Top Tips for Accurate Measuring & Cutting

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Measure twice, cut once. Itís an age-old phrase that youíve probably heard many times, but for good reason. Itís all-too easy to measure wrong, so itís always a good idea to double check yourselfóespecially since most of us rarely cut the piece too long. Here are a few other tips that will help you measure, mark, and cut your pieces accurately.

Use the same tape measure
Multi-Mark Image Most of us have more than one tape measure lying around, but be careful when you grab a tape to work on projects. Compare any two tape measures, and you may find that the readings vary slightly from one to the other. So, if youíre working on a project where a small difference in measurements can cause a big problem, use just one tape to measure all of your project parts. Even if the markings on the tape arenít totally accurate, your measurements will still be consistent.

Add a Set of Shallow Shelves
Multi-Mark Image Tape measures are great, but they can’t do it all. Many projects will require specialized measuring devices, from squares to levels to compasses and protractors. Invest in a few good measuring and marking tools, and you’ll find measurements are easier to make and more accurate. Some tools, like a framing square or the Kreg Multi-Mark can perform multiple measuring and marking tasks.

Keep pencil marks accurate
Keep pencil marks accurate This one has happened to all of us. You mark where you want to cut, slide a ruler up against it to mark a line, and the line ends up beside the mark instead of on it. To prevent that, hold the tip of your pencil on the mark, and then slide your ruler against the pencil. Now, when you draw your line, it will be exactly where you wanted it.

Mark with the right device
Mark with the right device A regular pencil is usually the go-to tool for marking cut lines, etc., but it may not be the best choice. For dark surfaces, use a light pencil. If you’re worried about leaving a permanent mark, try chalk. On tile or other smooth, hard surfaces, a marker may work best. If you’re worried about leaving marks that can’t be removed, apply tape to the surface, and then make your marks on the tape.
Cut to fit instead of to size
Mark with the right device Much of the time, building a project means cutting pieces to a size specified—either from your measurements or from dimensions specified in a set of plans. Sometimes, though, itís best simply size a piece to fit instead of worrying about if it fits a specified dimension. This is especially true when youíre making things like doors or drawers that need to fit inside another assembly, or when youíre fitting the last piece in a group, like a floorboard or tile.
Measure & mark multiples at the same time
Mark with the right device Any time you need to make more than a few parts that will be the exact same size, itís best to measure and mark them at the same time. Youíll be more likely to remain consistent from part to part. Of course, this is a good time to practice that old adage we mentioned firstómeasure twice, cut onceóto make sure you get all the parts right, instead of all wrong.
Mark with the right device
Mark with the right device Any time you’re cutting using a miter saw or table saw, another great tip for getting project parts all sized exactly the same is to use a stop block. Whether it’s a built-in stop block, like on the Kreg Precision Trak & Stop System, or a homemade one, you can simply butt your parts against the block and cut them without having to measure and mark each one.
Mark with the right device
Use built-in scales While stop blocks are helpful, they wonít necessarily work with all types of tools. Some tools, like the Kreg Rip-Cut™, though, are equipped with built-in measuring scales that can be very handy. Instead of having to measure and mark your project piece and then align the tool with your mark, a built in scale can allow you to skip those steps and simply set the tool to the measurement you need. Then youíre ready to cut your parts accurately.

Universal Bench

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2013 August Home Publishing

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