Author Topic: I keep cutting things short!!  (Read 1822 times)

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Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 336
I keep cutting things short!!
« on: September 15, 2020, 09:54 AM »
I switched from Imperial to Metric as I figured it would be easier to add/subtract solid numbers as well as remember them but so far I'm still making as many if not more mistakes.  SMH

Since switching, I built a 8020 table saw outfeed table and ended up cutting 1 piece short by 10mm and another by 5mm.  Yesterday I was breaking down sheets of Birch ply for cabinet drawer boxes and ended up cutting 4 pieces to short by 100mm.  Then I was crosscutting all the sides, was in a rhythm, grabbed the stack of front/rear (32 of them), didn't look at my labels and cut them so they're all short!  This was more of my own not paying attention, not having enough room to keep them separated well, pencil labels to small to stand out, etc., but nonetheless is a mistake.

All that said, it seems I can't get through a project without wasting material.  Do you have these same issues or others you tend to make?  If so, does it happen often, and have you found any methods to reduce the mistakes?

Possible solutions based on everybody's feedback:
  • Measure twice cut once
  • Not all rules are created equal!!  Check your rules against each other.  You cannot mix/match rules which are not the same and expect the same results.  Use rules which match for measuring, marking, fence/rail alignment, etc.
  • If using metric, "cm" graduations rather than "mm" is known to cause more errors for some people.  This is because it has 1-9 after each 10cm rather than 10,20,30, etc. or 10,11,12, etc.  Errors have been reduced by people who have switched to mm scales.
  • If you use "cm" graduations, learn to call out the measurement in meters (if applicable), followed by centimeters (if applicable), and finally millimeters.  This will help you consistently find the correct spot on the rule.
  • Double check with Imperial tape measure
  • Label your stock ... besides name, size, etc., cut mark location helps to verify against the table saw rule, etc.
  • Cut story poles and double check against the story pole
  • Cut long pieces first
  • Cut similar pieces all at the same time
  • Don't do everything all at once ... you can fatigue ... slow down
  • Shorten everything else!
  • Get out the epoxy and wood filler
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 11:52 AM by Bugsysiegals »

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 250
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 10:00 AM »
I too am trying to move my brain from imperial to metric.  I have both tapes in front of me all the time and I sometimes get the metric number in my head but will double check it with the imperial tape.  One thing I was thinking was to build a simple chart thats 36" total and put the metric number by each 1/4 inch just to give me another sanity check.  Make a poster out of it, basically.  I bet that hurts to cut nice material and find out its short.  Good luck.  Seems the old 'measure twice, cut once', still ain't enough... [cool]

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1973
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 10:07 AM »
It does happen once in a while though not too often to cause me concerns or frustrations ("Measure Twice, Cut Once" has been around for ages).

For odd measurements or critical pieces, I use both imperial and metric units to double check my settings before making the cuts.

If possible, I make pencil marks on the stock instead of measuring to find the cut marks.

Edit: Using pencil marks - This also eliminates potential errors caused by any difference between a measuring tape and the measurement scale on the table saw or miter saw. Photo added.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 10:48 AM by ChuckM »

Offline Don T

  • Posts: 1979
  • Phoenix, Az
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 10:24 AM »
Slow down. Why are you rushing? I assume this is a hobby.
RO150, C12, DF 500 Q, CT33, TS75, MFT3, Kapex 120, MFT3/Kapex, MFK 700, RO 90, ETS150/3, CT22, Centrotec Installers Kit, Parallel Guides & Ext, Carvex, OF1400, LR32 Set, MFS400 w/700 rails, KA UG Set, First Aid Kit, RTS 400 EQ, Vecturo OS400 Set, CT Wings, CT Drill Guide, Pro 5, CXS, C18, HL850, Vac Sys set

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 336
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 10:40 AM »
Slow down. Why are you rushing? I assume this is a hobby.

This is just a hobby and I was rushing the cuts because my wife had to join a conference call and I wanted to wrap things up ... lesson learned ... mark the board dimensions and check them before each cut. 

