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Q & A: One Step at a Time


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

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