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Cut pieces of metal with a pneumatic shear. It has jaws that chew through the metal. Just hook the jaws onto the end of the metal and hold on tight while the shear makes the cut quickly and easily. Always wear gloves when cutting metal.
Use a table saw to cut grooves in the edges of the boards for the metal pieces to fit into (Image 1). Make sure the wood is centered with the blade (Image 2). The width of the groove is the kerf width of the blade. The height of the cut is about 1/2". Cut grooves on both sides of the inside pieces of wood. The pieces of wood on the ends of the project require only one groove cut into them.