WT 392- Measure Once, Cut 6 Times

On today’s weekend show we talking about measuring and relative dimensioning.

Andy wrote in with this to say:

A friend who is new to woodworking called me to ask for help because he was frustrated so I went over to his house to help him. While we were going through the steps of his project there were several instances where I did multiple cuts on a piece of scrap wood or on the end of a board that I knew would be cut off for the final fit to “sneak up” on a tight fit. It was a eureka moment for him and I realized that a lot of his information comes from watching sped up youtube videos and he just assumed those builders just used the old adage to “measure twice, cut once”. It made me realize that often for fine woodworking my method of work is to “measure once and cut two or three times”. What are your thoughts?

4 replies on “WT 392- Measure Once, Cut 6 Times”

Hi guys,
Patreon doner here so I’m one of the cool people, as everyone should be! Sitting in my car waiting for the rain to let up so I can bring in a nice piece of oak I just picked up.
I just listened to this podcast on Ninja woodworking about whether you sneak up on a cut and cut to a measurement or cut to fit, which should be the same thing but seems it never is. I never try to cut to the final dimension on my first cut. I always sneak up on it with 2 or 3 cuts and, depending on how anal I am feeling, maybe a 4th usually followed by having to grab a new piece of wood. As far as how I measure, it depends on where I am in a project. I think there is always a point where you have to transition from cutting to dimensions taken from a plan to cutting to a mark taken from what you already have built. Rather than this being amateurish, I have heard pros say that,whenever they can, they always take a cutting mark off the existing work rather than rely on a measurement.

This was one of those moments where it all made sense. I have always cut to a measurement and all too often I am frustrated on the fit. I always wondered what the trick was to getting such accurate measurements. Now I know the truth, this will revolutionize my woodworking. Thanks guys.

I think one of the reasons newbies cut to final dimension is because they are often working off plans which gives you the final dimensions. It’s only with experience that we realise that the world just doesn’t work that way so we adjust and so over measure once, then cut (sand, plane, whatever) to fit.

For the better part of 30 years I followed plans and measured parts, then would get frustrated when the pieces were too small. I was always “too busy” to get any resources from the local library to actually learn, and the few I had never mentioned relative dimensioning. Now, watching videos from those who actually teach, rather than just show, it if finally sinking into my head. Many thanks to the Wood Talk Trio, you are awesome. Keep making great content.

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