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 336
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 10:41 AM »
I too am trying to move my brain from imperial to metric.  I have both tapes in front of me all the time and I sometimes get the metric number in my head but will double check it with the imperial tape.  One thing I was thinking was to build a simple chart thats 36" total and put the metric number by each 1/4 inch just to give me another sanity check.  Make a poster out of it, basically.  I bet that hurts to cut nice material and find out its short.  Good luck.  Seems the old 'measure twice, cut once', still ain't enough... [cool]

I've also measured twice and had the error so while not optimal I like the idea of double checking with imperial ... great idea!

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 336
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2020, 10:42 AM »
It does happen once in a while though not too often to cause me concerns or frustrations ("Measure Twice, Cut Once" has been around for ages).

For odd measurements or critical pieces, I use both imperial and metric units to double check my settings before making the cuts.

If possible, I make pencil marks on the stock instead of measuring to find the cut marks.

Thanks for the idea, I will begin to use this.

Offline zapdafish

  • Posts: 590
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2020, 10:56 AM »
I have made this mistake too, i usually just shorten everything else by 10mm.  [big grin]

I started using story sticks to transfer measurements and do the measure twice thing on the story stick marks. Before the cut, just lay the story stick up to make sure you are on your marks and not inside it. It has saved me from misreading fence settings too,

I switched from Imperial to Metric as I figured it would be easier to add/subtract solid numbers as well as remember them but so far I'm still making as many if not more mistakes.  SMH

Since switching, I built a 8020 table saw outfeed table and ended up cutting 1 piece short by 10mm and another by 5mm.  Yesterday I was breaking down sheets of Birch ply for cabinet drawer boxes and ended up cutting 4 pieces to short by 100mm.  Then I was crosscutting all the sides, was in a rhythm, grabbed the stack of front/rear (32 of them), didn't look at my labels and cut them so they're all short!  This was more of my own not paying attention, not having enough room to keep them separated well, pencil labels to small to stand out, etc., but nonetheless is a mistake.

All that said, it seems I can't get through a project without wasting material.  Do you have these same issues or others you tend to make?  If so, does it happen often, and have you found any methods to reduce the mistakes?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 10:59 AM by zapdafish »
CT22, TS55, Kapex, RO150, Domino, RS 2 E

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1973
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2020, 11:00 AM »
I've also measured twice and had the error so while not optimal I like the idea of double checking with imperial ... great idea!

"Measure twice, cut once" works perfectly well...in theory. In practice, other factors come into play that affect the outcome including when you have to do additions or subtractions to arrive at the cutting measurements. I look at that advice as a reminder for checking my settings rather than as a final solution.

I also try to cut all the long pieces first so that if I do make a rare cutting mistake, I might have a way out somehow.

One last habit. Unlike what you may see in a magazine or hear from others, in a complex project, I do not make a cutting list and cut out all the pieces. I sometimes make changes to a design or sketch on the fly as I work, and cutting out all the pieces could force me to stick to what may not be the best result I want to see. So I start with, say, the carcase or frame, and cut those parts first. By dividing the build into subunits, it gives me flexibility while avoiding shop fatigue which can cause all kinds of errors in the shop.

Some may argue that it's more efficient to have the machines set up once and finish all the cutting tasks. Well, only if every cut is dead-on and correct. Making an error on 20 identical pieces that can't be fixed is more painful than setting up some machine once every few days.

In the image I attached in my first post, I was working on the door. I didn't cut anything about the door until more than a week after I started the project. Zero cutting errors so far (but some on the DF500 operation, but that's another story).
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 11:17 AM by ChuckM »

Offline jimbo51

  • Posts: 495
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2020, 12:49 PM »
I am working on a project to increase the width of the bays on a pair of systainer racks. This involves a saw and a Domino 700 and later some epoxy filler. The original work involved miter cuts that required a bit of trimming so that each bay is a slightly different width. I have decided that I want all the racks to have drawers that I can swap out freely. The next set I made with butt joints.

Offline Vtshopdog

  • Posts: 52
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 01:38 PM »
Regarding Metic tape measures, not all are created equal.  Years ago we had a half dozen Metric tapes in my ski shop that somehow the scale markings were such that it was really easy to miss by 10 cm. There was a subtle way the digits were printed that facilitated screwing up. (kind of a bummer when instead of a $10 piece of wood cut short it's a $500 pair of skis with binding holes in wrong spot....)

