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How to rip boards with precision?

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Forum topic by BuffaloRob posted 10-18-2016 02:37 PM 765 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BuffaloRob

1 post in 65 days


10-18-2016 02:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw long cuts table track saw question

Hi there,
I’m a self-taught woodworker who has built 10 +/- tables using reclaimed barn wood. I”m really trying to improve the quality of the tables I make. I either use a table saw (Ridgid #4512) or a circular saw and simple guide to cut the sides of the boards. Neither method gets me a really straight even surface for joining to the other boards. When I use the table saw, the board tends to curve to the left just enough to cause a gap when lined up with a straight piece of lumber. When I use a circular saw and guide, it tends to be a straighter cut, but the circular saw doesn’t always run evenly so the cut isn’t always at a 90 angle, which again, makes for an uneven surface when lined up with another board.

Since I’m usually cutting longer boards (sometimes up to 8’ in length), I’m trying to decide if I need to buy an extended guide rail for my table saw, or if I should buy a tracksaw? Or if there is another option out there that you suggest? Thanks for any help you can give!


14 replies so far

View HickWillis's profile

HickWillis

72 posts in 120 days


#1 posted 10-18-2016 02:42 PM

Do you have any aversion to using either a hand jointer plane or a machine jointer? Either one will allow you to joint the edges of your boards properly so you don’t have any gaps.

Second hand hand jointers (like a Stanley no 7) can be had on ebay for a decent price. Machine jointers are definitely more expensive but will cut down on your working time.

Also, a much cheaper solution…you could look up how to build a jointer jig for your table saw.

-- -Will

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them700project

31 posts in 479 days


#2 posted 10-18-2016 03:30 PM

I have yet to pick up a tracksaw but I have a friend who will get as close as possible with tablesaw and put 2 pieces together once that is done he runs the tracksaw down the joint and it gives him a pretty perfect edge on both pieces. im not sure about the specifics of how to hold the pieces together during this process though

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

8074 posts in 1753 days


#3 posted 10-18-2016 03:35 PM



Do you have any aversion to using either a hand jointer plane or a machine jointer? Either one will allow you to joint the edges of your boards properly so you don t have any gaps.

Second hand hand jointers (like a Stanley no 7) can be had on ebay for a decent price. Machine jointers are definitely more expensive but will cut down on your working time.

Also, a much cheaper solution…you could look up how to build a jointer jig for your table saw.

- HickWillis

I agree with the above. My first stop would be a hand plane, second would be jointer jig, since you’ve already got the table saw.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

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Aj2

687 posts in 1259 days


#4 posted 10-18-2016 03:46 PM

Why not get a jointer?
The longer the beds the better.Your heading in that direction if table are working out well for you.

Aj

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4207 posts in 1660 days


#5 posted 10-18-2016 03:58 PM

When I use the table saw, the board tends to curve to the left just enough to cause a gap when lined up with a straight piece of lumber.

Sounds like either your stock is not straight, or your saw is not properly adjusted. Are you jointing one edge first or just ripping stock as you find it? How are you truing up the edge that rides along the fence?

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

687 posts in 848 days


#6 posted 10-18-2016 04:20 PM

As Brad pointed out, if your boards don’t have a perfectly straight edge to run against the fence to begin with, it is almost impossible to get a straight cut without a jig.

If you are getting the same imperfection every time. It is likely to be that your fence isn’t perfectly parallel to the miter slot, your blade isn’t parallel to the miter slot or possibly your riving knife or splitter, if you are using one, isn’t aligned properly with the blade. Burn marks are often a telltale sign of one of these problems as well. To check, first measure one tooth’s distance from the miter slot and then make sure that the same tooth rotated to the back of the saw is the same distance from the slot. If not, your blade needs to be adjusted. Next, check to make sure that your fence once locked down is the same distance from the miter slot at the front and back of the table. Finally, check your splitter/riving knife by holding a straight edge against both sides of the blade and splitter. The front and back of the splitter should be perfectly aligned with the blade and not sticking out on either side.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

330 posts in 1430 days


#7 posted 10-18-2016 05:00 PM

Feather boards also help with getting straight cuts on a table saw. Another issue is internal stresses in the wood. Many boards have these to some degree. The only way to solve this is to rip a board to a width slightly greater than you need, set it aside for a week and then saw to final width.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 941 days


#8 posted 10-18-2016 07:13 PM

First, you need to check your TS fence parallel to blade.
Then you need to consider whether there are any stresses in the wood or if the wood is sufficiently dry.

