Bust Down to Create Oversized Parts
The case is pretty simple, comprised of two sides, a bottom, and two nailing strips. I start a project like this by creating oversized components. For this task I’ll reach for my circular saw and a straightedge, cutting the two sides and the bottom slightly larger than the finished dimension. Note that the bottom fits into dadoes in the sides, so this piece will need to be longer than the finished distance between the sides.
If you struggle with cutting parts out of large sheets, you are not alone. If, like me, you have a very small shop, the task gets even trickier. My approach serves me well and allows me to accurately and safely make these cuts in tight quarters.
The first step is to have three supporting areas. The easiest way to do this is to have three saw horses of the same height (two saw horses and an adjustable roller stand work well, too). On top of my saw horses I have mounted sacrificial 2x4s. With support on each end, the middle saw horse is positioned directly in the middle of the cut. This way, when the cut is made, the two sides are supported on the outside ends, with the middle saw horse supporting the inside ends of both.
For my guide I’ve always searched out the straightest piece of lumber in my shop of an appropriate length, clamped it to the proper marks and cut the part. I recently acquired a pair of self-clamping straight edges—one 50″ and one 36″. These easily line up to the marks, clamp tightly to the sheet, and make this task easier than ever. I now swear by these and will be purchasing the 100″ version for making long cuts in 8′ sheet goods.
Once these oversized parts are cuts, a couple quick passes at the tablesaw and all of the parts are precisely sized.