The screw up tapes had 10 cm digit markings followed by 10-90 mm markings then next 10 cm digit ( for example 40cm then 10mm, 20mm ....90mm  then 50cm, 10mm, 20mm rather than 41,42, 43 ...50 etc)

My guys were messing things  up way too often, finally one of us (ME!) made exact same mistake twice in a row.  Replaced the tapes and problem went away.


Offline Don T

  • Posts: 1979
  • Phoenix, Az
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 02:00 PM »
Slow down. Why are you rushing? I assume this is a hobby.

This is just a hobby and I was rushing the cuts because my wife had to join a conference call and I wanted to wrap things up ... lesson learned ... mark the board dimensions and check them before each cut.
Sometimes I will check all dimensions again before making cuts. I have been in your shoes.
RO150, C12, DF 500 Q, CT33, TS75, MFT3, Kapex 120, MFT3/Kapex, MFK 700, RO 90, ETS150/3, CT22, Centrotec Installers Kit, Parallel Guides & Ext, Carvex, OF1400, LR32 Set, MFS400 w/700 rails, KA UG Set, First Aid Kit, RTS 400 EQ, Vecturo OS400 Set, CT Wings, CT Drill Guide, Pro 5, CXS, C18, HL850, Vac Sys set

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 336
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2020, 02:16 PM »
I have made this mistake too, i usually just shorten everything else by 10mm.  [big grin]

I started using story sticks to transfer measurements and do the measure twice thing on the story stick marks. Before the cut, just lay the story stick up to make sure you are on your marks and not inside it. It has saved me from misreading fence settings too,

I switched from Imperial to Metric as I figured it would be easier to add/subtract solid numbers as well as remember them but so far I'm still making as many if not more mistakes.  SMH

Since switching, I built a 8020 table saw outfeed table and ended up cutting 1 piece short by 10mm and another by 5mm.  Yesterday I was breaking down sheets of Birch ply for cabinet drawer boxes and ended up cutting 4 pieces to short by 100mm.  Then I was crosscutting all the sides, was in a rhythm, grabbed the stack of front/rear (32 of them), didn't look at my labels and cut them so they're all short!  This was more of my own not paying attention, not having enough room to keep them separated well, pencil labels to small to stand out, etc., but nonetheless is a mistake.

All that said, it seems I can't get through a project without wasting material.  Do you have these same issues or others you tend to make?  If so, does it happen often, and have you found any methods to reduce the mistakes?

Thanks, another great tip!

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 336
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 02:31 PM »
Regarding Metic tape measures, not all are created equal.  Years ago we had a half dozen Metric tapes in my ski shop that somehow the scale markings were such that it was really easy to miss by 10 cm. There was a subtle way the digits were printed that facilitated screwing up. (kind of a bummer when instead of a $10 piece of wood cut short it's a $500 pair of skis with binding holes in wrong spot....)

The screw up tapes had 10 cm digit markings followed by 10-90 mm markings then next 10 cm digit ( for example 40cm then 10mm, 20mm ....90mm  then 50cm, 10mm, 20mm rather than 41,42, 43 ...50 etc)

My guys were messing things  up way too often, finally one of us (ME!) made exact same mistake twice in a row.  Replaced the tapes and problem went away.


Funny, my tape measure is exactly this way with 1-9 repeating.  I'd not thought about it but I bet this makes for more mistakes than less.  Which tape measure did you replace it with?  I was going to get a FastCap but I'm not sure what's the "best".  If this really causes this many mistakes I wonder why they continue to make these tapes in this way...

P.S. Sorry to hear about this skiis ... I should be so lucky to be catching these errors and forming good habits on cheap pieces of wood.

320778-0320780-1
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 02:35 PM by Bugsysiegals »

Offline Vtshopdog

  • Posts: 52
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 03:16 PM »
.

P.S. Sorry to hear about this skiis ... I should be so lucky to be catching these errors and forming good habits on cheap pieces of wood.

(Attachment Link) (Attachment Link)

This was in a retail ski shop, employees mis-drilling skis was a cost of doing business- they all did it at some point and it was simply an issue of when, not if.

(I will say for some of the Techs “When” was sooner and more frequent than for others...)

