NEW! Faster Search Option

Using hand tools only, how do you cut several boards to equal length cleanly without splinters or saw marks

pizza's picture

Hi. What techniques and tools would you use to cut several boards to equal length? Would you get close enough with a hand saw, then cleanly trim the ends on a shooting board with a handplane. If so, how can you ensure that these boards end up exactly the same length? Using a plane and shooting board would rely on your carefulness in trimming those ends without going too far.

robscaffe's picture

Saw (post #178818, reply #1 of 6)

A backsaw and shopmade miterbox will accuratly cut to length. Nobex makes a more elaborate one if you want. I am not sure why you would want to clean up saw marks after sawing, at this stage the end grain is usually hidden due to joinery or going into a larger assembly such as a table top which would be cleaned up after glue up.

Where it is necessary to clean end grain, a SHARP low angle block plane works best. For tabletops and similar, you will be removing so little material length won't matter.  Where length (and width) is critical such a a drawer face I cut full then clean and dimension by eye.

61pp3veiF8L._SL1000_.jpg56.02 KB
pizza's picture

hand tool work (post #178818, reply #2 of 6)

Hi. Thanks for the reply.

Your right about saw marks generally aren't seen.

But, just suppose, you needed to cut several boards accurately to length and the ends were to be seen. Would you still cut full (with a what? if you didn't have a Nobex) and clean up (with a plane?) and still be pretty darn accurate in matching all of the boards' lengths? If you're not careful with that plane wouldn't you be in dangder of going too far?

Or,say the piece was the top and bottom rail above and below a drawer opening. And you had to cut the shoulders accurately on each rail to match. I have a Nobex and I suppose I'd set up a stop to get them exact. I haven't use it in a while but it wouldn't leave a fuzziness on that shoulders' edges would it?



robscaffe's picture

I think a good back saw would (post #178818, reply #3 of 6)

I think a good back saw would cut a clean enough shoulder, if not, cut proud of a knife line, clamp a square edge board along the line, and use it as a guide to pare with a chisel.

You are making this too complicated by half with the hypotheticals.  Break out the tools, hone your sharpening skills (no pun intended) and see how it works out, then get back with issues you are having trouble with.

Good Luckj


CStanford's picture

Clamp the boards (post #178818, reply #4 of 6)

Clamp the boards face-to-face.  Knife a line across the edges of all boards at one end.  Make your measurement to the next end.  Knife a line across the edges.  Unclamp the boards, extend the knifed lines all the way around the board.  Saw just to the waste side of both knifed lines on each board with a back saw or a 10 - 12 point panel saw.  Clean up to the knifed lines with a few passes of a hand plane coming in from each edge to prevent blowout.


Ben86's picture

dust removing (post #178818, reply #5 of 6)

And for health issues caused by fine wood dust, you may consider to get a dust collector , it collects the dust while you're sawing automatically when connected to the power tool. You may want to check this review for more info :

Cooljay's picture

A friend of mine prefers (post #178818, reply #6 of 6)

A friend of mine prefers traditional tools, as he doesn't like modern appliances. As for me, I can't agree with him on that. Cutting wood is a form of art and you need to be sure every movement you make will be precise and leave no snags on the material. Measuring is also very important, so I advised my friend to pay attention to that gadget - He's still hesitating whether he needs the stuff, and what do you think about it? I guess this tool might be quite handy, am I right?