The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cutting small rectangles with a jigsaw

Cutting out a small rectangle with a jigsawThe couple that works together, stays together...or pitches a huge hissy fit and gets a divorce.  Mark and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, but we do spend every day living in each others' pockets, usually very amicably.  In fact, one of my favorite parts of the day is the time I spend working on a project with Mark.

Even though I grew up with a handy father, I somehow missed most of the lessons on basic tool-use.  So Mark has taught me how to use a power drill, a miter saw, and so forth.  Monday, I was putting up the last bit of wall paneling, this time around the newly re-wired electric outlets.  How, I wondered, does one cut a small rectangle out of a piece of plywood with a jig saw?
Steps to cutting out a small rectangle with a jigsaw
I know this is old hat to those of you who dabble (or work) in construction, but I found this technique elegant and captivating.  First, Mark used a drill to start a hole in the plywood.  Then he cut along the line, curving around each corner so that he could keep cutting until an oval section fell out.  Third, he went back and cut the corners out --- the pictures hopefully make this process clearer than my description.  It's always a good day when I learn something new!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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If you have to make lots of identical holes, it's probably easier to make a wooden template that you stick on the plywood and then use a router to make the cuts. A guide bushing or collar on the router protects the template from the bit. With a good outside template you cannot make the holes too big. :-)

This is especially handy if you want to do something fancy with the cut edges like chamfering, rounding or rabbeting. Very handy things, routers.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Feb 17 12:44:48 2010
Very good suggestion! We were only putting in two outlets, so the miter saw did the trick. But I can see how if we were cutting a lot, a router would make a lot more sense!
Comment by anna Wed Feb 17 15:29:40 2010
How did I not think of that. Great tip. Thanks!
Comment by hamada Fri Jan 9 14:20:38 2015

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