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 875
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 04:22 PM »
the problem is the tape measures.  For some reason, almost all of them are in cm, no mm.   This makes it so easy to screw up when reading it.    You want say 236mm.   Your brain is expecting things like 100, 200, 300, and then between them. 10, 20, 30 markings, and then 1mm tick marks.   So,  200, ->30 -> 6 ticks,    but since almost all of them are in cm, you are looking at 10, 20, 30, 1, 2, 3...   It just sets up the path for issues.

The only tape I have found in the US that is any good marking wise is the true32 tape.  It works correctly (mm).  All the rest are in cm, I have messed up a lot with them.   As folks know from other threads, I'm very metric, these stupid cm tape measures cause nothing but issues.

This Thread. covered some of the issues.  Once you go over 1m, screw ups becomes super easy.

When tools are marked in mm (as all festool stuff is), but all the tapes you find are cm, it just sets up for issues.  And no, this isn't a divide by 10 issues, it's how we read out/remember numbers.

From experience, if you keep coming up short, I can almost guarantee it's a mistake in going from mm to trying to locate on a cm tape.  But if you are coming up 10mm short every time, maybe it's just time to clean the tip of your tape.   [tongue]

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1253
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2020, 04:43 PM »
Here's how someone told me to think about it.

If the call out is in millimetres, then:

looking left to right on the number

if a single digit always millimetres

If 2 digits then the first digit is centimeters and the last digit is millimeters

If 3 digits then first 2 digits are the number of centimeters and the last digit is millimeters

If 4 digits then first digit is meters next two digits centimeters and the last millimeters

and on

So 236 milimeters is 23 centimeters and 6 millimeters
Ron


Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 359
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2020, 04:46 PM »
For any significant project I prepare an Excel spreadsheet that starts with the overall dimensions of the finished object(s) then drills down to the exact dimensions of each piece and the order of processing from rough lumber through finished parts, assemblies, and projects.  If you start cutting one piece before you know the dimensions of every other piece it fits with you are hoping, not planning.  In my experience each 8 hour workday needs about 2 to 4 hours of detailed planning before it starts if you want to be productive and minimize waste.  You can avoid this planning time discipline but you will waste more time making and remaking the parts of your project.

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1973
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2020, 04:56 PM »
Snip.
 In my experience each 8 hour workday needs about 2 to 4 hours of detailed planning before it starts if you want to be productive and minimize waste.  You can avoid this planning time discipline but you will waste more time making and remaking the parts of your project.
Let me get this clarified with you first as I might be misreading your message. Are you saying you spend 25% to 50% of each of your working session on planning?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 04:58 PM by ChuckM »

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6701
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2020, 05:15 PM »
Meh, I keep on cutting things short ALL the time. Think I could build a house with all the material I wasted over the years.

The problem is not the tape measures, nor the system.

It's me.

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 353
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2020, 05:26 PM »
the problem is the tape measures.  For some reason, almost all of them are in cm, no mm.   This makes it so easy to screw up when reading it.    You want say 236mm.   Your brain is expecting things like 100, 200, 300, and then between them. 10, 20, 30 markings, and then 1mm tick marks.   So,  200, ->30 -> 6 ticks,    but since almost all of them are in cm, you are looking at 10, 20, 30, 1, 2, 3...   It just sets up the path for issues.

The only tape I have found in the US that is any good marking wise is the true32 tape.  It works correctly (mm).  All the rest are in cm, I have messed up a lot with them.   As folks know from other threads, I'm very metric, these stupid cm tape measures cause nothing but issues.


I agree.   I think I read it somewhere, it's less error prone if you only work in mm.  That is, not in cm.  It avoids the issues you mention.

I only get rules that are in mm.    As you wrote, the FastCap true32 tape is good  The Woodpecker metric rules are in mm.   

Bob

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 875
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2020, 05:39 PM »
Meh, I keep on cutting things short ALL the time. Think I could build a house with all the material I wasted over the years.

The problem is not the tape measures, nor the system.

It's me.

You were working the "tiny house movement" before it was cool.

I generally find there are always shorter parts to be made, so most errors are saved.  I cut longest stuff first,  so then I can always use screw ups to make shorter parts.

