Improve Accuracy With Cut Matching
I want to explain the theory of ‘cut matching’ to you. This can immediately help you improve your project’s accuracy and squareness in the end.
(I’m going to explain in this article, but also see the diagram below to help illustrate)
Make all identical length cuts at the same time with the same setup at your saw, using the fence, stop blocks, or your sled to make them perfectly matched.
If you’re having to measure and mark your line for each matching cut, you’re not doing it right.
And these cuts are not only for identical pieces, especially when working with plywood. The width of piece A, may match the depth of piece B, so those cuts would be made at the same time.
Here’s my example:
I’m building my mom’s kitchen island, with a cabinet base. There will be 3 cabinets attached side by side.
The 2 outer cabinets are narrow and identical, the middle cabinet is wider.
We’ll call them cabinet A (narrow), cabinet B (wide), and cabinet C (narrow).
- The backs are the same width as the base within each cabinet.
- The sides (all 6) are the same depth, also they’re all the same height,
- Also, the sides depth matches the bases depth, and the sides height matches the backs’ heights.
It may sound confusing, and at this point it just gets harder to put into words, but I’ll try anyway.
Here’s an illustration showing which cuts are made together. I’ve removed cabinet A from the image as that made it too large.
I’ve numbered the cuts not for the order in which they should be made, but to link them from the diagram, to the explanation below it.
When I cut the depth of the sides, I cut all 6 sides at the same time, but then I also cut the depth of the bases, because they match and will use the same rip fence set up.
When I cut the height of the sides, I cut all 6 sides together (one after another, not stacked), as well as the height of the backs.
When I cut the width of the back of cabinet A, I also cut the width of the base, as well as the width of the back and base of cabinet C.
And when I cut the width of the back of cabinet B, I also cut the width of the base of cabinet B.
You want to do this so that all the lengths that are supposed to be the same, end up actually being the same.
You’ll use this method for any project, not just cabinets.
When crosscutting boards, determine which pieces all require that same length, and cut them together using a stop block of some sort to make sure all are identical.
A crosscut sled with a stop block works Amazingly well for this (see below).
I hope that makes sense. Once you get used to thinking like this, planning out your cuts becomes much easier and you’ll find it becomes pretty simple to end up nice and square in the end!