How to Cut Wood With Grain

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To cut wood with the grain or "rip" the wood, you must first identify the direction of the grain. All wood grain, even curvy, wild wood grain runs in one direction. There is always a pattern. Grain lines are always parallel with each other. There can be some deviation, depending on the species of wood, but wood grain will always return to the parallel. Cutting wood with the grain means cutting parallel with the grain patterns. Cutting any board along it's length is cutting with the grain.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • Scan the surface of the wood. If it's plywood, the grain will always run lengthwise on the sheet of plywood.

  • Look for lines in the wood. They may be subtle, but there will be lines. They may be fractions of an inch apart, or several inches apart. At some point on the wood, the lines will form parallel patterns. This is the direction of the grain.

  • Lay the wood on the table saw. The grain lines should be parallel to the fence. Set the fence at your desired measurement.

  • Turn on the saw and push the wood into the saw blade. The saw blade should cut along the grain lines following them if they are straight.

  • Push the wood past the blade. Its OK if you occasionally cut across a grain line: If it curves, it will always curve back.

Tips & Warnings

  • The example here is for a table saw. You can cut with the grain using a skill saw, jig saw or band saw as well. Typically, a hand saw doesn't work well for cutting wood with the grain.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.
  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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