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Steps to prepare lumber for your DIY

Preparing the woodPreparing lumber for a construction project involves some important steps, regardless of whether the lumber is rough or surfaced. Factors like the design size, grain pattern, and warping of the wood should be taken into account.

To avoid warping, allow the boards to acclimate in your shop for one to two weeks and plan to purchase at least twenty percent more lumber than needed.

  • First step involves cutting a small piece from the end of the board and checking for cracks
  • Continue to cut and check until no more cracks are found.
  • Cut the pieces needed from the board, allowing for at least one extra inch of length.
  • Flatten the best face of the board using a jointer and mark it as the reference face.
  • Flatten one edge of the board against the jointer fence and mark it with a “V” for the reference edge.
  • Flatten the opposite face using a planer, leaving 1/32 inch extra thickness for removal of machine marks.
  • Cut the opposite edge to width, leaving 1/16 inch extra for jointing and smoothing.
  • Joint the sawed edge to remove saw marks.
  • Cut the best end square, removing no more than 1/4 inch.
  • Lastly, the best end should be cut square and the opposite end should be cut to final length.

Extra Tips

  • Allow boards to acclimate for one to two weeks before use.
  • Do not use green wood as it is unstable and unpredictable.
  • Carefully examine the board for grain patterns and features before cutting.
  • Plan to buy at least 20% more lumber than needed for the project.
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Cutting Wood: A Guide to Essential Woodworking Tools

Woodworking has been around for centuries, and for good reason. Not only is it a practical skill that allows you to create functional and beautiful items, it’s also meditative and rewarding to work with your hands. One of the most fundamental aspects of woodworking is cutting wood. In this article, we’ll dive into the essential woodworking tools for cutting wood.

Hand Saws

While power tools have made woodworking faster and more efficient, hand saws are still essential for any woodworker. In fact, finely detailed cuts are often best made with a quality hand saw. There are two primary types of hand saws for woodworking:

Rip Saw: This saw is used for cutting wood along the grain. The teeth on a rip saw are designed to remove large amounts of wood quickly.

Crosscut Saw: This saw is used for cutting across the grain. The teeth on a crosscut saw are angled to slice through the wood cleanly.

Table Saw

A table saw is a versatile woodworking tool that can be used for both ripping and crosscutting. It’s the heart of many workshops and is ideal for cutting large pieces of flat stock like plywood. A full-size table saw can be expensive, but a portable version can be more DIY-friendly.

Miter Saw

If you frequently work with narrow stock, a miter saw is a massive time saver. This tool makes fast, accurate, and easily duplicated crosscuts.

Miter Box

If you don’t do enough crosscuts to justify purchasing a miter saw, a miter box is a great alternative. It’s a manually powered miter saw with a plastic or wooden frame and slots that guide a hand saw at predetermined angles. Miter boxes are an inexpensive and relatively quick way to make crosscuts.


A jigsaw is perfect for cutting curves and circles in a wooden surface. Although beginners may shy away from this tool due to rapid vibration (known as “chatter”), it’s a valuable asset in any woodworker’s tool collection.

Coping Saw

A coping saw is a narrow-bladed saw that’s perfect for highly detailed work like coping joints and cutting intricate curves and dovetail joinery.

Band Saw

A band saw is primarily used for cutting curves and is great for splitting stock in half. Because it’s large, the band saw stays still while the woodworker repositions the cutting material. If you’re trimming a 2×6 into two 1x6s, a band saw is far superior to running it through a table saw twice.

Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a smaller version of a band saw and is perfect for detailed work on smaller stock. Its more limited mouth opening allows for highly precise cuts, making it great for fiddly details in thin wood.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is primarily a carpenter’s saw but also has its place in a woodworker’s tool collection. If you only make occasional cuts in plywood, it’s often better to use a circular saw than invest the space and money in a full table saw.

In conclusion, cutting wood is a fundamental aspect of woodworking. While power tools are faster and more efficient, hand saws are still essential for finely detailed cuts. Table saws, miter saws, jigsaws, coping saws, band saws, scroll saws, and circular saws are all great tools for cutting wood and are essential for any woodworker’s tool collection.