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Help getting straight cuts from my live edge slabs

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Forum topic by MarkHouse posted 06-20-2017 02:53 PM 1501 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MarkHouse

2 posts in 198 days


06-20-2017 02:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut table jointer wood biscuit joiner rustic

I’m fairly new to woodworking (and to this site) and this is my first larger project so I’m taking all precaution to make sure everything is right!

I’m making a dining room table from three pieces of live edge walnut – all are planed and drum sanded and I’m ready to cut the middle piece and the two inner sides of the outside two pieces (I want to keep the outside of the table as live edge) so I can joint them, biscuit join, glue and have myself a solid table top. However, I’m racking my brain on how to make sure my cuts are square, this is posing to be a challenge because of the live edge sides, there are no pre-existing square sides. I’ve read a few places that you should find your center on both ends and snap a line then grab your square, square up the ends and cut…but this doesn’t answer my question for ripping (track saw) down the side to make my perfectly square edges so I can glue the pieces together.

Any help would be SO greatly appreciated!!!

-- Mark House


10 replies so far

View JayT's profile

JayT

5453 posts in 2047 days


#1 posted 06-20-2017 03:06 PM

If your track saw has enough depth of cut, the way I would do it would be to lay the two outer pieces down and the center piece on top of them with the edges overlapping. Move and arrange until you get the look and grain alignment you want, clamp everything down tightly and cut both edges at once – center board on top and edge board underneath. That will assure they will mate up without having to worry about if the cut is perfectly square and you’ll be able to adjust the overall width to get the size you need.

Hope that makes sense.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2680 posts in 575 days


#2 posted 06-20-2017 03:08 PM

Are you worried about them being square to the ends (90 degrees to end grain) or side parallel to each other (center board).

You shouldn’t worry about squaring the end grain sides. When your table is glued up you cut the ends square to the rest of the table. That might be 1/4” cut or 2” depending on your glueup. That’s how I did it on my live edge table. My table had 4 slabs but same concept.

Do you have a tablesaw or just the track saw?

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8027 posts in 2413 days


#3 posted 06-20-2017 03:09 PM

Once you get a straight edge on both sides butt them together and then rip down the middle.

This will make for a perfect fit.

+1 for JayTs’ methods as well.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

666 posts in 1055 days


#4 posted 06-20-2017 03:17 PM

stack all 3 and clamp. make sure outside edges you want on the outside boards are stacked to each other.

mark both ends where ya want to cut. set your tracksaw up and cut all 3 at once.
take the fresh cuts and run across a jointer. run the middle piece through the table saw to rip to width.
run that edge across the jointer.

imo, “live edge” and “square” dont go together too good. live edge is freeflowing and square doesnt look good,imo.

View ClammyBallz's profile

ClammyBallz

424 posts in 973 days


#5 posted 06-20-2017 04:34 PM

Are the slabs longer than the track for your saw? Is that where your concern is on getting a straight cut?

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1006 posts in 1831 days


#6 posted 06-20-2017 04:40 PM

You could brad nail a long piece of hardboard to them, and use the straight edge on that to register against your TS fence.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View gargey's profile

gargey

861 posts in 612 days


#7 posted 06-20-2017 04:48 PM

Mark your lines, hand saw, jointer plane. Stack them on edge to check alignment, and adjust as needed.

View MarkHouse's profile

MarkHouse

2 posts in 198 days


#8 posted 06-21-2017 01:38 PM



If your track saw has enough depth of cut, the way I would do it would be to lay the two outer pieces down and the center piece on top of them with the edges overlapping. Move and arrange until you get the look and grain alignment you want, clamp everything down tightly and cut both edges at once – center board on top and edge board underneath. That will assure they will mate up without having to worry about if the cut is perfectly square and you ll be able to adjust the overall width to get the size you need.

Hope that makes sense.

- JayT


Are you worried about them being square to the ends (90 degrees to end grain) or side parallel to each other (center board).

You shouldn t worry about squaring the end grain sides. When your table is glued up you cut the ends square to the rest of the table. That might be 1/4” cut or 2” depending on your glueup. That s how I did it on my live edge table. My table had 4 slabs but same concept.

Do you have a tablesaw or just the track saw?

- ki7hy

This is great, thanks guys for the help! I never thought about cutting all at once – this should solve my problem!

-- Mark House

View FoundSheep's profile

FoundSheep

150 posts in 292 days


#9 posted 06-21-2017 01:48 PM

Not sure if any of this article could help, but it’s a good coincidence it came out. The chalk line is a nice tip.
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/milling-live-sawn-lumber
Are you looking to get a perfectly square cut from the saw? Or do you have a jointer (powered or hand) that you can run over the edges?

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9624 posts in 3484 days


#10 posted 06-21-2017 05:12 PM

You’re in over your head if you expect a
track saw to deliver glue-ready edges
for a fine table top.

You can rip it straight any way you like,
unless you’re using a big sliding table saw
it’s not likely to produce a nice glue line.

A decent sized jointer is the easiest way to
true and square the edge. It can be done
with a sharp jointer plane and considerable
care as well.

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