Router Forums banner

Accuracy - general hints and tips ?

8958 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 ?


See less See more
1 - 3 of 41 Posts
I learned early on that pre-cutting every piece to a plan or drawing, then going on with assembly was (for me) a disaster. Cutting mortises to a measured dimension is fine but trying to measure and cut the tenon and expecting it to fit didn't work for me. But do the mortise then cut the tenon a little big and "sneaking" up on the correct dimension slowly seemed to work. Now when ever I can I use existing elements to ID where and what to cut. Basically I cut what I need to get started then use that (when I can) to mark and cut the rest. Over cutting and trimming to size with a pattern following bit; some folks will call it a cheat but it works in some cases.

When I need to be very accurate with something I can't afford to get wrong, like when I was making my acrylic sump filter insert for my aquarium, I'll make templates, get them right, and rough cut the final piece and trim to size again using a pattern following bit.

For correct angles I rely on accurate alignment, careful setups, and the best technique I can manage.

See less See more
Yeah, but you're you and the rest of us mere mortals have to struggle for a 64th or a 32nd even. :jester:
I'm with you, Don. I saw that very issue when I tried to mill some oak down for my router fence. It was flat, straight, and square the day I milled it. A week later when I checked it, not so much. There was no way I ws going to use it in my fence and simply introduce error in my projects. That's why I went to MDF. I have more trust in engineered products to retain the shape and dimensions I need for jigs and fixtures. Since then I tend to under mill till I'm sure I can assemble after the final milling and hope the structure of the assembly will brace the work against the wood movement to some degree.

1 - 3 of 41 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.