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Accuracy - general hints and tips ?

8954 Views 40 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  steamingbill

Was wondering how other people approach making accurate cuts.

If I am making some sort of 3d object and I make relatively small errors in my cuts then by the time I have either "gone round a loop or a carcass" or gone around a few 90 degree bends in different orthogonal directions then I find that bits dont quite meet up with other bits and things arent quite square.

I try to be as accurate as possible in my cuts but I can mess something up - it seems to me there are 2 issues

1. How do I organise myself top make measurements and cuts as accurately as possible ?

2. Ways of correcting or even hiding things - for example - I noticed when I was owner builder of my house that I could hide a poorly cut plaster edge with the final architraves and skirting boards - ie the very last thing done is the most visible and needs to be perfect but the stuff underneath has some "slack"

Any good general tips or threads or web sites or hints for measuring and making accurate cuts when doing normal jobs in the shed ?

ie use of story sticks instead of rulers ?

empirical measuring rather than using a tape measure or ruler - ie take the thickness directly off a piece of timber rather than measure thickness (possible error) and then mark up using ruler ( another possible error) ?

use of a marking knife or gauge rather than a pencil ? How many people do this ?

use of jigs to make all relevant pieces the same length, width, holes in the same place etc

I often think to myself things like "cut so that you can still see the edge of the pencil line"

How do the rest of you organise yourselves to be as accurate as possible ?


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I have found that marking knives while accurate are at times difficult to see. I have a drawer full of sharpened pencils with very fine points. I change pencils as needed to keep my lines as fine as possible. I have been testing a Bic mechanical pencil which uses leads that measure 0.7 mm and at this point I am still undecided on it.

I have been using the triangles shown in the following link for layouts and adjusting set ups and they work very well. See them here:

With most routing jobs I use brass set up bars.

For calibrating machines I use the Betterley Unigauge.


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Jerry, please do ask questions if something is not clear. This means I failed. It's nasty cold here today but I will get into the garage soon and take some photos.
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