How to Cut Wood – A Beginner’s Friendly Guide


Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional carpenter, how to cut wood is an essential step in your project.

While it seems like a simple thing to do, the truth is there are numerous ways to cut wood. You might be unsure about the right way to handle your woodcutting project. 

Therefore, this article will discuss the items you require for this action. Our team also mentions different types of cuts and the proper steps to complete the process. Here is what you need to know about cutting wood!

Table of Contents

How to Cut Wood– Some Other Needed Tools to Cut Besides a Saw?

As you assumed, the first thing you will need is a saw. Therefore, pick the best tool to cut wood the desired way.

We will talk more below, but miter, circular, table, and jigsaws could all do the trick. Your task is to choose the right tool based on material thickness.

Wood isn’t rigid, so standard-quality blades should do the trick. However, carbide blades are more durable and last longer.

You also want to do the cutting on a smooth and even surface.

Make sure the surface is stable, significantly, if you are cutting small pieces of wood. A ruler could also be helpful because it will maximize your accuracy.

Therefore, don’t hesitate to use it to mark the desired cutting points. Finally, you can use a straight edge to maintain a line when cutting.

How to Cut Wood– What Type of Wood Cut Do you Need to Make?

Backsaw working on a white background

Caption: Backsaw working on a white background

Now that we know what tools to cut wood, it’s time to learn different cut types. These will help to ensure optimal results every time you use the tool. So, let’s check out the five basic types of cuts for woodworkers. Once familiar with them, it will be easy to pick the desired type.


People say this is the most frequent way of cutting wood. While crosscutting it, your task is to cut across the board’s width or the wood’s grain.

Therefore, the board will be shorter, or you will adjust how it suits you. It’s easy to cut wood this way, and since most people choose a crosscut, many refer to it when they say “a cut.”

Rip Cuts

You could describe a rip cut as a total opposite of a crosscut. Therefore, you must follow the board length or cut with the wood’s grain. As a result, you should shorten the board’s width.

The idea is to narrow it and adjust the width to your preference. It shouldn’t be challenging to get the desired results and maintain accuracy. 

Miter Cuts

Miter cuts are also among the ways to cut wood. If you have ever used a miter saw, you might be familiar that this tool serves to make angled cuts.

You want to move it diagonally across the board’s width or the wood’s grain. It has the same goal as the crosscut.

Therefore, the result should be shortening the board length and adjusting it to the desired requirements.

Bevel Cuts

If you want to make bevel types of woodcuts, please note this is another angled cut. You make it on the material’s edge. That means you grab the wooden application and cut it to change its shape or profile.

Depending on your requirements, it’s possible to change the board’s width and length. It’s imperative to maintain maximum accuracy to ensure a neatly cut material.

Compound Miter Cuts

Here is a variation of the basic miter cut. It includes the elements of both bevel and miter types.

Therefore, you can use them for projects like crown molding. The idea is to adjust the board’s length and shorten it to the desired requirements.

How to Cut Wood–What Kind of Saw Do You Need to Cut wood?

How to Cut Wood--A carpenter cutting wooden board with a circular saw

Caption: A carpenter cutting wooden board with a circular saw

Miter Saw

Suitable for: Crosscuts, miter, bevel, and compound miter cuts

The first woodcutter tool we talked about is a miter saw.

You can use it for narrow boards, and crosscutting should be a piece of cake. Although 12-inch blades are the most frequent, you can also use sliding miter saws to increase the length when making crosscuts.

The tool might not be 100% accurate, but experienced users will know how to make the most of it. You can also use a miter saw to make miter and bevel cuts, such as for crown molding.

Circular Saw

Suitable for: Crosscuts, miter, bevel, compound miter, and rip cuts

There is no cut type you can’t make with a circular saw. Therefore, these tools are more convenient for wider wooden pieces than the ones used with a miter tool.

You can use a jig or guide to maximize precision when crosscutting. As for rip cuts, this tool will also deliver decent results when cutting along the grain.

Table Saw

Suitable for: Crosscuts, bevel, miter, and rip cuts

A table will secure an even, flat surface when handling the cutting process.

Therefore, these tools are excellent for rip cuts and narrowing the boards. It’s possible to handle crosscuts, but ensure that you are careful during the process because you don’t want any kickbacks.

If the miter gauge isn’t usable for miter cuts, you can use a special sled for your tool.


Suitable for: Compound miter cuts, bevel, miter, and crosscuts

If you need to cut specific shapes or angles, you can’t go wrong with a jigsaw. However, it might be hard to maintain accuracy for cutting a straight line.

That’s why you need some experience when working with this tool. While it’s suitable for various cut types, it might be tricky to use it with big applications.  

Here is an interesting video that compares circular saws and jigsaws.

How to Cut Wood

How to Cut Wood--Cutting a wooden board with a circular saw

Caption: Cutting a wooden board with a circular saw

It seems you have everything ready now – you’ve picked the tools and know the best way to cut wood for the desired results. The only remaining thing is to perform the actual process.

You want to ensure that you take your time when cutting wood. If you rush, you might not get the desired results and increase the risk of injuries.

Here are the steps to take to cut the wood material you picked.

How to Cut Wood–Trim the End of the Board

The initial step is to take a single board’s end and square it. The odds are that the ends are not square, or at least not as square as you might like.

That’s why you want to trim the board to ensure it features a flat and even surface. You can quickly check this by using a ruler.

How to Cut Wood–Measure and Mark the Spot with an” X”

Now, it’s time to check the material’s length. Always begin at the very end and then decide the required length. Once you have the right position, use a pencil to draw an “X” or a dot.

Ensure which part of the board you will keep and which to throw away (or keep for upcoming projects). Therefore, the section you save will have the name of being “the good side.”

How to Cut Wood–Position the Blade

Here is what you do next – grab the blade and the cutting wood tool you use. Make sure you turn off the device and place the blade beyond the spot you marked.

Therefore, the edge should be on the blade’s section that you don’t intend to keep for that project. 

It is a nice trick because you can always shorten the material, but there is no way to extend it. There, it’s enough to leave about the room’s hair, but make sure there’s some space.

How to Cut Wood–Make the Cut

Here is the crucial part of the process – it’s time to use the saw to cut wood! Now, you want to place the blade properly and activate the tool. Keep your hands steady and slowly lower the blade to start cutting.

Maintain the direction by following the line you marked and completing the cut.

How to Cut Wood–Adjust the Cut if Necessary

Once you finish cutting, it’s time to see the results. If it seems like the piece is a bit too long, that’s not a problem. Users can use different methods to adjust the cut.

The best one is to use the same blade. Therefore, grab the wooden workpiece and slide it into the blade (keep the tool deactivated).

You will notice that the blade’s teeth touch the material’s edge. Raise the blade, activate it, and lower it to cut to the desired requirement. Do this twice if necessary because you want to get the desired length.

How to Cut Wood– Precautions When Cutting Wood with a Saw

Wear Protective Gear for Your Eyes or Face

How to Cut Wood--Protective goggles

Caption: Protective goggles

  • Don’t Wear Jewelry or Loose Clothing Items
  • Make Sure to Set the Proper Blade Depth
  • Check the Wood
  • Tighten the Clamps Properly


That rounds up our guide on cutting wood, and we hope you now understand all details. It’s imperative to pick the right tool and establish the desired cut.

Once you have all the details sorted out, it should be easy to perform the cut. Don’t hesitate to contact NC Cutting tools if you need high-quality tools.

We have modern equipment and skillful experts ready to meet any customized requirements for your order. Feel free to get in touch to discuss the details today!

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