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Subject: Question for woodworkers rss

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Gianluca Casu
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I'm starting to plan the works for my gaming table and starting to create a 3D model in Sketchup and I suddenly have a doubt:

The doubt is about this tool:



The question is the following: suppose I have a piece of wood (a plank, a stub, no matter) that measures 50 cm and I cut it in the middle, when I reconstitute it, is it still 50cm?

So my question is: is there a wood loss during the cutting process which I should take in account when calculating my cuts lenght?
 
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Steve S
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capricorn_tm wrote:

So my question is: is there a wood loss during the cutting process which I should take in account when calculating my cuts lenght?


Yes, it's called "kerf", which is basically the width of your saw blade. It is not big but it can make a difference if you need your measurements to be precise.
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Gianluca Casu
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Right.

Is this value written on the blade? Or do I just cut a piece of wood and calculate it?
 
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Richard Keiser

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capricorn_tm wrote:
I'm starting to plan the works for my gaming table and starting to create a 3D model in Sketchup and I suddenly have a doubt:

The doubt is about this tool:



The question is the following: suppose I have a piece of wood (a plank, a stub, no matter) that measures 50 cm and I cut it in the middle, when I reconstitute it, is it still 50cm?

So my question is: is there a wood loss during the cutting process which I should take in account when calculating my cuts lenght?


Yup.

Best get familiar with your tool. Grab some scrap wood. Measure. Cut. Measure. Tilt blade at multiple angles.

And above all, be safe (hands clear of cutting area, no pressure towards blade, proper protective eyewear, and many, many more.
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Richard Keiser

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capricorn_tm wrote:
Right.

Is this value written on the blade? Or do I just cut a piece of wood and calculate it?


Know thy tool. Measure. Cut. Measure. Reflect. Understand.
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Safety above all else. Also remember that different blades likely have different cutting width. If you change blades, measure again.

Also: chop saws are awesome.
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Gianluca Casu
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Thanks everyone
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Cardboard Hustle
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ProTip: Get yourself a finish blade for your new saw, especially if you are building a nice table. The blades that typically come with the saw are only good for ripping rough cut lumber.
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Chris Schumann
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Very true. It was odd to see a rip blade on a crosscut saw ... IN A LUMBER YARD. Eeesh.
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Chris Robbins
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You have a do-over if your cut is too long. You can't add back if it's too short.

Besides the obvious above, you'll want to watch closely to bring down the blade on the desired side of any pencil mark. Eye protection and a dust mask should be considered.
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Jimmy Hensel
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Don't forget hearing protection either. Foam ear plugs are inexpensive and very effective if worn correctly. If you prefer ear muffs as I do (for a skin condition in my ear canals), Peltor is a good brand. Most of the muffs at Home Depot or Lowe's are less effective than the Peltor muffs.

Also, using clamps to hold your work while you lower the blade for a cut may be a good idea. Less chance of moving the wood while cutting, and easier to keep your fingers out of the way of the blade.
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Tom McThorn
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To answer your questions:
The blade on most saws will cut around 1/8"(3mm) out of the wood. The stock blade on a saw is good for cutting 2x4 framing and not much else; I'm not sure which brand blades you can get where you're at but the Diablo brand are high quality for a reasonable price. My saw has a laser marker that shows where the blade side is when cutting.

You'll also want hearing protection, they're very loud. LOTS of sawdust too so a filter mask is recommended plus safety glasses.

Also...the spinning metal bit doesn't care if you have wood or your fingers in it's path and will slice right through them. I have several different saws and am extremely careful to keep my fingers attached.

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Brian Herr
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+1 to the safety glasses. A tiny sawdust fragment lodged next to a contact lens is a whole new definition of pain. Made the mistake once, and was fortunate that's all that happened. Never again without wraparound safety glasses.
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K H
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capricorn_tm wrote:
Right.

Is this value written on the blade? Or do I just cut a piece of wood and calculate it?


Some saw blades may be labelled, but most are not. Just cut partway through a scrap and then use a ruler with fine markings to measure the width of the cut. Do not expect this measurement to be an exact fraction or decimal. You can however round this measurement to a convenient figure that you deem to be close enough for your purposes.

It is important to understand that the width of the cut is not the same as the thickness of the metal in any one part of the blade. The teeth will have a "set" to them, meaning that they protrude to one side or the other beyond the bulk of the blade. For coarser teeth, the teeth will simply alternate sides. For finer teeth, a more gradual wavy pattern is often used. The purpose of this is to create a small clearance between the cut material and the bulk of the blade. Without this clearance, there would be a lot more friction, heat, wasted power, and opportunities for the bladeto bind in the workpiece. As a blade wears, it may lose some of the set in its teeth, making the cut narrower and more prone to the problems just mentioned.


bltzlfsk wrote:
You have a do-over if your cut is too long. You can't add back if it's too short.

Besides the obvious above, you'll want to watch closely to bring down the blade on the desired side of any pencil mark. Eye protection and a dust mask should be considered.


It may help to think of every cut not as one but as two simultaneous cuts: the "finish" edge and the "waste" edge of the blade. Mark your intended cut with a thin line and then align your mark with the edge (not center) of the blade. Double-check that the blade is to the waste side of the marking before you cut. That way the piece on the finish side of the marking will be exactly the length that you measured. For best precision, measure each new cut mark only after the previous one has been cut. Small errors estimating the kerf of your saw will compound into larger errors if you try to measure all your cuts in one go.

[edit: added response to bltzlfsk]
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Kelsey Rinella
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Slounger wrote:
capricorn_tm wrote:
Right.

Is this value written on the blade? Or do I just cut a piece of wood and calculate it?


Some saw blades may be labelled, but most are not. Just cut partway through a scrap and then use a ruler with fine markings to measure the width of the cut. Do not expect this measurement to be an exact fraction or decimal. You can however round this measurement to a convenient figure that you deem to be close enough for your purposes.

It is important to understand that the width of the cut is not the same as the thickness of the metal in any one part of the blade. The teeth will have a "set" to them, meaning that they protrude to one side or the other beyond the bulk of the blade. For coarser teeth, the teeth will simply alternate sides. For finer teeth, a more gradual wavy pattern is often used. The purpose of this is to create a small clearance between the cut material and the bulk of the blade. Without this clearance, there would be a lot more friction, heat, wasted power, and opportunities for the bladeto bind in the workpiece. As a blade wears, it may lose some of the set in its teeth, making the cut narrower and more prone to the problems just mentioned.


I had never thought about this, but your explanation made it seem so clear I briefly wondered why it wasn't obvious to me all along. That's the sign of a superb explanation--kudos to you, good sir!
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Gianluca Casu
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Wow surprise never thought of this too!
 
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Slounger wrote:
[q="capricorn_tm"]Right.
For best precision, measure each new cut mark only after the previous one has been cut.


This is the most important thing here.


You can't measure it all ahead of time. Ignore blade width. You measure the wood, mark, cut on the OUTSIDE edge of the mark you measured, check it and cut again if necessary.

Aside from safety that is... I was cutting angled pieces and now my saw has a red/brown stripe inside the plastic shield. I left it there for future reference, in memory of the missing corner of my finger.
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B Mack
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bltzlfsk wrote:
You have a do-over if your cut is too long. You can't add back if it's too short.

Besides the obvious above, you'll want to watch closely to bring down the blade on the desired side of any pencil mark. Eye protection and a dust mask should be considered.


This right here!!! Definitely want to make sure you always cut on the same site of the pencil line each time or you'll drive yourself mad.

If you need to do repeat cuts, see if you can set up a stop block as well. That way you only need to measure for the first cut and then lock your stop block in place (with a clamp for example) and make the same cut on multiple pieces.
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Kevin Jonas

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Phil of Mars wrote:

You can't measure it all ahead of time. Ignore blade width. You measure the wood, mark, cut on the OUTSIDE edge of the mark you measured, check it and cut again if necessary.

It only makes a difference if you are trying to maximize a piece of wood and you are close to using all of it.

As others said, make sure if you error you error on the large size, you can always take away more wood.

Another good thing to test with your miter saw is if it has a laser guide check to see how that laser line is orientated with the cut. Is it on one side of the blade or centered? That will help with lining up your pencil mark with the laser.

Keep a new sharp blade around. Sharp blades make better and smoother cuts. Older blades that can still cut are fine if looks aren't a concern, like a hidden support block. However, there is definitely a point where the blade is too dull, when the cut starts to splinter.
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Jimmy Hensel
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For marking the cut, a sharp scratch awl will give a thinner line than a pencil. This will allow a more precise cut. I read this in a woodworking book by an experienced craftsman. When I tried it I saw that he was right.
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Jan Tuijp
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pawnpusher wrote:
For marking the cut, a sharp scratch awl will give a thinner line than a pencil. This will allow a more precise cut. I read this in a woodworking book by an experienced craftsman. When I tried it I saw that he was right.


...as experienced craftsmen tend to be when talking about their craft and their experiences.

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Starla Lester
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Jan Tuijp wrote:
pawnpusher wrote:
For marking the cut, a sharp scratch awl will give a thinner line than a pencil. This will allow a more precise cut. I read this in a woodworking book by an experienced craftsman. When I tried it I saw that he was right.


...as experienced craftsmen tend to be when talking about their craft and their experiences.



Yes, but a person writing "an experienced craftsman wrote..." PLUS "I tried it and found it to be true" is much better than either of those answers alone.
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Jan Tuijp
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Ryuu wrote:
Yes, but a person writing "an experienced craftsman wrote..." PLUS "I tried it and found it to be true" is much better than either of those answers alone.
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The way you put it left me with the impression that you fully expected it to be bollocks and were actually amazed when it wasn't. laugh

 
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Greg Gresik
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Most of the answers here cover it. The "normal" kerf (i.e. the amount "removed" from the wood) for most saw blades is 1/8". But as mentioned, you can simply cut into a scrap piece and measure to verify. ETA: They also do sell saws like that which cast a laser line onto the piece. Those are usually more expensive though - and not necessarily that accurate (unless you learn to "account" for the laser's specific location).

Measure twice - cut once.

Have fun with it. I built my daughter's bedroom furniture when she was 10. She is now 19 - and the furniture is still in good condition. We've bought other furniture...and thrown it out because it broke, got damaged, etc. since then. There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you built something that is not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but that will last. Enjoy!
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Starla Lester
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Jan Tuijp wrote:
Ryuu wrote:
Yes, but a person writing "an experienced craftsman wrote..." PLUS "I tried it and found it to be true" is much better than either of those answers alone.
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The way you put it left me with the impression that you fully expected it to be bollocks and were actually amazed when it wasn't. laugh



I really only meant that verification adds to credibility.

On the other hand, no less than nine experts insisted that the two-tone finish below wasn't possible without bleed. I'm a novice, but I didn't believe them.




Edited to add: It looks fuzzy here, but if you click on the picture you can see that the line is sharp.
 
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