Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to Cut a Board to Length with Angles

How to cut a board to a specific length with an angle.

Joanne asks:

Hey Stan,

I love your projects and I see one I would like to build.  However, some of the pieces require me to do a 15 degree cut.  I don't understand how to do this and get the pieces to come out to the length I need.  I have tried in the past and aside from guessing and getting lucky a couple times, I have always been off.  

Don't worry Joanne.  I can assure you that you're not the only one who has issues with this.  Allow me to explain...

Cutting a board to length.  Simple

Cutting a board to length with angles on both ends...Easy.

Their are a lot of reasons why you may want to cut a board to a specific length with angles cut on both ends.  However, I hear it all the time.  People avoid doing projects that have angled cuts in them because they are not sure of their ability to be able to do that and be accurate.

Now their are a lot of different ways to be able to go about doing this.

This is just a way that I have found that has given me the most reliable results.  So the first thing I do is try to find a board that is suitable for my project.  Here is where a lot of new people will run into the first sticking point because often times they are using plans that they have gotten off the internet or maybe a magazine somewhere and, they are looking at a cut list.

So they will go from top to bottom on that cut list and cut all their boards to length. 

Then what they will do is take those boards that are already cut to length and try to cut the angles into them.  That forces you into a situation where you have to be extremely accurate in order to get those angles cut into your boards.

Now you have to try and find the exact corner of the board in order to make your cut.  If you are too far one way you get something that looks like this.

Too far the other way and you've just cut your board too short for the project.

So I always leave the board an inch or two longer than what I'm finally going to want.  There is nothing more frustrating then cutting the angles only to realize that you didn't cut the them in the right direction.

So when your first starting out it is helpful to place the board at roughly the same direction and angle that it will be used in the project.  In my case this is the rough position I need.

Then I'll simulate the adjoining pieces.  In my situation their is going to be a horizontal top piece and a vertical back piece.  So here I want the angle cut this way and on this side I want the angle cut this way.

Now what that does is it gives me a rough visual guide line to assist me from here on out.

I'm ready to make my first cut.

No I'm not measuring anything at this point I just want to make sure I get the angle cut in the right direction.  Now I will flip this on it's end making sure the longest side of the board is up.  From that side I will mark to my final measurement. and extend that mark.

Now if I flip it back on its side, one I can't see my mark.  Two if I pull it down the cut is in the wrong direction.  So if I just flip the board over.

Now I can see my mark and the cut is in the right direction.

I never get cute and fancy with this second cut and try to hit it dead on first try.  I always sneak up on it.  Once I'm satisfied with where the cut is going to go I will set a stop block and finish it up.  That's because If I need more than one board with the same angles at the same length, I can just keep flipping the board over to make each subsequent cut.

With the stop block in place I know all my boards are going to be right in terms of length.  And that is it.  Thats all I do to make simple and easy angled cuts.

 Hey thanks for watching, subsribe if you havn't.  Don't forget to check me out on Facebook and Pinterest.  If you like this video, here's a couple more you'll like as well.

Until then.

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