Yeah. A Bandsaw Would Be Nice.

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Blog entry by Eric posted 08-04-2008 05:43 PM 1187 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Today I began a little reverse engineering project for a friend. He saved a sofa from the junk heap, but it was missing one cushion support frame. I told him it shouldn’t be too hard to make a matching one. So here’s what the original one looks like:

01 original

The width of those outer boards is pretty close to 2”, so I figured it would just take a couple rips of a 2×4 to get these parts. I ran a line down the 2×4 with my marking gauge (although it’s never satisfying trying to cut with the grain), out comes the ryoba, and let the show begin!

01 resaw 1

As you can see, I have zero clamping options with my current setup. How do you go about resawing with a handsaw anyway? I started on one end and changed to the other end when it got too difficult. My saw stayed with the line on the top, but on the bottom it was a different matter. Here’s a shot of the bottom of the board after I finished my resawing. Notice how I had to stop in mid-cut and just finish coming from the original direction. Oops.

01 resaw 3

Needless to say, it don’t look so hot.

01 resaw 2

Because I need to cut some 1/2” mortises in this 3/4” wood, this gack left me with too little room to work with, so I’m going to have to scrap this attempt.

If any of you have any tips on resawing with a handsaw, I’m all ears! But in retrospect, here’s what I think I’ll do differently:
  1. Clamp a board on either side of the board I’m cutting, aligned with my line. The boards will act as a guide for my saw. As long as I keep my blade flush against the clamped boards, my line should be straight.
  2. Position the board straight up and down and just cut down from top to bottom, rather than along the face of the board. Seems like I’d have a more consistent cut that way. If I have two boards clamped on the outside, the whole apparatus would probably be heavy and stable enough that I could just pin it against the bench with my other arm while sawing.

-- Eric at

11 comments so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3964 days

#1 posted 08-04-2008 05:51 PM

I like the idea of clamping a board to either side as a guide. It’s simple and functional. However, knowing my abilities with handtools, I bought a tablesaw.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3921 days

#2 posted 08-04-2008 06:46 PM

Clamping a board as a guide should help. But I think I would resaw by hand by standing the board on end with a good marking line to go by. Resawing like you’ve started with would be difficult at best. If you saw flat – I would have started at the other end and work back towards you. If you use a marking knife you can make a pretty good trough for the saw to follow. Flipping end to end will almost always end up with a misaligned cut.

Just my two cents. I admire you for doing so much with so little, just shows if you want to do something—you’ll figure a way to do it.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4016 days

#3 posted 08-04-2008 07:29 PM

Buy a straight edge and a circular saw or a jig saw :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4022 days

#4 posted 08-04-2008 08:57 PM

Stand on the board and cut from above, pulling the saw straight up. Be the vise.

Check out Toshio Odate’s book:

pic from:

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#5 posted 08-04-2008 09:20 PM

Same idea as Dorje – try clamping the board standing up, and saw it from top to bottom – this way it’s easier to keep that line straight – and if you clamp another board on the side, you can use that as a guide to follow with your saw, so that your body position is more balanced and easier to work in, and you’re also guided by the 2nd board- that way there are really not much that can throw you off…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4016 days

#6 posted 08-04-2008 10:46 PM

Woah, that’s an awesome pic Dorje. What they don’t show though is the next pic where Toshio sits weeping beside the slab, cradling both pieces of the saw he’s just cracked over his head in frustration :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3769 days

#7 posted 08-05-2008 12:27 AM

Eric, I use Japanese saws only. The problem with the Ryoba is the blade is really to thin to be much good for anything but short cuts. The saw that Toshio is using has a thicker blade, therefore it doesn’t wander in the cut as much. All of the saws that I use have a splined back, which doesn’t do you much good when trying to rip a board down the length. You either need to get yourself a western rip saw, or do the guide and circular saw thing.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3809 days

#8 posted 08-05-2008 03:59 AM

Thanks for your comments and tips, everyone. But NO! I am not going to give in and buy a circular saw. Well, for now anyway. :^)

-- Eric at

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4194 days

#9 posted 08-05-2008 04:09 AM

I’d revert to what I know best. Plane old hand saw with rip teeth.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View GaryCN's profile


324 posts in 3959 days

#10 posted 08-05-2008 07:25 AM

Guide with skil saw see image below

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3840 days

#11 posted 08-06-2008 01:53 AM

Follow dorje’s advice plus put a mirror on the other side so you can see the line.

-- Scott - Chico California

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