If you are trying to experiment or brush up your carpentry skills, knowing how to measure, mark, and cut wood is absolutely essential. 

Woodworking is a great hobby and can help you earn some extra money. However, to get it done right, it is necessary to learn how to take precise measurements and make the right cuts. Especially if you are looking to complete a DIY job around your home. Plus, you’d need the right kind of tools for the job. 

But rest assured- you would not need to make hefty investments to start with the process, as most of the tools that you would require are pretty affordable. All you need to do is learn to use them correctly. And we have designed this guide to help you do just that. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

How To Measure Wood?

As they say about wood, measure twice and cut once. And irrespective of whether you use a ruler or tape, it is of the utmost importance that you take the measurements correctly. Once you are sure about the measurements, only then move on to marking the areas.

But before we proceed to that step, let’s take a quick look at the two most effective ways that you can implement to measure wood. 

Measuring Plank Of Wood With Measuring Tape

1. Putting A Measuring Tape To Use

Measuring tapes are one of the most simple tools to use and hardly require any space for storage. You can try both the metal and soft cloth tapes, as they are pretty effective at what they are supposed to do. 

However, most seasoned woodworkers use a 12-inch retractable metal tape, so you can also start with it. It is generally preferred over the other options because it is small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. And because the tape comes with a stiff end, it ensures that you can measure the surface conveniently without it bunching up. 

Not only that but it’s also designed to be used by a person without any help, as the tape gets hooked to the surface. Hence, it can be suitable for both small and large projects. 

But we would advise that for more precise measurements, it is best that you opt for a ruler instead. 

2. Using A Ruler

Rulers are available in many sizes and range between 5 inches and 3 feet in length. We would recommend that instead of buying a single piece, you should buy a set, as you will have different rulers to be used for different purposes. Besides, they don’t burn a hole in your pocket.

You would be surprised to know that some of the rulers are even foldable, which makes them easy to carry. In fact, this feature makes carrying even a 12 feet long ruler absolutely hassle-free.

Wood Marking

Marking Wood With Mechanical Pencil

Once you are done measuring the wood, the next step in the process is to mark the surface before cutting it. For this purpose, a pencil can be your best friend. But you need to stay super cautious to ensure that the tip is sharpened well. 

If you are working on a high-end project that requires utmost precision, you can even consider using a razor blade for marking. This will make the wood grains a little loose, thereby making sure that it does not splinter when you make the cut. Rest assured that when you use this method, you will get nothing but the sharpest cuts. 

That said, woodworkers mostly use pencils for their projects. In case you plan on doing the same, there are a few things to take into consideration. There is no doubt that you will make the cuts based on the markings. But it is essential to decide whether you are going to cut along the line, inside the line, or outside it. 

We suggest that you always cut outside the line for the best results, as it leaves room to rectify any mistake. This is because if you end up cutting more wood, there is no going back. Similarly, cutting along the line might be a little risky, as the thickness of the saw might take off some extra wood. 

And unless you are an extremely seasoned woodworker, take cutting inside the line off your list. 

Cutting Wood The Right Way

Using a hand saw for cutting wood is not very difficult if you know the right way to do it. So, let’s take a look at how to get it done. 

1. Get A Grip

The most critical part of using a hand saw is to know how to hold it in the right way. Make sure that you have a steady grip by extending your middle finger over one side of the blade. Doing this will help you have better control as you glide the blade over the wooden surface. 

But make sure that you do not implement the same method when you are using specific blades like the coping saw, scroll saw, or Japanese saw. 

When it comes to the first two types of saws, you need to grip the top frame with your hand. And for Japanese saws, there’s no need for added support, as they are pretty stiff and stable in themselves. 

2. Always Cut In A Single Direction

Woodworkers swear by the rule of always cutting in one direction. Make sure that you do not hurry while you are at it and make slow and steady strokes on the wood. To be more comfortable, always use your free hand for extra support and stability. 

Be patient and make slow movements to ensure that you do not put extra pressure on the wood to make it splinter. Once the saw has sunk into the wood, make steady to and fro moves with the blade along the marked line. 

3. Securing Is Essential

Imagine your wooden piece flying off the surface while you are trying to cut it. Not a pleasant thought, right? Well, to prevent that from actually happening, make sure that the wood is secured correctly. 

And for that, it is essential that you get some high-quality clamps from the market. Without them, the wood piece would not stay in place and would keep moving as you tried cutting it along the marked line. 

This will not only jeopardise your entire project but will also increase the chances of you getting hurt. 

4. Putting The Right Pressure

Woodworking is not just about techniques but also requires some skills. If you are new to it, it will take you a while before you get the hang of the job. But one of the essential skills to acquire is to know how to apply the right amount of pressure.

And in order to do it right, always place your shoulder behind the saw and put even pressure in a rhythmic motion. This will ensure that there is no extra pressure on a particular spot and the force is distributed evenly. 

When this happens, the cut is more precise, and there are minimal chances of you getting hurt in the process. 

5. Cutting The Wood Correctly

As stated earlier, you would want to make the cuts on the external side of the markings. In this case, even if you end up chopping a little extra by mistake, there will be no problem. Hence, there will be fewer chances of messing up the project because of tiny errors. 

Also, when you are cutting, make sure that the wooden piece is adequately supported in the middle. If that is not the case and the plan is tilted to one side, then chances are that it will break long before you are done cutting it. 

Cutting Wood With Hand Saw

Learning How To Measure, Mark & Cut Wood

With that, we will now wrap up this guide.

Whether you do woodworking professionally or you’re a DIYer looking to extend your timber deck, proper knowledge is essential to get the job done right. And for that, you need skills, expertise and definitely the right tools. 

It is true that it might take you a while before you get a good grasp. But if you remain patient and keep practising, we can guarantee that it is going to be a fun ride. In case you have any other suggestions that we have missed out on, we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below. 

Until next time, fare thee well!

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