Pro Tip: Create a Foolproof Stop Block for Repetitive Cuts

Cutting a bunch of boards to the exact same length is a boring and time consuming task. Here's a simple setup to make the job more efficient.

If you’ve spent any amount of time working in the construction trades, especially as a carpenter or a woodworker, chances are you’ve had at least a few days where you’ve spent a lot of time at a miter saw cutting boards to the same length over and over again. If your process includes measuring and marking every time you want to make a cut, you’re going to be in for a long day.

Luckily, there’s a pretty simple way to rig up your miter saw that will make it much more convenient to make a bunch of cuts all at the same length. Here’s how to set up a stop block to make repetitive cuts on a miter saw more efficiently.

Step One: Create an Auxiliary Fence

Attach a length of 1×5 lumber to the existing fence of your miter saw by screwing into it from the back. Then make a single cut down through the board, creating an auxiliary fence you will eventually attach the stop block too.

Step Two: Measure Out on the Fence

Hook your tape measure into the edge of the fresh cut in your new auxiliary fence. From there, measure out and make a mark right at the length at which you want to make a bunch of repetitive cuts. For our example, we marked our fence at lengths of 16 and 32 inches.

Step Three: Build Your Stop Block

Creating the stop block is fairly simple. Cut a chunk of 1×5 and a strip of 1/4-inch plywood (we used sande)¬†at the same length (anywhere from 4 to 6 inches will work) and then attach the plywood to the 1×5 with a couple of screws.

Step Four: Attach the Stop Block

Line the interior edge of the stop block up with the mark that corresponds to the length you want to cut your board at. Then use a bar clamp to lock the stop block in place. Double check to make sure that the stop block did not move around during the clamping process, as a shift in either direction will throw off the accuracy of your cuts.

Step Five: Start Cutting

Once your stop block is in place you’re ready to start making some cuts. Now all you have to do to cut boards at a consistent, repeatable length is set your lumber down on your miter saw and push it out until it meets the edge of your stop block. Make sure that the board is snug against both your fence and the stop block and then make the cut. You can then repeat this process until you’ve cut the exact number of boards you need at that specific length.

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