How to Cut Fine Wood Without Splintering

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The expression goes, “It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.” However, without the right tools most construction projects are doomed before they begin. Making precise cuts in fine wood for building cabinets, furniture and installing molding requires tools matched specifically to the task; a saw blade aptly suited to quickly ripping through wall studs will splinter a delicate, and expensive, piece of fine wood upon contact.

Things You'll Need

  • Saw
  • Fine toothed saw blade
  • Masking tape
  • Match the saw to the cut. Select a table, radial or circular saw for cutting strait lines; scroll, jig or band saws are best suited for making curved or scrolled cuts.

  • Match the blade to the cut. Select a crosscut blade when cutting across wood grain or a rip blade when sawing with the grain. Combination blades are available, but don’t produce a truly quality cut in either direction.

  • Select a tooth count. As the tooth count on a blade increases, the size of the teeth decrease, causing the wood less damage. For example, a 60-tooth blade will cut more much aggressively than an 80-tooth blade, but the 60-tooth blade will cause more splintering. However, there is a tradeoff. Smaller teeth cause the blade to cut more slowly, increasing the amount of effort needed to execute the cut.

  • Tape the wood. Run a piece of making tape over the wood before drawing the cut-line and then cut through the masking tape. Taping holds the surfaces of the wood together, helping to prevent splintering.

  • Cut slowly. Excessive course corrections will increase splintering. Move the saw through the wood in a controlled and steady motion, so as not to veer off the cut line.

References

  • The Complete Book of Woodworking; Tom Carpenter
  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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