Quick Tip: How to Cut a Straight Line
Cutting a straight line across a piece of board or timber is not an easy task, and the longer the cut the more difficult it becomes, but there is an easy way to cut a perfectly straight line.
Even experienced DIY enthusiasts and professionals battle to cut a perfectly straight line along timber and boards, so you can imagine how a beginner DIY enthusiast might battle. It's like drawing a straight line with a pencil - without a ruler. But cutting a straight line doesn't have to be a difficult task, and there are plenty of ways to cut a straight line without any fancy tools and accessories.
Make a straightedge or cutting fence
For large sheets or boards, you can make a straightedge or cutting fence using a scrap piece of board. If you remove this from the edge of a large sheet it will be perfectly straight, allowing you to cut a piece to make your own straightedge for a cutting guide.
You can also use this method to make a cutting guide for smaller projects as well, but my personal solution is to use a long steel rule as a cutting guide.
For large sheets or board you may need to screw the straightedge to the material being cut, but for smaller cuts you can simply use a clamp at the ends to hold the guide firmly in position.
GOOD TO KNOW: Regardless of whether you are screwing a straightedge or clamping it in place, always check with a carpenter's square or corner square before you start cutting.
Another alternative to use instead of a steel rule is a straightedge. A straightedge is used by building contractors to obtain a straight edge profile on finished projects. You may find that a straightedge is a cheaper option than a steel rule, but a steel rule is handy to have in your workshop for DIY projects.
For those DIY enthusiasts that prefer to cut their own timber and board to size, there's always the Kreg Acc-Cut. Priced at just under R2000 it works out more pricey that a steel rule or straight edge, but it provides a quick and very effective way of cutting straight and doesn't require screwing or clamping in place.