Very basic woodworking question


How do you cut a true straight edge?

does everyone here use a tablesaw?



NVM misread your question.

Yeah mitre saws are the way to go.


If you are cutting with a handsaw, you will never get a TRUE straight edge.

You either need a miter saw or a table saw. There are some other tools that will do it for you but those are the common ones. Cutting with anything else with leads to noticeable imperfections in the box.

Take you wood to home depo or Lowes, tell them how long you want it and I believe they will cut it for you (when you buy the wood). They did it for a friend of mine once who couldn’t get into my garage


i have a compound mitre saw and the cuts are pretty crappy, when I check the cut with an engineers square its somewhat off - maybe I need a finer blade


Sounds like the miter box is bad? Some people have this same problem and they consider it an inherent issue with miter saws.

imo, a miter should be used for cutting angels. If you want a perfectly square cut then I always stick with a table saw.


If you don’t have a table saw, anything with a guide will be sufficient. Handsaws = fail if you looking for a straight edge.


Cutting angels makes Jesus cry.


I agree that a table saw is the way to go, however I came up with a little trick (that I’m sure 1,000s of other people have already thought of).

  1. Use a circular saw. Take a piece of metal or a very straight piece of wood and use it as a guide. Clamp the metal (or wood) to a scrap piece of material and then make a cut with your circular saw.

  2. Measure the distance from your guide to where the cut was made. On my circular saw (Dewalt) it’s exactly 1.5"

  3. On the piece you actually want to cut straight, measure back the distance from your circular saw’s guide from where you actually want to cut. Clamp your piece of metal (or wood) down and then carefully cut making sure your circular saw’s guide is always pressed firmly up against the guide.

Hope that helps a little.



Most Home Depots etc won’t do precision cuts. You may get lucky and get someone with nothing better to do at the time, but I wouldn’t rely on them.


I perfect all my cuts on a bench sander. I love that thing.


Bench sanders can make all sorts of problems go away.


Does this look like a decent option?


It sound like all you need to do is adjust you miter saw. (perform adjustment with the saw unplugged) you dont need a new blade unless its warped.

  1. Lower the bade so that it is all the way down and most saw will have a mechanical lock to keep it in that position.
  2. put one side of your engineering square up against the fence and slide the square until the other side contact the saw blade.
  3. adjust the angle of the blade until there is no gap between the saw blade and the square.

That just the basic too hard to get into detail.

The straight edge method work well also.


The blade I have in there is quite coarse with large teeth - I havent had the blade out to count the teeth - but I will check it out tomorrow - thanks for the tip


Saw blade teeth will not make the cut straighter but it will affect the smoothness of the edge of the material that you are cutting. It also important to select the correct teeth count to what you are cutting. There is more to it than that but I use a 80 to 96 teeth count to get a smooth finish on the edge plus am able to cut hardwood, laminate, or plastic without changing the blade out.
I think you just need to align your miter saw blade to the miter saw fence to get yourself a nice straight edge.


I haven’t tried it yet but it seems many people use this method and it’s a good alternative if you’re cheap and have a portable saw already or if you don’t have the space to put a table saw. There are a lot more tutorials out there if you search on goole for sawboard but I didn’t understand until I saw these pictures.


To make perfectly smooth ends I use a router to take off any extra or lock the wood in and use a table belt sander.


i like to use a table saw or circular saw then i finish the edge with a sander.


the only power tool i have is a small wood trimmer,

so on small pieces of wood i use my hand saw to slightly more then desired length

then i clamp a piece of guide/jig near the edge and use my router to trim according to the jig.

So far it is 99% accurate (unless i clamp wrongly)


If you want a straight cut with a standard circular saw, clamp a straight edge (rule, spirit lvl) to your job and you should be able to run the edge of the saw along the straight edge.

If for some reason you are using a piece of wood with no straight edge, this method is great for getting one!