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How to cut wood using a drill


I am so bad at sawing wood that if there were an Olympic event for the worst “straight line” I’d win gold, no question.

I had to cut an old bookshelf unit down to match the size of another that I want to use as worktable supports (before, I’d hacked one end of the surface so that I could jam in into the taller unit, where a shelf would support it. Of course, the cuts weren’t straight, so “jam” was the operative word. But that left that unit exposed to the weather, and so the board backing got soaked and fell out; the unit lost its “backbone” and started to sag so badly that I had to put a loop of string round it and tie it to the fence. It also meant that the shelves in that unit were at 90o which made getting stuff out a prob when the space between them was filled.

So, with foreboding and trepidation, I got out my saw. I exceeded even my low expectations of success: here’s one I made (a mess of) earlier … I tried from each end, and still can’t decide which is the worst – they’re both pretty gruesome:

Even with the guide line, I’ve gone all over the place – always to the right. I’ve tried standing to the left a bit more, but that just slows down how much I veer right-wards.

So I thought, if I drill holes every now and then, it’ll give me something to aim for, and maybe a series of short cuts between pairs of holes would be easier to keep straight than one long one: didn’t work …

I had to hack bits off to get to the first hole, and then try to continue from there. Even tried using a small tenon saw (shorter blade, less bendy) to make a pilot groove; that had to be shallow, because of the reinforcement on the back of the blade.

Then came my brainwave, or brainstorm – it’s easier to tear paper in a straight line along a row of perforations than a plain sheet. So I got a hammer and just bashed the top and it fell off more or less along the line of drilled holes.

It’s rough, but still not half as rough as it would have been had I continued using the saw. And these could be planed down (if I had a plane).

The new top of the unit is badly shredded on one side – that was from the saw veering so much. The drill-and-hammer method might not work for fine furniture, but it sure takes less effort and time – I’d been sawing for half an hour or so (with plenty of back-breaks and hand-rests every dozen or so strokes) – the drilling and bashing took five minutes, if that. And it’s a damn sight easier to line up a drill bit neatly than to try to control a saw that veers so much to the right it should wear jackboots.

I’d not been looking forward to using the stack of wood I rescued from beside the bins – but now, I’m going to go the drill-and-hammer route. And if I put the holes much closer together, then the break will be a lot smoother – provided I’ve got the holes properly lined up.

As Roy Hudd used to say in the old teabag adverts: “It’s me little perforations …”

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Well, Fran...
I've had a headache all day..
... been feeling rather poorly ..
... but this blog has had me laughing so much...

thank you ..

I so admire you for your enterprising ideas !!!

I hope you're not offended that I found it funny...

I hope your techniques with the hammer and saw will improve with practice :o))))))))))))))))))))))

20 Feb, 2012


well Fran your not only a star but your a trier I'll give you that, like Terra I just sat here shook my head and laughed,
Hope your feeling better Terra,

20 Feb, 2012


Been feeling worse all day, Yorks. but Fran's blogs are a fabulous tonic :o)))

20 Feb, 2012


have you got a migraine

20 Feb, 2012


Headachey and keep coming over hot ..

20 Feb, 2012


maybe you have picked up a virus, keep warm and just take it easy, try having a little nap,

20 Feb, 2012


Thanks Yorks..
sorry Fran for side-tracking the theme of your blog ..

20 Feb, 2012


lol no probs! I, too, hope you feel better and will keep feeling better. Do you get "weather signs" with headaches etc? or is it just too many hugs??

It is rather funny, now that I look back on it - wasn't so risble at the time, lol.

But there's the silver lining: if I'd been better at sawing, I'd never have found the short cut - hmm, wonder if I can patent it?

20 Feb, 2012


Your next blog ...
... How to drill wood with a saw.. ???

... good thing,Fran, that you have such a great sense of humour...

... maybe I'm suffering from not enough hugs. ? Lol.

