“If engines had ears, I’d be an engineer.” -Anonymous
About this time last year, I had a need to rip some 7 foot 1×8 boards for use as French cleats.
Not a difficult feat with a table saw, but I was faced with the problem of how to do this with hand tools.
After several failed attempts at trying to mount the board on the work bench and tilt my saw at or near 45 degrees, I gave up and consulted the woodworking boards. Some of the suggestions I received, and probably the most viable ones, involved cutting the boards lengthwise with normal rip cuts, then hitting them with a hand plane at the required 45 degrees.
I didn’t relish the thought of putting that much planing work into several 7 foot boards. There had to be another way.
That’s when it occurred to me. Why not find a way to mount the boards at a 45 and do a normal vertical rip cut with the hand saw?
A little engineering (McGyvering?) work with some pieces of 2×4 (4×2 depending on which way you are holding them), some deck screws and some glue yielded this:
Clamp these jigs to the sawbench and go to town with the rip saw:
Voila! Cleats du Francois!!
There were a few add-ons and modifications to be made, such as some stops to keep the boards from leaping out of the vee, and some wedges to keep the Kerf from closing up and binding the blade, but the cuts were successful and maintained a good 45 or close to it for the length of the boards.
Even the local bees were impressed. Look closely to find one in this photo: