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Wonkee Donkee’s Top Tips for Sawing

Wonkee Donkee’s top tips for sawing

Shop for Saws

Check your material

Poor quality material Before cutting any material you should check it carefully for any nails or screws which may come into contact with and damage the blade of the saw when working

Mark and scribe your material

Mark and scribe your material with a pencil or knife   For accurate results, you should mark out in pencil the lines you want to cut and then run a scribing knife along them.

The saw teeth will sit in the thin indentation made by the knife, which will help to guide the blade when you make your first cut.

Secure your material

Secure your material with a clamp or vice   You may find it helpful to secure the material you want to cut using a clamp or vice.

This will prevent it from moving around while you are working.

Practice makes perfect

Practise cuts If you are not an experienced user, then do a few practice cuts on some scrap material before you begin work properly.

This way you can see what works and what doesn’t without having to worry about ruining your final piece.

The rule of 3

3 teeth in contact with material You should try and ensure that there are at least 3 saw teeth in contact with the material when sawing.

Divide your weight

Divide your weight When sawing, you should concentrate most of the force on holding your workpiece steady, while only applying a small amount of downward pressure to the saw.

Let gravity and the saw do the work for you.

Cut on the waste side

Cut on the waste side If you’re cutting along a marked line, ensure you cut on the waste side of the line (the side that has the waste material that won’t be part of your final workpiece)

Measure twice, cut once

Measuring material For accurate results, you should measure out the area you want to cut twice to double check it is correct.

For very delicate cuts such as dovetail joints, you only get one chance to make the right cut, otherwise the joint will not fit properly.

Hold on to the waste side

Hold on to the waste side of your material Where possible, you should hold on to the waste side of the material you’re cutting.

There are several reasons for this:

Horizontal cutting: material falling onto saw 1. If you are cutting horizontally, the material could fall against the saw blade, causing it to bind.

‘Binding’ is when the material closes against the sides of the saw blade, causing it to become stuck.

For more information, see our section: What is ‘binding’ and how can I prevent it?

Waste material can cause injury 2. If cutting vertically, the waste material could fall onto your foot and cause an injury
Falling waste material 3. If you do not support the waste material, it will fall, dragging the material’s fibres with it and tearing them.

This can take large chunks out of your workpiece and create a rough finish.

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