How do I make a long rip cut?

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Forum topic by hjt posted 03-01-2011 04:18 AM 12640 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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834 posts in 3160 days

03-01-2011 04:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw skill saw jig saw circ saw tapper cut rip

Hi everyone, Ignoramus here. This is going to sound like such a stupid question to you boys and girls who actually have skills in wood working, so be gentle.

I have a 70 inch board that is 4.25 inches wide. I need to rip this so that it remains 4.25 inches wide at one end and tappers to 4.00 inches wide at the other end.

Could I use my table or Radial Arm Saws to make such a cut? Would you??

I guess I could use my jig saw and a fence but not certain of the quality of the cut. I felt the cut to be to thin to do anything other than a hack job should I use a circ saw (remembering that I have tools, not skills.) I put the Rough in Rough carpentry!

Thank you

-- Harold

38 replies so far

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3110 days

#1 posted 03-01-2011 04:31 AM

you normally use a table saw for taper cuts, with a taper jig, but for such a long taper, I prefer to use a portable circular saw with a straight edge clamped to the baord to guide the saw.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3072 days

#2 posted 03-01-2011 04:42 AM


BY the time you make a taper jig that long, you could clamp a guide board to it, put a decent blade on your circ saw, and cut it. You don’t say what kind of wood it is or what it’s for, but I have real good luck getting high-quality cuts guiding my circ saw. Some could do it with a jig saw, a bandsaw would be possible, but the quality would suffer, the neanderthals among us would use a hand plane, but they just LOVE to suffer. I’d just use the circ saw. That way, the work piece doesn’t move (it IS a little long to move through a tablesaw unless you have a really nice outfeed table—and you still have to make a big taper jig) make sure your guide is positioned right, and let ‘er rip so to speak. If it makes you feel any better, I just did that with a 7’ piece of cherry I didn’t have room in the shop to rip. Cleaned up the edge on the jointer and it’s fine.

PS The only stupid question is the one you DIDN’T ask.

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3548 days

#3 posted 03-01-2011 04:44 AM

If you want to make a rather simple jig/sled, maybe something like this:
It will cut any angle you set your wood at.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 3734 days

#4 posted 03-01-2011 04:48 AM

I agree with the guys above. I have done this with a board clamped as a straight edge. Might be worth your while to buy a new blade for your circular saw, I run carbide tipped in mine.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View hjt's profile


834 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 03-01-2011 05:06 AM

Wow – 4 out of 4 suggest a circ saw. Guess I’ll be clamp a straight edge and ripping with a circ saw. Now decissions – decissions. Do I use my battery op Ridgid or my corded Milwaulkee??? Hmm.

Thanks for your quick replies fellow jocks.

Kindlingmaker – I checked out your sled… WOW!!! Thats neat! As I’ve stated in many other spots in this site, the skills LJ members have is unreal – and me, I get excited when I cut a straight line.

-- Harold

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3843 days

#6 posted 03-01-2011 05:11 AM

Harold, the Ridgid should be able to do the job. I use mine routinely to break down plywood and it has a better cut and the battery lasts much longer than my Dewalt.

And, if you want a fifth, I would use a circular saw in combination with a straight edge as well to do the cut you are describing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3286 days

#7 posted 03-01-2011 05:14 AM

I would use the corded milwaulkee for sure. The battery op saws never have enough power to cut well enough for me, especially ripping.

If you have decent experience with your circular saw I would suggest popping a line with a chalk line from mark to mark on either end of the board and just taek your time and cut it without a guide. I work construction and run a circular saw quite a bit and this would be a fairly simple cut. Just make sure you have it supported well and clamp it so it doesn’t move on your and you should be able to make a good cut. (check to make sure the board is straight first, if it is bowed you may have to copensate)

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3286 days

#8 posted 03-01-2011 05:15 AM

Scott, just saw your post after mine, I guess you have gotten better results with a battery saw then I have. Maybe I was expecting to much out of the saw and they really are nice tools.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View hjt's profile


834 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 03-01-2011 05:34 AM

Scott – just to clarify, were you stating that you’d be the 5th to recommend the circ saw, or were you suggesting I should have “a 5th” on hand to help me cope with my frustration??? BTW – I like your closing tag lines – God bless you Brother.

Sailor… you have far more run time with your tools then I, my friend. I’m concerned to cut this with just a chalk line and no straight edge to help guide me. If I had plenty of wood on each side of the blade I’d be less apprehensive, but since the cut will be so thin and the run so long (max 1/4 inch of wood tapering to -0- over 70 inches) I’ll op for the straight edge (and the 5th suggested by Scott.)

-- Harold

View greg48's profile


601 posts in 2779 days

#10 posted 03-01-2011 05:40 AM

Harold, Like you I never had much luck cutting with a circ. saw even with a clamped fence-to much blade chatter and splintering where the blade exits the wood. Instead, I rough cut with a circ. saw or reciprocating saw proud of the finished line then hand plane to the finish line. Takes a bit longer, but there is nothing as satisfying as a long curl of wood shaving (well almost nothing as satisfying). Good luck to and cut safely.

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View hjt's profile


834 posts in 3160 days

#11 posted 03-01-2011 05:45 AM

Greg – I don’t have a hand planer but do have a jointer/planer. I can see if I used a hand planer, I could plan down certain sections of the edge. Can I use my table jointer/planer to clean up certain sections too – in other words not planning the full 70 inches??

-- Harold

View Mark Brown's profile

Mark Brown

10 posts in 2715 days

#12 posted 03-01-2011 06:13 AM

Another option is to temporarily nail or screw another board to the board you want to cut. The temporary board should hang over the width of your board and be attached at an angle to match the taper you want. Then you can run the board with the temporary board attached through your table saw with the edge of the temporary board riding along the fence. I believe you will end up with a smooth continuous taper.

-- Mark, Pearland Tx

View riooso's profile


38 posts in 2668 days

#13 posted 03-01-2011 06:55 AM

If you have a straight board one can clamp the straight board on top of the one you want to cut and either use a router flush bit or use the board as a guide using a beefy 1/2 router slotting bit. You did not give the thickness of the board you wish to cut but if it is 1” or less this will work very well.

Take Care,

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2943 days

#14 posted 03-01-2011 08:50 AM

The problem I am thinking on this is the taper of .25 at 70 in …. Best way is..
1. mount a guide wood 70 inches or more, rigid and around 2×4.25 inches width (same width with wood to be cut) with a spacer of 1/4 inch on one end, 1/8 inch in the middle and none on the other end.
2. glue the guide wood to the stock to be cut on different points specially the middle and both ends. Note: Sometimes, I do nail it to the guide but I use 1 inch nail. Or you can use a dowel and glue. The circular saw with carbide teeth can cut the nail but be careful. You will realize now that there is a gap of .25 on the other end. This will cater for the taper when you cut. By the way you can now use a Table Saw in this case.
3. Then mark your saw cut line depending on which side will be your guide edge for the circular saw. Double cut it if the cutting capacity of the circular saw is not enough.

I just read late that Mark Brown has the same idea as mine. Thanks Mark

-- Bert

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2943 days

#15 posted 03-01-2011 09:03 AM

Planing is different method here…
Cut two pieces of the same taper wood and use a double tape to stick them together temporarily arranging opposite end sides. This way you get the exact thickness all through out. You can use now thicknesser or any planning method.

Hope you will be happy now. Do not waste the other piece because you may need it again as jig.

-- Bert

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