Been frustrated by poor-quality cuts using your portable power tools? Following these pointers will ensure wander-free machining and reduced tear-out.

  • Clamp a straightedge to the workpiece as a guide for the tool. You don't need a fancy guide—the factory-cut edge of a piece of MDF or melamine panel works great, as shown.
  • Use sharp, clean blades and bits.
  • Clamp a backer to the workpiece on the appropriate face to avoid chip-out.
  • Use a slow feed rate, but be careful not to go too slowly or you'll burn the wood.