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Using any saw — handsaw or power saw — requires careful setup in order to make sure your cut is clean and to avoid injury. Always secure a board with clamps to the cutting work surface before attempting to cut through a board with any saw.
If using a miter box, the box provides a snug place for the board. Still, fasten the miter box in place so the work and box do not move while cutting.
Do not hold the cut-off piece (the part of the board you are attempting to cut from the longer length) while using the saw. Always let the cut-off piece fall.
Draw a guide line across each face of the wood, marking where you will cut. Use a carpenter's square to ensure that the line is accurate.
Use a utility knife to score along the guide line. This will enable you to get a clean cut through each side without splintering the wood.
Hold the saw as shown. Place the blade just to the offcut side of the guide line and make a few backward strokes across the corner of the wood.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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