Simple noob question: cutting 2x4's to length, need to make a tight fit (no two the exact same length) so often need to trim 1mm to 4mm (say 1/16 to 1/8th inch) off the end.

Without a dropsaw or skillsaw, what's a good way to do this? (lengths cut with handsaw) Never used a plane - is it a good tool for this job / do they cut across the grain?

Currently using a random orbital w/ 40 grit. Does the job but there has to be a better way.


2 Answers 2


A block plane will do the job - end grain is their forte. Needs to be sharp, like you may never have seen sharp, if you have not used planes before.You'll also want to set the one you are shortening up against a scrap piece so that the plane does not tear-out as it leaves the edge of the board. Just let it stick out a millimeter or two beyond the supporting scrap.

  • +1 and as the gap tends toward 1/8 or more, a Japanese style pull saw, thin kerf, fine teeth, does pretty good on slim cuts.
    – bib
    Mar 4, 2017 at 0:30

A miter box and a hand saw (or more properly a backsaw) should work (search on google for images)

This will also get you the ability to do accurate angle cuts.

  • 1
    If you're light on tools, you can use a bit of scrap wood to hold the saw along the line you want to cut: lay the scrap alongside or under your 2x4 but protruding by an inch or so - enough to reliably hold the saw blade. Clamp it and mark your cut across both pieces. Start cutting the scrap wood and it will hold the saw blade true to your thin cut line, even if bits of your wood break off. I Mar 5, 2017 at 21:37

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