Splintering is a common problem experienced by woodworkers of all skill levels. It is most likely to occur when cutting wood, wherever the teeth come out of the wood. The faster the cut, the larger the teeth, the duller the teeth and the more perpendicular the teeth are to the surface, the more splintering you’re going to experience.
These are all factors you’re going to want to take into account whenever you’re doing any woodworking. Here’s some information about using cross-cutting wood techniques for your next project.
Why Does Splintering Occur?
First and foremost, it’s important you have an idea of where the splintering is most likely to occur as you use your saws. With a hand saw, radial arm saw or table saw, the splinters are going to be on the bottom of the wood. With a portable circular saw or a sliding miter box, however, the splinters are going to be on the top of the wood.
Any time you’re working with round saw blades, the angle at which the blade emerges from the wood is also going to be an important consideration. If you have a circular saw on which you’ve set the shoe to its maximum depth, you’ll get more splintering than if you set it so it just barely cuts through the wood. This is because the angle at which the blade emerges will be lower when you’re just barely past the curve of the blade. You can also help yourself by taking the cut slow and making sure you only work with sharp blades.
Preventing the Splinters
One method people commonly use to reduce tear-out is to apply masking tape to the cut and then cut right through that tape. This helps because the tape fibers in the area are giving some extra support to the wood fibers being cut by the blade. Just make sure you’re not using any kind of tape that will leave a glue residue behind, or it could have a negative effect on your finish.
Another common method is to use a sharp knife to score the cut line before you start sawing. This will help you remove some of the fibers that would have splintered before you actually begin the process. You can then saw right up next to the cut without actually hitting the cut or crossing over to the other side.
While there’s still a good chance you will create some splinters using this technique, the degree to which you do will be much less, and the ones you do create will break off at the cut line.
Be Aware of Splintering
These are just a couple methods you can try out at home in your shop to help you reduce the splintering you experience in your woodworking projects. If you’re interested in learning more about some great home sawing techniques you can apply to your next job, we encourage you to contact us today with any questions you have and we’ll be happy to teach you more.
There are plenty of additional helpful woodworking techniques to help you create stronger finished products and avoid damaging your wood in the process!