Over the years, carpenters have figured out many tricks of the trade. Here are some you can use in your work.
When using a table saw, mark your cutlines with a utility knife instead of a pencil. This provides a more accurate cut, and by splitting the fibres on the top surface of the wood, you prevent “tearout”, or splintering.
If your crosscut saw sticks in wood, rub a candle on the surface of the saw. This will speed up your sawing.
Sometimes a hammer seems to jump off nails. Rub the hammerhead with sandpaper in a circular motion to give it purchase on the nail.
Got a bunch of business cards you never use? If you’re doing really fine work with, say, 3/4″ finishing nails, you’re bound to hammer your thumb. Use a magnetic tack hammer, or stick the nail through the card, and use the card to hold the nail in place. (Plain old cardboard works, too.)
Use your hatchet as a rip saw. If you’re splitting small pieces of scrap wood for firewood or rough framing jobs, you can do it quickly, safely and accurately with a hatchet. Place the stock so it’s standing on its end grain, and put another piece of similar stock on top. Use this top piece to hold your stock in place, and provide a guide for the hatchet blade.
To avoid splinters when drilling, place your stock on a scrap piece of wood and drill through to the scrap.
When pulling nails with a claw hammer, put a piece of scrap under the hammer head to protect the wood. If you’re removing finishing nails, try and pull them through the wood if possible.