Calculating Wood Dimensions for Outside Corners

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George Vondriska shows you how to use basic algebra to calculate the wood dimensions for cutting an outside edge on your woodworking projects. The key is finding the right size so the dimensions are the same for the thickness on one side and the width on the other, which will in turn help you to use only one piece of wood.

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Discussion
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7 Responses to “Calculating Wood Dimensions for Outside Corners”
  1. Lee

    When you say algebra you scare people – it need not be that scary, and if someone is many years out of school they don’t have to be dragged back kicking and screaming. Let’s do it using practical math:

    You know one side will be some width and one side will be some width minus the thickness of the stock. On your piece, first measure over the thickness of the stock from the edge (1″ in your example). Now measure from that mark to the other edge (4-1/2″ in your example). Now split that and make a mark (2-1/4″ in your example) and that’s where you rip your stock (allowing for the kerf of course).

    It’s exactly what you just said, but the process takes place on the wood rather than on paper – which is easier for some folks to remember and/or understand. I know a lot of very smart carpenters that don’t know algebra.

    Reply
    • Jim

      Good video and good discussion comment, but you forgot about the saw kerf size. In most cases the 1/8″ difference (standard blade) would not be a big deal.

      Reply
      • WWGOA Team

        Hi, Jim!

        Good catch. I agree; 1/8″ is negligible for a project of this nature, but if you’d like to be precise, go ahead and split the difference and subtract 1/16″ from each side.

        Reply
  2. Phil

    You don’t need to figure or the saw kerf. All you have to do is measure to the center of the blade when you set your rip fence and the kerf problem goes away.

    Reply
  3. Frank

    Great math on the outside corner except, (not that it would make a noticeable difference)you forgot to subtract the width of the blade.

    Reply

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