Terms of the Trade: What Is Tearout?

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Tearout is a common problem among beginning woodworkers. It occurs as a blade exits a piece of wood when the fibers aren't supported, typically on the edges, and results in splitting or other surface damage. There are multiple ways to combat tearout depending on the type of saw being used. A common solution with a table saw is to use a piece of plywood clamped onto the edge of the saw surface that offers support as the board pushes against it.