20 Feb, 2012


Fran ..that was funny..I am sure Roy Hudd could make a comedy sketch out of your

20 Feb, 2012


grins, maybe I should email the blog to him....

it's being mad that keeps me sane, TT - but I don't think I'll try drilling with a saw - a sawn-off, maybe ...

cure for TT's hug-less-ness: \o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/ \o/\o/

20 Feb, 2012


You dont give up Girl, I admire you for that, will it not split along the drill holes if you put it over a wall or fence and put your weight on it, Break its back as hub would say :))

20 Feb, 2012


Thanks Fran...
feeling better already :o)))))))

20 Feb, 2012


Are you using a hand saw or an electric one? Do you have it held tight so that it doesn't move? you need glasses!!!! lol

20 Feb, 2012


I don't have much in the way of available fulcrums, Daisy - three sides of my garden has wire-mesh fencing, and the fourth is the wall of the flat. I'd have to rig a fulcrum to bend it over, and that would vary with each piece of work that I did - although, once the table is assembled, there's a handy fulcrlum for single pieces of wood - lol having to lean on the back to hold it still while I lean on the front would provide more photo-ops if I weren't using both hands ...

of course, I've just realised that I could have put a bit of wood along the "seam" of holes and used that to lever the end piece off; might have created fewer splinters. sigh, why don't I get these inspirations when it'll do some good? ah well, I can try it nex time, if I remember!

20 Feb, 2012


I have a handsaw, Linda; long bendy one! I did have a circular saw - needed some diy worktops cut to size, I suggested to my friend, who did the work, that we could hire a saw for the weekend, rather than struggle with a handsaw; she found it cheaper to buy one at Argos. I gave it to the Age Concern handyman along with my old electric drill - there is no way that I'd go anywhere near an unguarded circular saw! while she was using it, I held the other end of the worktop, very much out of the way.

It's hard to stop a saw blade bending! I washolding it in both hands as I needed the extra push.

No, I don't need glasses, already got a pair! @-@¬

20 Feb, 2012


Good idea Fran, hub doese that when he cuts tiles or glass, very gently :)

20 Feb, 2012


lol I think I'll work up to glass very, very gingerly ... I read ages ago that if you cut glass under water it won't crack, no idea how true or useful that is

20 Feb, 2012


Have you tried using a stanley knife to mark your line Fran, I wondered if that would help as it would create a groove, mind you be careful stanley can be a lethal little beggar..
Sorry your not feeling good Terra, is it your eyes again?

20 Feb, 2012


Hi Sue...
good idea to "score" a line to aid with breaking the wood in the right place ...

Thanks Lincs .. Tired eyes and headache today.
I'll perk up soon :o))

20 Feb, 2012


I have used a Stanley knife and length of wood (remembering to apply the "lean lightly on the knife, firmly on the ruler" rule) - I did try a groove in this wood with a tenon saw; made a bit of a groove for a starter but the saw didn't seem to care much for it - making a groove is easy, keeping to it isn't!

20 Feb, 2012


I know it won`t be any consolation to you but you`re not alone, I can`t saw a straight line to save my life, lol, darn good with a hammer though to force things into place..

20 Feb, 2012


grins to LL, I'll sell you the secret of no-saw woodcutting for a very modest fee ....

20 Feb, 2012


'Twas on a Monday morning that the gas man came to call' sort of rings a bell here!!! You are brilliant Fran.

20 Feb, 2012


rofl, GM, The Gasman Cometh, Flanders and Swann, totally brilliant. I hadn't thought of it till you mentioned it, but yes, it rings bells. Except, I hope, for Friday, when I'd need to call the Gas Man again!

20 Feb, 2012


Hats off for being creative and giving it a go.
There is nothing like being creative and making things yourself.

The Laminate wood your cutting which is laminated particle board as far as know and is a tough thing to cut. One really need a table saw. So don't beat your self up about it.
If you were cutting pine wood or something like a natural wood it might be a lot easier. However, here are a few tips if you like that might help.

Step 1 ) Mark the line with a ruler or something straight.
Well, that's a given I suppose.

Step 2) Lay the wood on 2 block or 2 something of similar height about a foot or so off the ground and about 6 inches to a foot apart.

Key tip. Step 3) Tape a piece of straight wood next to the line on the left if your right handed.

Step 4 ) Most importantly place your foot on top of tapped on piece of wood to hold all the wood steady.

Step 5 ) Score the line if need be with a hand saw leaning the edge into the tapped on piece of wood and your foot firmly on top score along the wood.
Cut a slight beginning then using most of the saw blade score the line.

After that if you feel the need you could tape another piece of wood on the right as it might help you guide the saw.
Use small up and down movements of the saw in a 45 degree angle to ease along the line.
Aim for quality not quickness.
Use mostly the back end of the saw as I feel there is more control.

It's always good to practice on a piece of scrap wood before using the wood you want to use. I had a similar problem when I first started using a saw but it gets better with practice.

Hope this is of help. Best of luck.

20 Feb, 2012


thanks, Angie, that's very comprehensive!

