Monday, 21 February 2011

Mitre-Box Thoughts

I like making and mending things in my shed. It's a great feeling to take an idea, use tools and suitable materials to turn it into a solid object for practical use or ornament.

One very helpful tool is my mitre box. In case you don't know, a mitre box enables you to accurately cut angles in wood using a tenon saw, say for picture frame corners. Mine is a simple, cheap (£6) plastic one with slots set at 0 and 45 degrees. It does all I want (mainly cutting straight down - I don't practice enough to do it freehand), but you can buy variable angle models or make one yourself. Or buy a power chopsaw as seen in those DIY makeover programmes.

No matter how much care I take marking out the line to cut, then cutting slowly and gently, corners are never as crisp when done freehand. I was cutting some pieces of wood in the box this morning to make replacement desk drawer dividers. Concentrating on keeping the saw blade level, I thought how ironic it is that something that guides movement actually gives me the freedom to be more creative.

A tip for prospective mitrebox users: line the base of the box with a sacrificial piece of cardboard to cut into. And screw the box onto a piece of scrap wood.

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