- When you're cutting across or against the grain of the wood (a cross-cut), use tape on your cut line. Like masking tape. It'll help keep splintering on the edges to a minimum.
- Apply stain BEFORE cutting. It will help prevent the discolorations or saturation of color on splintered edges (if you have any). I also apply a wood conditioner before staining to make sure the stain goes on evenly.
- When drilling holes, put the piece of wood you're drilling through on top of a throw-away piece of wood. Clamp the two together so they are secure and drill. You won't have blow-out splintering on the backside like you get when you just drill through the top piece of wood by itself.
- Don't stand on the table saw legs to help you get leverage to finish getting a huge piece of ply through the saw when it gets stuck right at the very end. My Dad is mortified that I resorted to this once or twice. But I had a deadline, people, and the wood had to be cut! (I won't do it again, though.)
Now get out there and create some knock-offs! Just kidding about that.