel cut across the bottom of the stop block.
This bevel will allow sawdust to escape without affecting the accuracy of your cuts.

For a quick and dirty sanding block, I make them up using belt sander belts and a piece of 1x the proper width.
Makes a nice, two-sided sanding block. The tighter you can make it, the better.
You can also use a router if the job dictates it.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:20:51 PM EDT
[#15]
LOL

Dont forget the saw kerf

Depending on your saw it may be your saw or your blade.... I had a Dewalt blade on my $500 mitersaw when i got it 15 yrs ago and it was warped from the factory.  Drove me INSANE because I just KNEW it was NEW and OK.... TRASH..  A decent 12" blade will be $50 a good one will run around 100 +
If you can move the head of the miter at all you will not get accurate cuts.

DO NOT use two different tape measures.

If your not using a stop block... Start and keep the saw dust out
Cut both ends of the board not just one, cut one end measure your final cut from that cut... Dimensional lumber is never right without squaring it up and Plywood has gotten iffy as hell in the last 10 yrs.

OH and the easy way to round edges is a router and correct bit.
otherwise its experience and whatever tool you like



Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:26:04 PM EDT
[#16]
Quoted:


That thing is awesome for production work.  Too bad it's on a shitty DeWalt.  


it can be used on any chop saw... pretty cool though
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:27:22 PM EDT
[#17]
Quoted:
Quoted:


That thing is awesome for production work.  Too bad it's on a shitty DeWalt.  


it can be used on any chop saw... pretty cool though


I know, I've actually used one.  I just abhor DeWalt saws, and feel the world should hear my opinion at every opportunity.  
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:31:21 PM EDT
[#18]
always cut on the same side of the pencil line.

Or use a stop block, or a stop block on a sled on your table saw
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:25:44 PM EDT
[#19]
Quoted:
Are you using a stop block on your miter saw?  Sounds like sawdust is being packed between the wood and the stop causing the cut to be off.  


No. It came with one, and I think I will start using it.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:28:48 PM EDT
[#20]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice


if he's cutting to the right of the line, he's going to be increasing length by a saw blade width everytime.

i cut same length pieces all at one time, if the saw can handle it.

otherwise, measure each piece seperately.ETA: and cut them the same way everytime IE: right of line, left of line , or in the middle

plan for thickness of the boards when measuring for full length.

i've screwed up many times forgetting to add board thickness


I think that is what I'm doing. Say I need to cut four one-foot lengths. I measure the first, and cut it. Then lay it on top of the next piece of wood and draw a line along the edge. Then I cut just to the right of that line. End result is each segment I cut is a few mm longer than the previous one.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:36:17 PM EDT
[#21]
Watch your saw line, OP. Sounds like your difference is a saw blade width.

Draw the line, and arrange it so that the cut takes off the line from the unneeded side and nothing else. Personally, I do it in such a way that you can just barely see half the line (so I know exactly where the cut was). Take the line off and who's to say you didn't cut it 1/2" short or something, you know.

I'll be back for some more tips. Gotta eat. Real quick, rounded edges, cut as an octagon and.......damnit! Hold on.

Oh, working on a scabbard project. I'll post a walk through when I am done.

ETA: Okay, done with supper. As I was saying, if you want to round edges then rough cut with a saw so that it is made of several different angles vs. a smooth line. Then just sand the corners off and you have a rounded edge. At first, I used to concentrate on the placement of the lines I cut into it. Made it easier to make a symmetrical curve. But after a while you can start eyeballing it.

Or, you can sand it with a bench sander. The trick with sanding is to to super slow. Then you are relatively safe. I tried on a piece that demanded it to be curved a certain way. Kept messing it up. Went through 5-6 pieces. Eventually took it into work (bean counter type for a wood products mfr) and had the guys in the shop do it. The trick? They went SUPER slow. Didn't apply hardly any pressure. Played with the best angle to hold it so they could watch what they were doing. There was no hidden secret or anything. They just took their time and did it right. That was the biggest wood working lesson I have ever had. It continued on too. The one consistent thing I notice when they help me is they go slow and sure. Never rush. They think before they mess with it and are sure of what they are doing.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:39:27 PM EDT
[#22]
I don't have any advice, but I have a website that will keep any woodworker (old engine enthusiasts too)  busy for a couple hours:

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?109593-Charles-W-Morgan-Restoration-A-Volunteer-s-Perspective-1
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:42:53 PM EDT
[#23]
Use a stop and and if the problem is saw dust collecting at the bottom of the stop, configure a stop that is lifted off the saw table top. To round corners use a corner rounding bit in your router.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:51:45 PM EDT
[#24]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice


if he's cutting to the right of the line, he's going to be increasing length by a saw blade width everytime.

