Check and Double-Check
It’s an old saying, but every woodworker will tell you the same…measure twice, cut once. We’ve all cut more than one board too short because we didn’t heed this good advice. In the end, trying to save a few seconds can, and eventually will, cost a lot of time.
How much time? If you buy finished lumber, it may require a trip to the store for an replacement. At a minimum, deduct one hour of time actually being able to work on the project, not to mention the expense of the added material.
If you work with rough lumber, it’s usually back to your stack of boards, then to the planer, followed by the jointer, then to the table saw…again. Cutting that one board too short can cost anywhere from one to 15 minutes. Sure, you’ll be able to use the mis-cut board somewhere down the line, but its a frustrating thing to be pulled out of a productive rhythm because of a preventable mental lapse.
I’ve adopted a very simplistic “double-check” approach to measuring and cutting. Give it a try in your shop and see if it won’t save you time, money…and aggravation:
- Check the plans for the length.
- Measure and mark the length on your board.
- Completely close your tape measure and mumble a few random numbers to mentally erase the measurement from your mind.
- Measure your board length to the cut line mark you made.
- Compare the length back to the plans.
- If they match, you’re good to cut…ONCE!