I'm using contiboard - I did do a Google "what is contiboard?" but didn't get any answers that I recognised as such; mainly "buy it here" and a bit about someone called Conti.

step 2 - Only a foot off the ground? and put my foot on it and use only the back end of the saw? I'd have my head about the lvel of my knee, and that'd be a contortion! *s* besides, with a standard long saw, don't think I could use the back end only without the front hitting the ground

(I've probably missed some small but vital bit of information here!)

but making the straight line is easy, so is cutting a pilot groove - it's pursuading the saw to follow said groove that's the fun part!

20 Feb, 2012


I think that man made wood has different names in different countries, much like plants. Either way it's a bitch to cut. Just adjust levels to suit ones self, if your foot is much more that a foot off the ground it can be unstable, put it higher then use your knee, if saw is angled and not straight it helps, just guide lines. Do a test run.

20 Feb, 2012


lol will if I remember the next time I have some sawing - won't be for a while, done the main work for the worktable, now need to fit shelves and the surface.

20 Feb, 2012


These blogs are brilliant :o) There's nothing like persivierence ... lol and I cant spell that ... Keep up the good work :o)

20 Feb, 2012


know what yoiu mean, though, Hywel dear, and thanks. lol most of it's stubbornness - I am NOT going to be beaten by a stupid lump of wood! (well, apart from the one on my shoulders .....)

I exoect my back will demand a rest tomorrow, it rather deserves it; but I hope to get the table up and operational by the weekend (ha, but i' not saying which weekend!)

20 Feb, 2012


That makes two stubborn GoYers then :o) Sometimes I get things done just to spite my clumsy hands lol

20 Feb, 2012


Fran...I'm sorry I did laugh :))
You can buy shorter handsaws. They are mainly produced for the purpose of laminate floorings and boards.
and...I know it may be difficult but try not to stop inbetween sawing each length - you never get the same angle of cut again!!

20 Feb, 2012


Fran - you're brilliant! I managed to correct my wonky cutting when Partner complained about a slice of bread from the loaf that was thick at the top, thin at the bottom and with uneven sides! We discovered that when I cut bread I put my head to one side - so I made a conscious effort to keep my head straight - ergo: straight even slices! Perhaps you should practice with bread? The birds would like your failed efforts! :o)

21 Feb, 2012


no probs, Scottish, you're not the only one! i didn't know about short saws, I'll have to get one - as I only use about six inches of blade per stroke no point having two foot to do it with! The wood was splintering badly on the underside, not cutting clean all the way thorugh; of course, that was probably more due to me than to it.

Because of my back injury, I do find beding or stooping for a long period ("long" can be quite short! I mean, to keep that postiion for a while) can get very painful - especially when trying to straighten up again! More than once I had to hold on to the wall and sort of stand up a bit at a time. Does make extended sawing a bit problematical, especially as my shoulder and arm strength are a match for my back's!

lol, beisdes, given how off-line I was getting, would'nt want the same angle twice! If I could see that I was on line, and staying on line, that would doubtless encourage me to keep on going.

21 Feb, 2012


Ah, that might be it, Nariz! I have probs with both eyes - both have good periperhal vision, but I'm virutally one-eyed and very short-range when it comes to reading and writing - and maybe sawing, too!

It might be significant that it's my riht eye that I use, given how much I veer to the right. I can't do much about the distance I can see, but maybe if I tried tilting my head to the left? Obviously I can't see how I stand when sawing (unless I get the tall mirror out of the bedroom) but I probably don't stand straight anyway, and using mostly my right hand I'd lean to that side a bit?

Lol I'm going to have to get the mirror out and see! I'd never thought of "angle of lean" before, but now you've got me wondering...

21 Feb, 2012


just had to go over the hardware shop and get some more screws, typically, got hundreds that are too small and they won't hold - as i found out! got a short saw too, while i was there; will try it out later.

21 Feb, 2012


I was going to suggest a shorter saw. Good luck Fran. :o))

22 Feb, 2012


did get the saw, but as it happens, it's exactly the same length as the one I already have! but at least, being new, it'll be sharper.

Did a little bit of sawing today, used the new saw, and thoguht, why not try putting your right foot up? so I did, and the cut started veering to the left! so it seems that I need to put both feet up, or neither, sigh.

22 Feb, 2012


Practice makes perfect Fran!!

22 Feb, 2012


I'll get there - just need to work out how to stand to make the stroke straight; lol but at least veering to the left makes a change.

22 Feb, 2012

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