Wipe Out Chip-Out
Prepare before you cut, and produce smooth, clean edges.
When fibers, splinters, or even sizable chunks of wood break away from your workpiece while you're cutting or shaping it, that's chip-out. Fortunately, you can avoid nearly all of that surface damage by taking a moment to prepare before you cut, rout, or joint a piece of wood.
Follow two basic rules to prevent chip-out: Use sharp cutting tools, and provide solid backing for surfaces that are likely to be damaged. We'll describe here some of the best ways to lend that support, no matter which cutting tool you use.
Start with a "scoring" cut on furniture-grade plywood or solid wood that shows a tendency to chip out. Set the blade just 1/8" above the table, as in Photo A, and run the workpiece through. Then raise the blade and make the final cut.
You'll get cleaner results because in a scoring cut the blade's teeth meet the wood at a shearing angle, rather than pushing down on the bottom surface of the stock. Also, shallow cuts produce better results than deep ones because you're not forcing as much sawdust through the kerf.
When crosscutting with a miter gauge, use an auxiliary wooden fence to back the workpiece in line with the blade, as in Photo B. Most traditional miter gauges include screw holes that you can use to add an auxiliary fence. If you have an extruded-aluminum fence on your miter gauge, use double-stick tape to attach a temporary wooden fence.
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