Tips for when I don’t cut all the way through my stock

I ran a cut with a piece of mahogany and didn’t realize it wasn’t the same thickness throughout. My cut didn’t go deep enough and left about 1/16” at the bottom. I popped it up and then realize I had happened. I then tried to rezero and send another cut a little deeper but it wasn’t perfectly square and messed up the piece.

I feel stupid and defeated. Should I just run all my stock through a planer first? Sadly it was my last piece of that type, so I have to wait until Monday to get more.

Any tips? Is there a way to maybe hand cut through if I have this happened again?

Use your wasteboard as your Z zero reference for through cuts.


Often wood will have inconsistent thickness throughout so as you mentioned one option is to pass it through a planer. An alternate option could be to set Z zero at the wasteboard level and also have this match in your CAD/CAM with the stock thickness being the thickest part of your material.

Yes, you can cut out parts using a suitable handsaw or knife or chisel.

I like an inexpensive flexible Japanese pull saw which I picked up ages ago.

Agree that referencing the wasteboard as the Z zero works well — if one has the thickest point of the stock referenced for stock thickness.

I have a small Jet bandsaw and a Ridgid ossicoalliating sander. I cut the piece out and then sand off the rest. The sander works well at sanding off tabs.

Another alternative is to surface the material with a fly bit before machining the piece. You should have a fly bit to surface your work surface. The fly bit ensures the material is square to the router even if your work surface is not even. The surfacing is very important for v carving.


I’m not sure if this would work in this situation, but I would probably opt to flip the piece after it was done and run a facing operation on the backside to get the proper thickness.

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I have been running my pieces through the planer after my cut to remove excess. After that I use a Dremel or hand saw and exacto blade to cut the tabs.

Good luck

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Good to know that works. A planer is on my shopping list.

I’ve never cut anything with tabs, as I typically use a mixture of clamps and double sided tape for my work holding.

How do you deal with Planer Snipe

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My workflow is all steps others have recommended.

  • Surface one side of the workpiece properly flat, I use a surfacing cutter if there’s any bow or other deviation, then flip it so the flat side is down (I don’t own a planer thicknesser, so my Shapeoko does that job for now)
  • Z zero at the spoilboard, clamping the workpiece or tape & superglue. If it’s tape and glue I put two layers of tape on the spoilboard next to the piece and zero off that so I go through the stock but not all the way through the tape into the spoilboard
  • If I care about thickness or flatness (e.g. making joints) then I use a surfacing cutter to trim the workpiece to final thickness before doing any contour or other toolpaths
  • If there are tabs or bits where the cut-through isn’t complete a bearing guided cutter can be a great way to clean up the rough bits left over after sawing away the excess using whatever saw is available

If you mean chatter, I take small cuts, small cuts. Then I reverse the direction of my feed. When I get to a manageable thickness it is hand time.

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By planer snipe I mean the gash the planer makes at the start of planing a board

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I have a Wen. Taking small cuts does not seem to create that issue. Yes there is about a .001 difference from one end to the other. Think by taking small cuts alleviates that.

If you are going to buy a planer then I suggest the Dewalt 735. For consumer grade it does not get much better. Lonnie Byrd makes a carbide insert that I wish Dewalt offered.

I have had a Dewalt 735 for 15 years and as great as it is I am considering buying a 16 inch scm combo planer and jointer. Maybe another brand like Felder and the like but scm is a great brand. However those larger brands have a larger price tag.

I have had other planers but for consumer users the dewalt is the cream of the crop. Many consumer brands are coming with carbide inserts but the carbide inserts have some limitations that have to be overcome. The carbide inserts leave wavy boards but you run the board through a second time or a good sanding solves.

Always buy the best tool you can afford and you wont have regret later. Buying on price alone usually leads to regret later.

Tool purchases should be averaged by price divided by a 10 year expected life. You will find that using that formula leads to only crying once and not continious crying in disappointment.


I’m trying to justify the purchase of a SawStop right now, so I’m using a 20+ year Time horizon and I’m still struggling to spend the money :rofl:

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Everyone has a budget and you should stay within that budget. That requires everyone to separate wants from needs. The truth is there is a finite amount of money we can produce so a decision has to be made on what we spend that money on. Perhaps you will need to lower your sights. I doubt that many Sawstop saws come up on the used market but maybe you should be looking for a used one. If that particular tool is out of reach then maybe you could buy a benchtop saw like a Dewalt or Bosch. Then start a savings fund for the Sawstop and when you get the money saved you could sell your cheaper saw and help recycle your old saw to someone’s dream of having a table saw.

Unless ;you are Elon Musk or someone else like him money will always be a constraint. The financial advise I gave my own daughter was “Pay as you go and you never owe”. So if you want a new couch buy a used one, save for a newer one until you can buy it out right. There are certain things like a house and modern cars that necessitate financing but most everything else should be bought when you have the money and delay your instant gratification that too many people are inflicted with. I am sure you would like to roll a shinny new SawStop into t he shop but think of how much sweeter it will be when you can afford it and the new saw will not become a financial mill stone around your neck you have to drag around for years paying off. My 2 Cents.


Sound advice for all circumstances except those select times where you need the item in order to make the money to pay for the item.

I was speaking as a hobbist. I agree that for business you have to spend money to make money. But you still have to spend wisely with a plan and execute the plan.