Guide the knife against a straight edge as you cut. This is a move that takes practice. Think of how a rudder guides a boat, and, how the helmsman guides the rudder. You are the knife's helmsman.
As you press the knife into the work it is going to want to straighten up. Its helping you. This works because the point is offset from the handle's axis. As you press, the knife straightens. Cut freehand to feel this work.
Make long straight cuts by steering your freehand cuts up against the straight edge of a ruler. Let the edge contribute to the steering, but don't think it is forcing the blade to go straight. Turn the blade too hard and it will move the ruler. Not what you desire.
Forget that saying about "measure twice, cut once". FoamCore is cheap. Learn to cut fast.
You can usually avoid measurement completely by just designing your work to avoid precision alignments. Ask yourself, if this piece I'm making were too big, or too small, would it still work? If so, cut it intentionally too big or small and make that variation part of your art.
Avoid right angles and parallel edges. Choose angles that are not even close. Think about how odd angles will work in your design. Don't waste time mastering just 90, 180, and 270 degree cuts. Leave that for the robots.
Find an order to cut pieces so that the few critical lengths turn out to be both sides of a single cut.
Use your work to measure your next cut. Don't glue a piece into your construction until you know that it has finished its service as a scale for the next cut. Expect to have two or three loose pieces waiting for assembly as you work.
|Last edited September 19, 2008
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