A riving knife or feather board are simply assist devices to keep the wood against the fence.

If the edge using a guided saw is not satisfactory, then a pass through the TS after ripping the other side should correct that.

Other option is build a straight cut jig for your TS. This requires a perfectly straight guide to which you can fix the board. I have successfully done this by using with the factory edge of plywood against the fence with the board clamped, screwed, nailed to the ply. You may also want to extend your fence by adding a piece of angle iron or something straight.

Ultmiately a jointer is the answer. If you’re willing to spend the money on a track saw, I would be looking into a power jointer.

You should also get a hand plane (5 or 6) to tweak the fit.

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

View CyberDyneSystems's profile

CyberDyneSystems

220 posts in 1649 days


#9 posted 10-18-2016 08:46 PM

It is a very simple matter to turn your table saw into an excellent edge joining tool. (assuming the fence is not your problem, but the stock is)

A “Glue Line Rip” blade will help, but is not the important part of the solution.

Get out the Board Straightener:

The trick is to build a straight edge sled the length of your material that has a perfectly true long edge on it. High quality cabinet grade 3/4 plywood is what I use. This is the edge that will ride along your table saw fence, making of even the most curved boards a perfectly dead true straight edge that matches the plywood edge exactly.

this is a very easy solution to your problem, and will cost you next to nothing if you happen to have the scrap laying around.

I’ve been using this trick since before the internet, but a quick search reveals that someone else out there has read the book “TableSaw Techniques” I found two youtube videos that cover it, in the first one video, jump to the 3rd method. This is pretty much exactly how I do it;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkLStVBnaW4

this shows the same method, but is a little long winded and does not really have a good camera angle.. I also don;t think the guy is as concerned with straightness as you and I are. But it might help show what I am talking about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rS_Q7fu5rM

We deal a lot in 16 foot pine in my shop, and well 16 footers often are not straight. So I have made a 16 foot long version of this for those long boards.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

817 posts in 381 days


#10 posted 10-18-2016 09:09 PM

BuffaloRob,

An option to consider would be to double cut a pair of planks that will be glued together with the circular saw equipped with a good rip blade. This can produce a pair of nearly perfectly mating edges even if the edges are not straight and/or square.

The planks are positioned for the double cut by butting them against one another as they will be positioned during glue-up. The boards are then clamped together at the ends to keep the boards in position during the cut. This could be accomplished by screwing a piece of scrap to the underside face of each board at the very ends. The straight edge guide is positioned so that the circular saw will cut through the adjoining edges at the same time. Depending on the size of the gap between the boards, this process may have to be repeated until material is cut from both boards. Once the double cut is completed, the screw holes left in the ends of the boards can be cut away when glued panel is cut to length.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#11 posted 10-18-2016 10:36 PM

Precise cuts start with a flat face and a straight reference edge that’s uniformally 90° to the flat face.

Without that, your best bet is to mate two surfaces as JBrow described, which essentially makes the deviations the same for both pieces throughout the cut so they match perfectly.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Bdobs13's profile

Bdobs13

13 posts in 93 days


#12 posted 10-19-2016 12:32 AM

So here is a dirty solution that I have used….

Get the boards as close to straight as possible and then glue them together making sure they are perfectly flat and not too worried about a perfect fit along the joint. Once the glue has dried, run the glue joint through the table saw with the center of the joint on the center of the blade. This will create a joint with two joining edges that match perfectly albeit the joint itself might not be 100% straight depending on your table saw setup.

I saw this suggestion originally with using a router and guide to go through the initial glue up joint.

-- 15 hours of youtube tutorials and research for my 20 min project...might need to rethink this...be back in 15 hours

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2345 posts in 2458 days


#13 posted 10-19-2016 03:58 AM

If you going to continue doing lots of tables. TRACK SAW is the way to go.
My table tops 3/4” thick I use Tongue and groove joint. “I run them through shaper”
My table tops 1 1/2” thick I use jointer and biiscuits

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7909 posts in 1841 days


#14 posted 10-19-2016 04:14 AM

Lot of great suggestions but there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to rip a straight edge with a circ saw + guide; or with a tablesaw + jointing jig. But the real solution is a jointer, that’s their purpose, everything else is a workaround.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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