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What tips have you learned in your woodworking experience that you wish you knew earlier?

Let's learn from each other and share our tips!

To keep this thread going come back each day to share a tip and read the latest posts.
 

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Cut grooves in two passes, flipping the workpiece between passes to center the groove. Such a simple idea, but it greatly improves accuracy on this common milling operation.
 

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Tip 1 for me would have been to learn to ask for "help" along time ago. How to do something without having the best or most correct tools for the process.

So my tip would be for us to just ask when we are not sure. I have seen many LJ's doing this on here and its great!
 

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To set depth on the cut of your table saw or router, use a piece of scrap wood and make a mark on it at the desired height. Then set that piece on the table and raise the blade or bit up to that mark.
 

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Do not use varnish or lacquer or paint over cedar. Use clear, semi transparent or opaque stain.

The oils in cedar will shed varnish and many paint coatings- they will peel right off in time.
 

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I don't care how many tape measure you have in the shop, or even how "good" they may be. When you start a project, use ONE, and only one. Tape measure are usually close to each other…..NOT! Half the time: it is that wee hook out on the end of the tape that gets beat up. Bends a bit, and measurements change with it. Then, if you would change to another tape…...measurements will be different. What MIGHT be a 15-3/4" long piece with one tape, might be off by 1/16" on another tape.

Pick one tape measure for a project, use it through out the project. After that, use it again if you like it, if not..throw it out.

Note: If you also use the markings on that combo square, at least check to see if they match the tape measure you are using.
 

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I've learned to always cut long. I can always cut again if it's too long but it's harder to glue the pieces together if I cut the wood short. I always measure twice, in two different spots, then will connects the dots with a square ( if permissible). I prefer to CYA, it might a little bit too much but I don't have thousands of board feet sitting around so I cherish what I have.
 

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Safety does not take extra time it takes extra focus!

Listen to the voice in the back of your head… unless it says hold my beer & watch this!

Seriously, don't leave any fingers in the shop!
 

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If you're getting frustrated with an operation-be it planing a surface, squaring an edge, cutting a miter-take a break. Better to give up for a while and cool down than continue getting frustrated and make more mistakes.
 

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1) Stop and sure that there is absolutely nothing on your mind but what you are doing at the moment.
2) NEVER interupt someone who is opperating a machine. It can always wait a few seconds.
3) ALWAYS shout "NOISE" before starting a machine. That way you don't startle others and cause accidents. ALWAYS respond to the NOISE announcement by repeating "NOISE" in a loud voice.
 

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once you see blood, its to late.

a board cut to short, will require re-engineering.

if you're the type that likes to daydream, read this over.
 
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