One time I saw a saw saw a saw. One ended up dull, the other, less big. The clear lesson here: don’t forget to Microjig: maker of the GRR-RIPPER. Work safer. Work smarter. Last week, I got a message from Sergio who is brand new to woodworking and he told me that he loves my videos but he gets confused when I gloss over the wood cutting parts. He asked if I could show them in more detail and while I can’t really take the time in every video to explain all the cuts that I’m making, I love this suggestion and I thought this would be a great topic for a basics video. So here are the five most common woodworking cuts you need to know how to make. Bear in mind: I’m not a hand tool woodworker so this list is limited to power tools only. The crosscut is easily the most common cut you’ll ever make. In fact ,with dimensional lumber – that’s wood that you buy that comes in various widths, like you get at Home Depot – you can make entire projects with just cross cuts. All saws can make cross cuts. A cross cut is any cut that slices across the grain direction of the wood, so basically, you’re making long boards shorter. The quickest and easiest way is to use a miter saw, sometimes called a chop saw. Just hold your workpiece against the fence, make sure your hand is out of the way, pull the trigger and slowly bring the saw head down, and let it cut through the lumber. Release the trigger and wait for the saw to stop spinning before you raise the head. You can cut any width of board that is smaller than the diameter of the blade. On a table saw you’ll need to use a miter gauge to hold the wood still. Always let the blade get up to full speed before you slowly pass the wood through the blade, making sure you, of course, keep your hands a safe distance away. One advantage to a table saw is that you might be able to cross cut wider boards than you could with your miter saw. For even better cuts, you can make a crosscut sled that’ll give you dead on, square, accurate, cross cuts every time. Also, please take a look at my table saw basics video for even more tips. Especially safety tips you need to observe. You can make cross cuts using a bandsaw but the blade can drift, making it very difficult to get perfectly square cuts without a really good saw and a wide blade. Plus, the length of your cut is limited to the throat width. For this reason, I don’t recommend using a bandsaw for cross cuts. You can also use a jigsaw or a circular saw for cross cutting. And, you can get pretty good results with a square guide. I recommend these only for rough cuts or for larger construction projects where a high degree of precision isn’t really needed. The second most common cut you’ll need to make is a rip cut or cutting along the same direction as the grain. Now, you aren’t limited to the board widths that are sold at home centers or lumber yards. You could build almost any woodworking project. To rip long boards on a table saw, you’ll need a rip fence. Make sure it’s perfectly parallel with the blade. As a reminder, never make any cut on a table saw freehand without using a miter gauge or a rip fence. Also, since the width of your rip cuts are often very narrow and the fence is so close to the blade, never try to push a board through using just your hands. Always use a pair of push sticks or for maximum safety, use a gripper. Probably heard of these a time or two. To make a rip cut, make sure you have plenty of room in front of and behind you to maneuver the board. Keep constant downward pressure on the board and pressure towards the rip fence Avoid pressing against the cutoff side of the board, which will push it into the blade and could potentially bind it or cause kickback. For especially long boards, It’s a good idea to set up an outfeed table to support the cut halves. I have a very old and fairly small bandsaw that will not rip straight. A fence actually makes the cut worse since I can’t compensate for blade drift. However, I see a lot of people making rip cuts on a bandsaw so, I know it can work well. You’ll need a quality, well-tuned, saw and the wider the blade, the better. If you only have a circular saw or a jig saw you are not going to have any fun trying to make a rip cut. It would be very difficult to set up a straight, cutting, edge and to keep the base of the saw on the board so basically well, Get a table saw. One limitation to the dimensional lumber sold at home centers is that it’s all the same thickness: three quarters (3/4) of an inch or 18 millimeters. But there are lots of times when you want thinner wood. A small gift box for instance would just look heavy and clunky with 3/4 inch wood. Sawing boards along their edges to make thinner boards is called resawing Plus it kind of feels like you get twice as much wood for the same price. The best tool for this job is a bandsaw which will allow you to slice very wide boards Again, if you have a really good saw and a wide blade, you can set up a fence and start cutting. I resaw free hand on my bandsaw just following a line. You’ll notice that I have to keep adjusting the angle a little bit to stay on course. After resawing a board you’ll always be left with saw marks and ridges. if you have a planer you can clean these up with a few passes or just sand the cut faces smooth. You can resaw lumber on