How to avoid chipping when cutting wood with a saw

We are all aware that to pass from being a simple amateur to being considered a master, it is first necessary to know and master all the techniques and secrets learned and accumulated thanks to the constancy and the time it takes to perform a certain task.

One of the headaches that most affect novice carpenters, is the constant chipping that the wood undergoes at the time of being cut with a saw. The worst of the case, is that this becomes a habit; A bad habit at that.

In this article I will pick up the best tricks and tips from renowned carpenters, so that all of us are informed of the common causes of chipping when cutting wood and how we can avoid it as much as possible.

Today we will know the secrets that several experts use to:

Avoid chip-cutting: Avoiding Tear-Out

I must acknowledge, and not without pain, that I know several “Carpenters” who never got rid of the habit of leaving the chipped wood after cutting it, to later use some palliative to hide those imperfections, such as the Caulking; Which far from being a technique, should only be considered as a necessary solution in extreme cases. So, since I do not want you to become like these guys pay attention.

Know the wood

First remember that wood has a grain and that the grain of wood is the texture, direction and pattern of the long and fine fibers that make up a piece of wood.

These lines, also known as veins or wood grain, change their name when the cut is transverse and not longitudinal, in which case it is known as the final grain of the wood or end grain.

Wood grain

The wood splinters by nature. Because of its makeup, it is inevitable that the wood will not crack under the pressure of saws, cutters, drills, chisels and other cutting tools made of very hard metals.

But… is chipping really normal?

Well, we already know the causes of the chipping, now we go without further detours to the techniques or tricks that will help us to avoid it for different cuts and tools.

The first advice to avoid the ugly cuts is to have tools in good condition and keep them very sharp. Of all is known, that always having sharp tools cutting is a recommendation that is constantly made by experts.

The second advice to avoid splintering is to use a piece of scrap wood as a support for the piece that is cut, placing this on the side that will leave the cutting blade, as we will see later.

A third tip to avoid splintering when cutting the table saw is to use the correct saw for each job or type of material.

Table saw

In the first case we will avoid chipping when cutting plywood or triply by first making a shallow cut and in the reverse direction of the blade, and then making the final cut. Table saws like these can be tricky sometimes to cut wood with, but with practice you  will get it.

Another widespread way to avoid chipping is the use of Masking Tape. Placing a strip of this tape along the line of cut on one or both sides of the wood will avoid the chipping as we can see right away

Circular saw

Here is a great idea, based also on the principle of the plate without free space that we have just seen. Once again, it is the use of plates without free passage or scrap wood that will help us to make clean cuts without and splinters.


Well almost everything for today, at this point many of us will be in a position to be a better carpenters and to make us better habits and techniques of work. Now we are in a position to minimize the splintering of the wood when we make our cuts and I think that is a very good thing.