i cut same length pieces all at one time, if the saw can handle it.

otherwise, measure each piece seperately.ETA: and cut them the same way everytime IE: right of line, left of line , or in the middle

plan for thickness of the boards when measuring for full length.

i've screwed up many times forgetting to add board thickness


I think that is what I'm doing. Say I need to cut four one-foot lengths. I measure the first, and cut it. Then lay it on top of the next piece of wood and draw a line along the edge. Then I cut just to the right of that line. End result is each segment I cut is a few mm longer than the previous one.


Sounds like you need to sharpen your pencil.  
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:58:49 PM EDT
[#25]
The biggest problem I've encountered is I'm struggling to make precision cuts. I've got a miter saw (and just bought some nice new blades) but for some reason when I want to cut lengths of wood the same length I'm always off by anywhere from 2-4 mm. Normally I measure with a tape measure or ruler, use a right angle to draw my line, then cut just to the right of my line (versus on the line). What am I doing wrong? Why am I always off on my cuts by 2-4 mm when trying to cut multiple pieces the same length?
The second issue I'm struggling with is rounding edges evenly. Say you have a square shape length of wood and want one corner rounded. What is the best method/tool to accomplish this? I tried using my sander, but that was a disaster.


First off, welcome to the world of woodworking.  

Batch cutting (cutting multiple pieces the same length).  I'm going to show you how to do this on my table saw as that's what I have pictures of in my photo bucket account.  The concept for doing this on the miter saw is the same.  

Don't measure the wood, measure the distance from your stop to the blade

Good tape measure and you can get very precise in your measurement

Cut one end of your wood to square that end.  Note my stop is flipped up above the wood so the other end extends past the stop

Now I have one end square so I flip the board around and lower my stop and place the squared end against the stop to cut my piece to length

Repeat for as many pieces you want and they will all be exactly the same length
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:04:29 PM EDT
[#26]
Quoted:
The biggest problem I've encountered is I'm struggling to make precision cuts. I've got a miter saw (and just bought some nice new blades) but for some reason when I want to cut lengths of wood the same length I'm always off by anywhere from 2-4 mm. Normally I measure with a tape measure or ruler, use a right angle to draw my line, then cut just to the right of my line (versus on the line). What am I doing wrong? Why am I always off on my cuts by 2-4 mm when trying to cut multiple pieces the same length?
The second issue I'm struggling with is rounding edges evenly. Say you have a square shape length of wood and want one corner rounded. What is the best method/tool to accomplish this? I tried using my sander, but that was a disaster.


First off, welcome to the world of woodworking.  

Batch cutting (cutting multiple pieces the same length).  I'm going to show you how to do this on my table saw as that's what I have pictures of in my photo bucket account.  The concept for doing this on the miter saw is the same.  

Don't measure the wood, measure the distance from your stop to the blade


That is a great tip!! Thanks.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:05:15 PM EDT
[#27]
For a miter saw, you will need to fabricate something that extends the fence of the saw so you can put stops on it.

Here's mine.  


I'll assume you don't have something with flip up stops.  Just rig something up similiar so you can clamp a piece of wood to it.  Measure the distance you want your piece to be.  Measure from the saw blade to the stop.  Adjust the stop as needed and clamp it in place.  Check your measurement.  

Say your rigged fence and stop is on the left side of the blade.  Take your wood and move it to the right side of the blade and square off the end.  Then slide the wood down so it meets your stop and cut your piece to length.  Repeat for your other pieces of wood and they will all be exactly the same length.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:05:40 PM EDT
[#28]



Quoted:



Quoted:


Quoted:

Use the first cut piece to measure out the next piece, and practice practice practice




if he's cutting to the right of the line, he's going to be increasing length by a saw blade width everytime.



i cut same length pieces all at one time, if the saw can handle it.



otherwise, measure each piece seperately.ETA: and cut them the same way everytime IE: right of line, left of line , or in the middle



plan for thickness of the boards when measuring for full length.



i've screwed up many times forgetting to add board thickness




I think that is what I'm doing. Say I need to cut four one-foot lengths. I measure the first, and cut it. Then lay it on top of the next piece of wood and draw a line along the edge. Then I cut just to the right of that line. End result is each segment I cut is a few mm longer than the previous one.


They will grow from that method. Use a stop block or lay all of the boards next to each other and mark them at the same time in the beginning.



