How to Cut Thin Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • Carpenter's square

  • Razor knife

  • Hand coping saw

  • Templates

  • Pencil

  • Scrap two-by-fours


You can cover the surface of the wood with a single layer of “blue” masking tape.

Draw the designs or lines on the tape and cut the through the two surfaces.

The tape will aid in surface breakouts and is easily removed. The special adhesive used on this tape does not leave a residue.

Thin wood is generally classified as any thickness under 1/8 of an inch. These small pieces of wood can be used to conceal lesser quality frame boards. Thin wood or veneers can be expensive. Typically these woods are peeled from very high-quality logs that have few if any cosmetic blemishes. The wood can also be used as inlays into other wood surfaces. Cutting these thin wood pieces requires the use of special techniques, which generally do not include the use of power tools.


Step 1

Cut the thin board or veneer to length using a carpenters square and a razor knife. Lay the square across the board with the shorter right-angled side resting against the boards length. This will allow for a square cut to the board.

Step 2

Position the razor knife against the long side of the square that is running perpendicular to the surface. Press the knife-edge into the wood. Draw the knife back, scoring the surface. Repeat this until you cut all the way through the board. This process will result in a fine line cut to the thin material.

Step 3

Cut curves and shapes into the board, using a hand coping saw. Lay out the design on the board with a template and pencil. Use scrap two-by-fours to support the work piece off of a tabletop or workbench surface. This will allow the lower half of the saw to freely move while you hold the thin board with a free hand during sawing.


Step 4

Use short methodical strokes when using the coping saw. This concentrated effort will pay off in not "breaking out" the wood surface on either side of the cut line. The wood material will have a tendency to chip or crack on either side of the blade if too much of a "robust" action is used in manipulating the saw.



G.K. Bayne

G.K. Bayne is a freelance writer for various websites, specializing in back-to-basics instructional articles on computers and electrical equipment. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and studied history at the University of Tennessee.