Number One Woodworkers Pro Tip
We’ve all been there before right? An expensive piece of hardwood lumber cut a just a little too short. You’ve chopped a mortise on the wrong side of the board. An awful gap in a mitered frame or molding and trim. You’ve built a cabinet and the drawers don’t close properly. Well, you guessed it. The number one woodworkers pro tip of all time is “Measure twice, cut once”!
Measure Twice, Cut Once
“Measure twice and cut once” is an old proverb, (carpentry, literally). One should double-check one’s measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; otherwise it may be necessary to cut again, wasting time and material.
“While the expression is measure twice, cut once is an English proverb, the Russian proverb is measure seven times, cut once. But in the book “A Collection of Gaelic Proverbs and Familiar Phrases Based On MacIntosh’s Collection” first published in Edinburgh in 1785, it states that the idiom is based on the older Gaelic expression: Better measure short of seven, than spoil all at once. For those who familiar with kilts, a kilt for a grown man takes seven yards and so it’s easy to see why it would be important to measure the yardage twice lest an unfortunate situation arise.” Elyse Bruce.
Obviously, it’s very frustrating when you cut the boards in your project wrong or if a router or planer tears out the grain on a board you have no replacement for. But it’s that simple act of getting that measurement twice, or even three times, and getting it right that can save you money and hours of aggravation.
Carpenters, builders and woodworkers have all learned the hard way to avoid making mistakes, thereby ruining valuable and costly materials.
Cut the board wrong, and the piece may very well become unusable. So, that old proverb about “measuring twice and cutting once” plays in a loop in their heads every time they get ready to cut into a piece of valuable wood.
Measuring twice (or thrice or even seven times) means making sure that the woodworker has thought of all the things that could go wrong before putting the saw to the board!