Cutting straight edge with a table saw

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Forum topic by theeveningwood posted 06-03-2015 03:38 AM 1227 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 522 days

06-03-2015 03:38 AM

I’m doing my first table top that consists of 2×6 put together. I need to get a straight edge cut and then run through the jointer. I know a track saw would be one way to do this. I used a board I had that I knew was straight and lightly nailed it to the board I wanted a straight edge on…I nailed it overhanging and ran the overhanging part against my table saw fence. Are there other ways to do this? Better ways? When lumber doesn’t have a perfectly straight edge…how do you get one?

9 replies so far

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3940 posts in 1925 days

#1 posted 06-03-2015 04:04 AM

I joint the edge first and then run through the tablesaw.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

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13077 posts in 1278 days

#2 posted 06-03-2015 04:21 AM

I have done exactly what you’ve done when it’s a live edge or very crooked piece. If it’s within 1/2” or so, I just use the jointer. You can make a jig with a straight edge such as plywood with hold downs mounted on it so that you don’t have to put any nails in your piece. You could also just scribe a straight line on it and use a circular saw to cut the line, then take it to the jointer.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View warrenski's profile


6 posts in 512 days

#3 posted 06-03-2015 06:04 AM

Most folks would start by jointing a face. Then place that flat face against the jointer fence to joint an edge. That gives you a straight, flat face to reference from in your planer and a straight, flat edge to run against your table saw fence to ensure the edges are parallel.

If you don’t have all those tools, or if your jointer tables are short compared to your stock, your technique will be helpful—but since nail holes can mar the table top you might want to consider using double-sided tape to hold your known straight board to the one you are cutting. (Or a jig as suggested above: probably worthwhile if you are going to have to do it repeatedly).

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2119 posts in 902 days

#4 posted 06-03-2015 11:24 AM

I’ve used your technique and it works fine. I’ve also used a straight edge and circ saw.

But—If the lumber is that crooked, I personally wouldn’t use it for a table top unless I had no other choice.

Times when we just have to use the lumber, we just have to remember there is a reason the board is that warped.

With that much stress in the wood be prepared for a lot of movement and multiple trips to the jointer and plenty of time allowed for acclimation between millings. So don’t cut it to final dimension in one shot.

Hope all goes well.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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222 posts in 636 days

#5 posted 06-03-2015 12:43 PM

Your way is good but a better method would be to switch out the nails for double sided tape, that way you don’t mar the project wood. If you don’t have a jointer, this will give you a nice straight edge to work from.

-- Talent, brilliance, and humility are my virtues.

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667 posts in 644 days

#6 posted 06-03-2015 05:41 PM

You can make your own track saw fence with some half decent 1/2” ply and 1X stock. I tend to go with that instead of the TS when the mat item is longer than 6’ and wider than 3’, (not enough room in shop) and the fence isn’t long enough for my taste.

You can avoid nail holes, use DS sticky tape for the jig if you’re only doing a couple pieces.

-- I meant to do that!

View PhillipRCW's profile


383 posts in 686 days

#7 posted 06-11-2015 01:34 PM

You can make a jig using scrap plywood and some cheap hold downs from harbor freight to get a straight edge, but why not just run it on the jointer first?

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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324 posts in 1391 days

#8 posted 06-11-2015 06:55 PM

Some of us don’t have jointers.

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2263 posts in 1791 days

#9 posted 06-11-2015 07:17 PM

Some of us don t have jointers.

- dschlic1

Yeah, but the OP said that he was going to use a jointer.

I agree with the Robert, that if the piece is that crooked, perhaps find a piece that isn’t and use that for the top. Even if it doesn’t continue to warp/twist on you, it sounds like you’ll end up losing a fair amount just trying to get it milled straight.

If you’re using 2×6’s from the BORG, you might have better luck getting 2×8’s or 2×10’s and then ripping your stock from that, and then jointing/planning to final size. If you found one of the wider boards with the pith to one side, you could rip an almost quartersawn 2×6 off the good side. More waste, yes, but more stable wood.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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