I finished the half-lap joints and laid up the second door to my storage building today. I thought Oppo might like to see the process.

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Bottom Line Up Front - here’s the frame for the door. There’s a slight bow in the left side which I will correct when I put in the brace and skin it. At this point, it’s been glued and screwed, so as soon as the glue is dried, I’ll start working on the bracing and skin. In the meantime, here’s how the joints were made.

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You know the old saying - measure twice, cut once.

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From the mark, make a square line across the board. I also add lines on both of the sides.

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While I could have brought out the skill saw to make the cross cut, it’s just easier and more precise to make the cut by hand. I love this little saw. It cuts in both directions, so you can’t use your thumb as a guide like you can on standard hand saws. It makes quick work of this cut.

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I like to make shallow cuts on the top and on the far side. They help guide the saw as it gets deeper into the wood. That line on the near side helps me keep the saw plumb through the thickness of the board.

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After the board is cut to length, it’s time for a trip to the table saw. The fence is set so the distance from the saw blade to the fence is the same width as the board which overlaps it. The height of the saw blade is set to one-half of the thickness of the board. The first crosscut is the most important cut. It pays to get these measurements right.

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When it’s time to cut, I use my left hand to support the board and my right to keep the board tight against the fence and miter gauge. I keep everything well away from the blade. My saw has a flip-down guard which also serves as a riving knife to keep the wood from binding and it has teeth to prevent kickback. This board isn’t wide enough to engage the riving knife or teeth, so I have to be extra careful about kickback when making these cuts. What cuts? A series of crosscuts to make it easy to remove the wood. You’ll see.

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See? Each cut is made by sliding the board a little further from the fence, keeping it tight against the miter gauge and flat on the table, then sliding it ever-so-gently over the blade. The tricky part is keeping it perfectly square as you slide it back over the blade so it can be adjusted for the next pass.Get that wrong and the blade will grab the wood, throwing it back at you.

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After both ends were cut, I clamped the board in my portable workbench and started cleaning up the ends. Hammering off the tabs is so satisfying.

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Once the hammering was done, there were small chips that needed to be removed with a good chisel.

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Since I only had a so-so chisel (I really need to sharpen my chisels!), it wasn’t as smooth as it could be. I figured that since I’m not making cabinets and the remaining texture should provide more area for the glue to adhere to, this was good enough. Only seven more to go.

And that, my friends, is how to cut the boards for a half-assed, half-lap joint for an overbuilt door going on the Forever shed.

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