Ripping stair balusters in half.

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Forum topic by jsnair posted 01-23-2018 06:17 PM 369 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2787 days

01-23-2018 06:17 PM

I want to build a permanent baby gate to go at the bottom of my stairs to prevent the dog from using the stairs. I have 5 leftover stair balusters that are 1 1/4” think that I would like to use for the baby gate but they are too thick and will result in something I consider too bulky. I’d like to rip these in half but being a novice woodworker I am struggling with the best way to do this. I first attempted this on my bandsaw with a simple straightedge clamped down to act as a fence but the blade wandered way to much to get a perfect cut right down the middle. I suppose I could try free handing it on the bandsaw but I’d like to be a little more exact than that.

I was then thinking of a way I can do this safely on the table saw. Should I temporarily screw the baluster to something flat so there is always something to ride up against the fence? I’ve included a picture of the exact baluster below. Any help is appreciated.


6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4909 posts in 2429 days

#1 posted 01-23-2018 06:46 PM

What you want to do will work well, but you will have screw holes left in 1/2 of it (maybe not a big deal).... but be sure to use screws that are short enough you won’t saw into them. Sounds dumb to say that, but trust me on this! If you want to salvage both halves, you could use a good double stick tape to hold one side to a flat piece and then rip it. Also consider the thicker kerf the table saw will cut. If you’re not trying to salvage both halves, saw away and offset it slightly so you get one good half and toss the thinner one. Also, (another obvious point) think this through so you can cut it safely.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View cabmaker's profile


1707 posts in 2745 days

#2 posted 01-23-2018 10:31 PM

Do you have a bandsaw ?

View Knockonit's profile


336 posts in 138 days

#3 posted 01-24-2018 01:18 AM

is two sided tape out of the question in lieu of screws to adhere a piece and cut gingerly

View jsnair's profile


10 posts in 2787 days

#4 posted 01-24-2018 07:14 PM

Thanks for the advice. I do have a bandsaw but no fence for it yet and with the makeshift fence I was trying to use wasnt working out too well. I think double sided tape may be the way to go since I am trying to salvage both halves of the baluster

View verdesardog's profile


156 posts in 2547 days

#5 posted 01-27-2018 01:41 PM

Easiest, no screws, no tape…way to do that would be to use a long straight board attached to the fence of your saw, long enough to run the pieces you want to cut against. IE, long fence.

-- .. heyoka ..

View jsnair's profile


10 posts in 2787 days

#6 posted 01-31-2018 02:48 PM

Just an update that I was able to get this done last night and still have all my fingers. I went with the double-sided tape idea and used a fresh blade to be extra safe. Worked great. Thanks

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