"How Square Is Square?"

Friday, November 2, 2007 | Reader Comments | How-To

Special thanks to John Lucas, an avid cabinetmaking and Festool loyalist, for contributing this month's Festool "Toolie Tip". John says...

I remember when I first started woodworking in the 60's and I was using my father's radial arm saw, I could get the first 3 corners of a frame to fit perfectly, but not the 4th. The final corner just wouldn't come together without excessive clamping. I think every woodworker has gone through this exercise at some time.

It happens with cabinet making as well. But it doesn't need to. Before Festool, I used my very fine table saw with a very good sliding table to make very good cabinet boxes but not without considerable fine tuning of the table saw and the slider.

I no longer have the table saw or the sliding table in my shop. I sold them since they were taking up valuable space. With the Festool Plunge Saw and Guide Rail, I can get perfect cabinet boxes — but not without some fine tuning and establishing some rules. I will share these with you in this Toolie Tip.

Making Square Fitting Cases

1) Do not make all parallel cuts or all square cuts. Look at the panel as two sets of directional cuts: long with the grain; and short across the grain; I always make the long cuts using the parallel cutting method; and I always make the cross grain cuts as perpendicular cuts. Therefore, with each piece (side, back, bottom, etc), I have two parallel and two perpendicular cuts.

2) Visit the woodshopdemos.com website to read and follow the "How Square" and "How Parallel" articles.

Here's the "Final Test". Actually, every case you build will be a test of your "system". I call this the final test because it is easy to do and subject to looking bad if you don't get everything right. It is making a 10 X 10 X 10 box with mitered corners and sides out of white melamine. Using theses techniques you will have a winning box; otherwise...

Thanks for the great tips, John! If you have a great Festool product tip that you would like to share, send us an email.

 

John Lucas

John Lucas
Wood Shop Demos

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