Measure and mark the wood before cutting
Measure, mark, and then cut. Sounds simple, right? Not exactly. Whether you use a ruler or tape measure, always check (or triple-check!) your measurements. Then make sure you mark your wood correctly so that it becomes easy for wood cut to size. The pencil works well as a marker, as long as its tip is sharp. And when precision is paramount, use a razor blade or square cutter to make your mark. This will give you the maximum tolerance for precise, perfectly straight cuts. Additionally, this slight cut has the added benefit of loosening the wood grain very slightly, which means the wood has less chance of cracking as you cut.
If you are using a pencil to draw your mark, you have three options to consider before cutting wood: You can cut to the inside, along the line, or the outside of the line. In most cases, we recommend cutting out. You can permanently remove more wood but can’t get it back once you start chopping. The saw blade should move along the side of the line. If you cut the pencil line, the thickness of the blade may remove more material than you expected. No matter that what you choose, be sure to trim it consistently. Take the same approach for every cut your project requires, and you’ll be rewarded with accurate cuts.
Essential carpentry pieces that you should know
Now that you’re ready to cut the wood let’s review five main woodcuts and when to use them.
A cross-cut is any cut that cuts (“intersects”) the wood’s grain direction. To make this cut, use the miter saw, or table saw for best results. The table saw that will allow you to cut larger pieces of wood. Avoid using a band saw, as cutting the wood is more severe on the blade, and the bandsaw is more likely to burn the edges of the wood or produce rough cuts.
A rip cut is a cut that they follow the direction of the wood grain. Think of it as “ripping” the wood. With most saws, this type of cut is easy to perform, and many professional woodworkers use a rip fence table saw for consistent, repeatable results. But be careful when holding the wood. Never attempt to push a board through a table saw using only your hands; Use a push stick to guide the piece forward. A good miter saw with a broad blade, and a sharp edge can also be used to cut rips.
When you re-sawn the wood, you cut along the edges of the boards to create thinner panels. This is a perfect way to turn thicker pieces of wood into narrower boards for wrapping or matching books. A precisely tuned metric saw is the best tool for this technique. Once you re-saw your wood, you can run your planks through the wood planer to the ensure flat surfaces.
The miter cut is any cut made at an angle other than the 90 degrees (i.e., not a square cut). Typically, this is a 45-degree cut of wood used to make boxes, picture frames, and other frame structures. Unsurprisingly, the miter saw is the best tool for cutting a miter. An oblique cut is very similar to a bevel cut, except that a bevel cut is used to create rounded or angled edges. To make diagonal cuts, clamp the face of the board against the angled saw fence. To be safe, secure the wall so that the blade is tilted away from it.
The curved cut is any cut that is not intentionally straight. A band saw is ideal for creating curved cuts. Always cut the outside of the marker line because you’ll have to round your edges regardless. For thinner wood, a saw can provide better results.
What do I need to cut MDF wall panels?
All that is needed MDF sheets cut to size is a table saw or a replacement laser cutter. Depending on your method, it will be faster and easier than an electric jigsaw or more complicated. Let’s look at both options below:
1. Using a table saw
Cutting with a table saw can take a long time if you don’t have one. I advise checking reviews for portable plate cutters before wasting hours cutting these papers. Unfortunately, they don’t come cheap!
The downside to using a table saw like the one above is that it only cuts boards to length, and they still have to be cut into smaller sizes.
This is where most people think you’ll need an industrial machine with blades capable of cutting just about anything. However, if you only want to cut MDF sheets to size, a table saw specifically designed for cutting wood/panel (as opposed to construction lumber) should suffice. They also vary in price depending on which brand you buy.
2. Replacement laser cutting machine
Laser cutters are handy tools for cutting MDF to size. However, knowing the difference between a laser cutter and operating your computer with Adobe Illustrator is essential.
If you search online for “how to cut MDF with a laser cutter,” you will most likely end up with a program like Corel Draw (or similar), which is different than using an actual laser cutter.
Rest assured that if someone tells you they can cut boards to size, they are telling the truth! A proper laser cutter should be much faster than any other method (except maybe a water jet). It also doesn’t matter how many panels you want to cut to size.
Best way to cut MDF to size
The best way to cut MDF boards is to use a table saw. This is because it is much easier to make accurate and frequent cuts. Using a table saw also reduces effort and leaves you less dirt to clean up after because the MDF boards will already be on the correct cutting surface!
MDF vs. solid wood
MDF is much cheaper than solid wood but is also much weaker and lacks the same level of detail.
Unless you’re on a tight budget, there’s no need to use MDF over solid wood! MDF is lightweight, which means very little when cutting MDF to size because it won’t hold up. The saw will do all the work instead!