How to Make Consistent Repetitive Saw Cuts

How to Make Saw Cuts Like a Professional Carpenter

By Mark J. Donovan

Whether you are cutting roof rafters or installing deck balusters, frequently you need to make consistent repetitive saw cuts. There a couple of ways to do it right and one common way to do it wrong.

The common wrong way to make consistent repetitive saw cuts is to use a measuring tape, and individually measure and mark each and every board before cutting. Inevitably you will introduce errors in your measuring and marking which result in inconsistent board length cuts.

One correct way to make consistent repetitive saw cuts is to measure, mark and cut one board, and then label it as your sample piece.

Using the sample piece lay it on or next to the other board you want to cut, make sure the butt ends are flush, and then simply mark the board you want to cut using the sample piece as your reference guide. Repeat this process for as many boards you need to cut, and you will be guaranteed to have consistent board lengths.

Another method for making consistent repetitive saw cuts is to create a fence and stop block assembly. This method is frequently used when cutting deck balusters. To ensure consistent baluster lengths, simply attach a length of 1”x 3”board, approximately 4 feet in length to a miter saw. You can usually attach the board to the miter saw with one or two clamps.

Next, measure from the saw blade cut line on the miter saw, to a distance down the board length that is equal to the desired baluster length, and make a mark on the board.

How to make consistent and repetitive cuts with a circular saw.

Now attach a small block of wood to the board at the point where you made your mark.

With the stop block now in place, you can simply butt up the end of each baluster to the stop block and make your cuts. Again you will be guaranteed to make consistent repetitive saw cuts.

This same fence and stop block assembly approach can also be similarly used on a table saw.

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