 
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:07:05 PM EDT
[#29]
Consistant edge treatment (round over as you noted above).

Best done with a router.  Handheld will work but if you're really going to dive into the trade, buy or fabricate a dedicated router table.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:09:47 PM EDT
[#30]
For what it's worth, when I'm building something, the only time I mark my wood is when I'm rough cutting my boards to a manageable length.  I never mark my boards to their final dimensions.

ETA, you owe me 10 internets  

Got any more questions or run into any problems, IM me anytime.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:14:14 PM EDT
[#31]
You're measurements are off because you're using metric.




I round over edges on wood with either a little 1/4" collet hand router (one of these actually http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1311158&cagpspn=pla) or a router table with a fence and feather boards.

Or I make it on a 3 axis CNC wood router with aggregate tool changer at work.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:30:48 PM EDT
[#32]
Quoted:
You're measurements are off because you're using metric.




I round over edges on wood with either a little 1/4" collet hand router (one of these actually http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1311158&cagpspn=pla) or a router table with a fence and feather boards.

Or I make it on a 3 axis CNC wood router with aggregate tool changer at work.


20 years in the medical/healthcare?EMS industry has ruined me. All my friends/family hate me because I've been brainwashed to using metric and military time. It's a curse. But seriously, metric is a better system.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:33:56 PM EDT
[#33]
I'm guessing y'all that use a router for a little round over haven't ever done it with a block plane.    Just as fast and no dust and noise.  

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:35:42 PM EDT
[#34]
Quoted:
Quoted:
You're measurements are off because you're using metric.




I round over edges on wood with either a little 1/4" collet hand router (one of these actually http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1311158&cagpspn=pla) or a router table with a fence and feather boards.

Or I make it on a 3 axis CNC wood router with aggregate tool changer at work.


20 years in the medical/healthcare?EMS industry has ruined me. All my friends/family hate me because I've been brainwashed to using metric and military time. It's a curse. But seriously, metric is a better system.


I'm a switch hitter - I use metric when building cabinets and imperial measurements for everything else.  

Metric is better.


Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:36:52 PM EDT
[#35]
Quoted:
For what it's worth, when I'm building something, the only time I mark my wood is when I'm rough cutting my boards to a manageable length.  I never mark my boards to their final dimensions.


He who measures, measures wrong.

Relative dimensioning FTW!


Link Posted: 1/22/2013 3:59:38 AM EDT
[#36]
OP, you might like this thread I had going in the DIY forum

Jigs, fixtures, and shop storage

Good things to practice your skills on before you start cutting your mahogany
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 4:04:07 AM EDT
[#37]
Quoted:
OP, you might like this thread I had going in the DIY forum

Jigs, fixtures, and shop storage

Good things to practice your skills on before you start cutting your mahogany


Nice link.  Archived, though.  
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 4:10:15 AM EDT
[#38]
Quoted:

Nice link.  Archived, though.  


Yeah, I checked to make sure OP was a Team Member first so he could see it.  

Wish more people would have posted there and kept it alive.  

Link Posted: 1/22/2013 4:17:47 AM EDT
[#39]
Quoted:
Quoted:

Nice link.  Archived, though.  


Yeah, I checked to make sure OP was a Team Member first so he could see it.  

Wish more people would have posted there and kept it alive.  



Start a new one!   I'll get some pictures today and add to it.
Link Posted: 1/22/2013 9:53:30 AM EDT
[#40]
If you're just cutting 90 make sure your blade is plumb. Make practice cuts on scraps especially after a blade change or if you've reset the miter or bevel. True up an end then cut to length on the other. Use a stop  block after that. If you can, cut several pieces at the same time (and only if it's safe). Use sharp blades. Use the correct blades. Tightbond2 in blue labeled bottle is the best all around glue, unless it's outdoors then use 3. If you have access to a planer/jointer use it, proper joints last longer, you can use a flush trim bit on a router to joint edges, that can come in handy for long stock.  Back up end grain with a piece of scrap to avoid tear out. Allow lumber to reach room temperature for where it'll be most of the time. If it dont fit, dont force it (do that, and projects practically explode here in Minnesota within a year). I've wrecked a lot of projects using clamps to squeeze that extra 1/16"...  Plan projects out, make a drawing, cut all your parts then assemble. For the round edges on large panels use a sabre saw (jig saw) to get close then clean up with the sander. Use good wood, if you use bad stuff, youll make bad stuff. I'm not an expert, but I've been woodworking for about 15 years and have made a million mistakes....
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