Time and Money-Saving Tips for Woodworkers

Wood waste is always a problem when cutting stock lumber. Usually after a project or two, amateur and professional woodworkers end up with a pile of cutoffs and rips that are thrown away. But don’t throw it away yet. With these simple ideas, you might save yourself a trip to the lumber yard.
Projects that require long rips are one of the biggest wastes of lumber. Unfortunately, many of these rips are less than desirable pieces and end up in the trash pile. However, a trip to the router table can reclaim just about any ripped piece of waste. It’s easy to create your own custom molding with a Roman ogee bit and a table saw. After running the rip down the router table and shaping an edge profile into the side, cut it off using a table saw. Now you have a nice piece of decorative edge. By combining router bits and stacking materials, you can really get creative and shape complex profiles.


Re-sawing lumber is a great technique for recycling thicker waste material into usable pieces for your next project. This technique is particularly useful when you have a bounty of two-by-fours or thick stock. A table saw won’t cut all the way through thick materials. However, a band saw will. While many band saws come with a guide for ripping, they do not account for blade wobble and grain changes that occur when ripping materials with a band saw. A pivot jig is needed to rip material with a band saw if you want to keep it straight.

A pivot jig is easy to make. Take a piece of cutoff two-by-four, cut one end to a point, and make a notch in the other end. Take the notched end and clamp it to the saw table. Place the pivot jig in front of the band-saw blade at the thickness you plan on ripping the board. Align the sharp edge of the pivot jig with the blade, and feed the lumber into the band saw. Use the pivot on the jig to keep the material straight as you cut — don’t worry too much about keeping it perfectly straight. A quick pass through the planer will clean up any imperfections from the band saw.


A planer is great for recycling damaged materials. You can easily clean up facial imperfections on rough or used materials. Use a few slivers of some scrap wood or toothpicks to fill any nail or screw holes before you run it through the planer. But what about pieces that are too small for the planer? Sandwich the smaller pieces between two long scraps. Use a little wood glue to hold the pieces in place as you run it through the planer. Once the pieces have been cleaned up, just snap off the long scrap and sand off any excess glue.

What about pieces too thin for the planer? Simply attach those extra thin pieces to a thicker board of the same dimensions with a bit of double-sided carpet tape. This will hold the thinnest of pieces in place as you plane.

Whether you are an amateur or professional woodworker, using these easy woodworking tips can save you time and money.

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