Welcome back for part two of our carpentry for the novice series. In our last article, we discussed the proper way to measure and mark. While these are two of the most important steps, you haven’t had a chance to do a lot with your wood. For our second part of the series, we will begin with cutting.If you missed the first part of this article, you can read it here.

Steve Allen Construction of Ocala, FL has been in the carpentry business for over 35 years. We know carpentry. We’re glad you’re interested in the world of carpentry; continue reading further to learn more of the basics.


Before you start any cutting, you need to decide between using a handsaw and a circular saw. Handsaws are a little harder to use and are less popular, but they will get the job done.

Carpentry for the Novice

Make sure to keep the saw straight and hold it at a 45 degree angle. Steadily push and pull, letting the saw do most of the work. If you are having a lot of trouble, try sharpening the saw and the job will be much easier. There are two different types of handsaws to choose from.

If you are going to be cutting across the board, use a crosscut saw. For cutting with the grain, a ripsaw would be the best tool for the job. The difference between a crosscut and ripsaw is the amount of teeth. Crosscut saws have lots of little teeth, while ripsaws have fewer and larger teeth.

If you are having trouble cutting a straight line, let’s take a look at some common mistakes.

  • If the line bears left or right, then the fault is with the person cutting.
  • If the top of the cut is on the line but the bottom is slanted, the saw blade is not being held vertically square to the board. You can try holding a square up to the blade while you cut as a guide.
  • If the cuts all have curves, the saw blade itself is bent and you will need to replace it with a new saw.

Circular saws are very powerful tools that can cut through almost any material with the right type of blade. They are also very dangerous. Here are some things to watch out for when using a circular saw.
Carpentry for the Novice

  • Never let the blade get near any part of your body, especially your hands and fingers.
  • Never let it cut its own power cord.
  • Never get the blade pinched in a cut. The saw could get stuck and kick back at you.
  • Never put on a blade with the teeth going the wrong direction. The saw will kick back and not stay within the cut.
  • Always cut with the saw on the supported side of the board not the piece that will tear off.
  • Always unplug it when you walk away or need to adjust the blade.

Join us next week for part three of this article. Get your hammer ready, because we are going to be moving on to all the specifics of nailing. We hope you were able to learn some of the basics to begin your journey into carpentry work.

Steve Allen Construction of Ocala, FL has been servicing the north central Florida area for over 35 years. We are passionate about carpentry and want to help you get started. If you have any questions, please contact us. Want to share your projects? Join us on our social media channels.

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