WT226 – Cut the Cut List

Today’s show is sponsored by Brusso Hardware. New customers get 10% OFF any order at Brusso.com using code WT2015.

On today’s show, we’re talking about an emergency safety alert for your shop, how long should that table stretcher be, and SketchUp cut lists

What’s on the Bench?

  • Marc loves epoxy and especially the squishy pump noises
  • Matt broke a sweat gluing up his chest of drawers
  • Shannon’s case assembly went so well he is worried his next project will fail miserably

What’s New?


  • Eric shared his thoughts on “tool or class” from episode 223
  • Mike and Dave both shared thoughts on using wide boards in reference to episode 224


  • Shawn has a question about shrinking rubber in the cold messing with his machines
  • John wants to know what to do with his Purpleheart


  • Ryan is looking for ideas for a safety alarm or notification system for his stand alone shop
  • Young wants to know how long to make the trestle on a table seating 3 people to a side
  • Brian wants to know what we think of the cutlist plugin for SketchUp

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9 replies on “WT226 – Cut the Cut List”

On the cut list talk, I thought cut list was just “part – length – material” type stuff. But it seems the topic was more about laying out from where the parts are cut.

For me, I do the design in Sketchup and then export the cut list that tells me the finished size of each of the parts. It is still up to me to decide where to cut that part from and how big to rough it out.

I know there are paid products that do the layout for you, and I think those would be good for a plywood based project but I don’t see myself every buying one.


Hi Gentlemen,

Just a thought on the cut list discussion. I do make use of a cut list…though I rename it “shopping list.” Given that I never know what I’m going to end up with for lumber, I simply use it as a guide to how much I need and to give me a general idea of how to lay out individual pieces on boards. A machine shop or a manufacturer would actually refer to this as a “Bill of Materials” and that’s essentially how I use it.

I do have one question. As a newer woodworker, one area I struggle with is patience and slowing down to make sure I’m doing things right. Do you have any advice or tips on how to force that? At risk of bodily injury, I’ve built a pretty good set of hand tools specifically with this in mind…it’s very easy to very quickly get it wrong on machines. Hand tools tend to help me slow down…a lot. Any other advice?

Keep up the great work!
Mike Thompson

On the subject of Tim’s piece on Ellen’s design challenge: I happened to catch a YouTube interview with Sam Maloof and he talks about designing this table that he felt was something that had never been done before and by chance he happened upon a very similar table. A table had been built many years prior to his… while the design was original to him it was not “original”. I can’t say that is the case with Tim’s piece but I also cannot say with certainty that it was not the case.

Ok, so let me get this straight “DON’T USE PURPLEHEART FOR ANYTHING!” Does that pretty much sum up your answer to my question? I already took that advise before I even heard the podcast…I needed the mallet ready for my local guild meeting’s “March Mallet Madness” contest and I just needed to get moving on it. I ended up using a nice piece of alder for the head and used an arbutus (you guys call it madrone) cut-off for the handle. I am even giving the idea for the vise chops being purpleheart a second thought…

Thanks for the advise gentlemen.


Commercially it is used a lot for exterior framing and marine construction. It has also found homes as flooring and architectural elements like slats and beams in garden structures. The biggest thing we run into though is the marine construction aspect.

Hey guys,
So you were looking for some feedback on cut lists. I once tried making a project from a magazine using a cut list and it was a nightmare. 1/8″or 1/16″ here and there make a huge difference in the long run.I now use them for rough cuts and got from there. Like Marc said I am constantly changing my cut list as I go. Sometimes it is for the visual affect and sometimes it is for human error. If the shoulder on one tenon is accidentally cut on the wrong side of the line then everything changes. It is rare for a project to meet the original specs for your average woodworker. Here is a recent personal experience….I was making a Quaker style buffet table. As I was using a router to round the leg edges I hit a wankey piece of grain at the end and had total blow out. Buffet table is now 1″ shorter than originally planned. Totally usable but a big game changer since the legs were done first.

Keep it up wood wise men.

I am in charge of 2 theatrical shops at a big University. We use all sorts of materials; metal, wood, foams, fabrics, etc. I teach my students to do the cut lists of the things they engineer so that they can get more practice doing the math, have time to think about the item they just engineered and finally so that they take a full ownership of the project. After the draftings and cut lists are done, each piece is handed off to our beginning students to build. If the above engineering student has done their work, they should be able to guide the beginning student through the project, sometimes that holds true, sometimes not. We are always shooting for 1/16″ accuracy, but having students who have never been held accountable for using a tape measure can give mixed results for sure! So, the cut lists are our foundation to make sure we get in the ballpark of where we are heading, and typically the first place we start when diagnosing a problem at the install.

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