Crosscutting & Tuning Tools

Careful crosscutting can greatly improve the quality of wood that makes it to your finished cabinets. It all comes down to planning and cutting out defects and poor grain as you work and as part sizes allow. Watch the video up next to learn how to crosscut for quality and up your game accordingly.

VIDEO: Crosscutting For Quality

Although a jointer isn’t essential for building these cabinets, it does help boost the precision of results. Trouble is, jointers are like violins. They can demand a lot of fussing to get them working sweetly.  But when they’re in tune, they work wonders. Watch the video up next for a simple method for accurately installing sharp knives in many different jointers.

VIDEO: Tuning Up Your Jointer

Do you have a thickness planer? This tool isn’t essential for building these cabinets but it’s nice to have. At least if it’s working properly. Watch the video up next to learn all the tricks for keeping your thickness planer working perfectly. This is actually less of a challenge than keeping a jointer running well, but there are still key things you need to deal with. Watch the video up next to see how it’s done.

VIDEO: Tuning Up Your Thickness Planer

To recap, you’ll need to crosscut wood a couple of inches longer than needed for your face frame pieces from whatever width of 3/4” stock you’re using. In the next phase you’ll joint one edge at 90º to a face, then rip cut to final width on a tablesaw that’s tuned and cutting perfectly square to the table.

Safer Tablesaw Crosscutting

If you don’t have a chopsaw, it may be tempting to use your tablesaw with a miter gauge and rip fence as a stop block for repetitive cutting of face frame parts. Don’t do it without a safety trick. The danger of kickback is huge. Instead, clamp a scrap wood block to the fence to act as a stop block surface. Position this block so your workpiece clears the edge of it before the wood encounters the blade. The resulting space between the end of your workpiece and the fence will prevent binding with the blade and a kickback. The photo here shows a safe setup.

At the end of this lesson you’ll have:

  • understanding of how to tune your jointer and thickness planer to run sweetly
  • enough stock rough cut for all the face frame stiles and rails you’ll need