Offline TwelvebyTwenty

  • Posts: 99
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2020, 05:45 PM »
My wife has been telling me for a long time that I overestimated the length of things.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4009
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2020, 06:39 PM »
the problem is the tape measures.  For some reason, almost all of them are in cm, no mm.   This makes it so easy to screw up when reading it.    You want say 236mm.   Your brain is expecting things like 100, 200, 300, and then between them. 10, 20, 30 markings, and then 1mm tick marks.   So,  200, ->30 -> 6 ticks,    but since almost all of them are in cm, you are looking at 10, 20, 30, 1, 2, 3...   It just sets up the path for issues.

The only tape I have found in the US that is any good marking wise is the true32 tape.  It works correctly (mm).  All the rest are in cm, I have messed up a lot with them.   As folks know from other threads, I'm very metric, these stupid cm tape measures cause nothing but issues.

I tend to concur.  The issue I have with FastCap tapes is that they're often less accurate than Hultafors tapes, for example.  In the attached photo, two Hultafors tapes (3M and 6M) are on top, and two FastCap tapes below. 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 563
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2020, 06:40 PM »
Meh.. you’re doing it wrong: Measure once and cut twice, or more..  [big grin]
it’s the head that gets screwed up. Fractions in imperial is no good if the measuring device doesn’t have the right scale (At least what many of those I’ve seen and used here)
Metric where all goes 10x in each scale, is easier - but leaves no guarantee for error - the user! [wink]
There’s no “wrong” thinking, whether one thinks in mm, cm or meter. Do what’s easiest for you.
I use metric (of course) almost for anything new. But there are imperial on some (rare, old) stock or framing wood. Not to mention imperial in mechanical applications, such as bolts. I then use imperial to measure something established in imperial. For new layout metric is easier to work with once you familiarise. A tape measure or measuring stick with both standards helps familiarise.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 563
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2020, 06:47 PM »
Hultafors is quite renowned here by professionals.
I only carry Hultafors measuring sticks, apart from one Stabila. I usually have 10+ of them spread all over. And checked side by side, unless damaged they are all more or less spot on to each other.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 1973
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2020, 06:55 PM »
Snip.
I tend to concur.  The issue I have with FastCap tapes is that they're often less accurate than Hultafors tapes, for example.  In the attached photo, two Hultafors tapes (3M and 6M) are on top, and two FastCap tapes below.
Less accurate?

It shouldn't matter as long as the same tape is used throughout to measure everything in a project, including using that same tape to set up the table saw. etc. I know for a fact that the tape measure on my table saw isn't the same as any tapes I own (Lee Valley, Fastcap, Craftsman, etc.).

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7674
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2020, 07:00 PM »
Another issue is if you switch between different manufacturers tape measures. Not every tape measure is exactly the same. A few years back I purged the 5 different tapes I used and replaced them with 3 Starretts that were on sale.

One sits on the table saw, one sits on the Kapex and the third is what I use for general measurements.

If what I'm cutting is absolutely critical...I then use the same tape to both measure and to mark the wood. 

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4009
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2020, 07:06 PM »
Another issue is if you switch between different manufacturers tape measures. Not every tape measure is exactly the same.

Exactly my point.  It seems that my Hultafors tapes are the most consistent, tape to tape.  Too bad they're so hard to find in the US. 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 359
Re: I keep cutting things short!!
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2020, 08:10 PM »

Let me get this clarified with you first as I might be misreading your message. Are you saying you spend 25% to 50% of each of your working session on planning?

No.  When I am working a large scale project I put in 6 to 8 hours in the shop, working steadily to my plan and always 15-30 minutes at the end of the day to clean and organize for the next day.  Then in the evening I work the plan to update where I'm at, make sure all the details for tomorrow's work are complete and plan ahead a few days.  On a day to day basis this probably takes no more than an hour.  Before I ever start the project I do full scale SketchUp models and my detailed spreadsheets covering all parts and operations.  So I am estimating between the initial planning and the daily refining the plan I spend 2 to 4 hours total in planning for every 7 to 8 hours working the wood.  In my experience the time spent doing effective planning pays back many times over in the quality and productivity of my shop time.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 08:12 PM by kevinculle »