a tablesaw But you’re limited to the capacity of your saw blade and a tablesaw can really bog down cutting through that much wood at once and it might even pop your breaker. Without proper setup, this could be a really dangerous cut. My recommendation is to resaw only narrowish boards on a table saw also try cutting only half the board’s width and then flip it around and cut through the remainder Install a zero clearance insert plate so that the thin board won’t drop into the saw and set up a feather board to keep the infeed side of the board pressed against the rip fence. Make sure you have complete control over the workpiece using proper push sticks or push blocks But my honest advice is to avoid resawing altogether on a table saw unless you have a really good set-up and really know what you’re doing. A miter cut is any cut at an angle other than 90 degrees. Usually for things with four sides, this means a 45 degree cut. As you might expect, and as its name implies, a miter saw is a great tool for making miter cuts. The saw pivots to various degrees and usually has a positive stop at 45 degrees as it’s the most common miter Hold your workpiece in place and make the cut just like you do with crosscuts. To make bevel cuts, hold the board’s face against the fence. If your miter saw gives you consistently accurate cuts, there’s really no need to use a table saw for cutting miters. Personally, I feel like I can get much better cuts on my table saw but that’s just me To make miters, just adjust your miter gauge to whatever angle you need, hold your workpiece against it, and cut. For super accurate cuts every time, I use a miter sled. This thing is calibrated to make only 45 degree angles but, it makes them perfectly every time. Circular saws and Jig saws have tilting bases that allow you to cut bevels and you can use a speed square to make miters. Again, these are handy for building rough construction projects but for most woodworking, you’ll probably want much greater precision and using a bandsaw to cut a miter would be very difficult and impossible on mine. Finally, making everything with square sides could get very limiting and boring. Knowing how to make curved cut will open up a world of design possibilities. Basically, you have two choices: a bandsaw or a jig saw. Cutting curves is a joy on a bandsaw. Just draw a line and cut out your shape. For tighter curves use a narrower blade. I like to cut just on the outside edge of a line then use a sander to get the cut exactly to the line and smooth out the edge. There are two times when you won’t be able to use a bandsaw. First, if your workpiece is bigger than the throat capacity and the saw prevents you from turning the wood. If you have a specific line to follow, you may not be able to just flip the board over. The second, it’s impossible to cut any curves without having an entry point so you can’t cut a hole. For these cuts, you’ll need a jig saw. A jig saw is one of the most versatile tools in my shop. It can make the same curved cuts as a bandsaw but can also cut out holes. However, it can’t cut wood as thick as a bandsaw can. Plus the edges might not be as square. Take curves slowly to avoid the blade from flexing and causing a beveled edge Jig saws are inexpensive and I think give you more bang for your buck than almost any tool. Hey guys, if you enjoyed this video and found it helpful, please take a moment to support this week’s sponsor, Casper, and have fun watching this: I’m here in Wyatt’s bedroom where I shoot most of my Casper spots and since he’s away at college, I thought it would be fun if we gave him a call and see if he misses sleeping on his Casper mattress. This is gonna be fun. He has no idea
I’m calling. It’s ringing. Hey, Wyatt. I’m just calling to see if you’re getting enough sleep on that horrible dorm-room mattress Well, in a way it is. There’s a crisis in higher education. Think how much better students would perform if every dorm bed on campus was furnished with one of Casper’s obsessively engineered mattresses. Sold at a shockingly fair price No. Well, sort of. Well, yeah. Yeah I’ll bet they’re staring. They’re all waiting for me to tell them that they have a right to try a Casper mattress risk-free for 100 nights. If they don’t like it, Casper will pick it up and give them the full refund plus, they can take $50 off their first mattress purchase by going to: Casper.com/WWMM and using the promo code, WWMM, at check out. Power to the students! Yeah, come on everybody! Rise up! Take a stand against uncomfortable dorm mattresses. Know your rights! So are people starting to walk out in protest? Wyatt? Hey, everybody. I hope you picked up some tips in this video, especially if you’re new to woodworking. Sometimes the terminology and knowing what kind of saw to use can be confusing. Also, don’t go crazy thinking you need to own every type of saw there is. My mere-mortals-woodworking-on-a-budget-recommendation is to buy a table saw and a jig saw. With those two saws, you’ll be able to make almost anything. I’ll include links down in the description for quality, affordable, tools that you can buy at Home Depot. And if you’re new to woodworking, be sure to check out all the other videos in my basics series to get you up and running. Thanks for watching, everybody.