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Shop-Tested Techniques

Shop-Tested Techniques

Any exceptions-and special tips pertaining to this issue's featured wood species-appear under other headings on this page.


  • For stability in use, always work wood with a maximum moisture content of 8 percent.
  • Feed straight-grained wood into planer knives at a 90 angle. To avoid tearing, feed figured or twisted grain at a slight angle (about 15), and take shallow cuts of about 1/32".
  • For clean cuts, rip with a rip-profile blade having 24-32 teeth. Smooth crosscuts require at least a 40-tooth saw blade.
  • Avoid using twist drills. They tend to wander in the wood and cause breakout. Use brad-point bits and a backing board under the workpiece to reduce wood tearout.
  • Drill pilot holes for screws.
  • Rout with sharp, preferably carbide-tipped, bits and take shallow passes to avoid burning the wood.
  • Carving hardwoods means fairly shallow gouge bevels-15 to 20-and shallow cuts.

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