In Projects, Shop Blog, Techniques

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Q & A: One Step at a Time


ARGH! I cut all the parts according to the cutting
list and my face-frame came up short! I worked out the
math and the cutting list was correct. What went wrong?


Rule number one when building complex projects
directly from a set of plans: Don’t cut every part at once!
If you cut and fit as you go, your project is bound to work
out.Also, if there is an error in a plan, you’ll likely spot it
before it’s too late.

The problem with completely trusting a cutting list has
to do with the fact that one small discrepancy affects the
dimensions of subsequent parts. Maybe the fence on your
tablesaw was off by a hair and your shelves were a bit long
or maybe your 1/4-in.-deep dadoes were a little shallow.
These small differences can add up to a carcass that’s too
wide for the face frame dimension that’s specified in the
plan. The solution is to build complex projects as a series
of components and to cut and fit the rest of the project to
what’s already been built. In your case, cutting and dry fitting
the plywood box first, then measuring to see what size
the face frame really needed to be would’ve saved you
time,material and aggravation.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 2001, issue #89.

October 2001, issue #89

Purchase this back issue.


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