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Is it safe to rip a 1" deep cut in a half-log?

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Forum topic by Sean posted 08-14-2018 02:01 PM 1188 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Sean

4 posts in 43 days


08-14-2018 02:01 PM

I recently fell and bucked a dead oak tree on my property, which gives me a little bit of wood to play with (I know, it probably still needs to dry a bit). So I halved one of the logs on my band saw, and I’d like to make a few 1” deep rips through it in order to give me enough space to fit in a piece of copper tubing. Is it safe to do this on my table saw? Do I just make a pass, and then adjust the fence over appropriately in order to make another pass, and then repeat until the desired width is reached?

Some context & my skill level: Like most people, I took woodshop throughout high-school, went to county fair, etc., so I know the basics. Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve done small projects here and there, but never anything complicated, as I never had my own shop. I recently moved to a new home where I now have a completely separate garage that I’m turning into a shop, and as I start exploring new projects, I just want to make sure I’m working safe.

Thanks all.

-Sean


13 replies so far

View smitdog's profile

smitdog

397 posts in 2227 days


#1 posted 08-14-2018 02:07 PM

I wouldn’t think the edges of the log would be straight enough to run on the fence safely. Maybe you could use a circular saw with a straight edge. Does it need to be pretty? If not you could just rough carve it out with a chain saw.

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

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Underdog

1171 posts in 2157 days


#2 posted 08-14-2018 02:09 PM

If you can put it on a sled and clamp it down that would be the safest alternative.

OR..

Use a skill saw on some kind of track and have it clamped to the half log, with the log being secured in some manner so it doesn’t roll on you.

The problem with just running it through as a half log, is that you’re dealing with a live edge against the fence.
It’s inconsistent. And inconsistency is trouble when using high RPM blades to machine stock.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

448 posts in 2692 days


#3 posted 08-14-2018 02:10 PM

I don’t see any reason why you can’t, but -

The first thing you’ll need to do is make a jig of some sort to hold it parallel to the fence. Since a log isn’t perfectly straight, as you move the fence over you’ll run the risk of the wood rocking/shifting.

Also, you may want to creep up on it, especially if the wood is wet – don’t do the full 1” depth at one time. Maybe do 1/2” deep across the width of your cut, then go back & do the rest.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3973 posts in 1889 days


#4 posted 08-14-2018 02:18 PM

If you cut your half log fairly straight, you can run it over a jointer/planer till you get a good flat surface. Then flip it 90 degrees and put the flat side against the jointer’s fence and run it several time until you set that side straight. By now you should have two flat and squared surfaces to work with.
If you have a steady hand, get a chalk line and snap a line on one side (flat part down) and use it as a guide while using the bandsaw. Then take it to the jointer for final flattening.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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Lazyman

2399 posts in 1509 days


#5 posted 08-14-2018 02:19 PM

Kickback is a real danger here. Two considerations off the top of my head:
1) The flat side you cut on the bandsaw need to be perfectly flat. If it rocks in any way when you lay on the surface of the table saw, no go. If you have a jointer you can flatten there. Otherwise, you would need to use a hand plane to flatten.
2) You need a straight edge to run along the fence, so you either need to cut a straight edge along one side of your log on the bandsaw (and make sure it is perfectly straight) or you need to clamp the log to a board that you can slide along the fence. Theoretically, if the log is short enough that it is in full contact with the fence before and after the cut, it may be possible to run the log along the fence as is but if you can rock it at all when it is against the fence, it is not safe.

A safer approach would be to use a router, especially if you have a router table.

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

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Lazyman

2399 posts in 1509 days


#6 posted 08-14-2018 02:24 PM

One other option if the log is short enough is to stand it on end and cut the kerf on the bandsaw. Even safer than the router.

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

View Steve's profile

Steve

608 posts in 704 days


#7 posted 08-14-2018 02:50 PM

Lazyman stole all my ideas and summed up your choices perfectly.

I’ve run small logs through my TS, but I didn’t like the stress it put on the blade due to the log not being 100% straight.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1318 posts in 284 days


#8 posted 08-14-2018 03:42 PM

”I’d like to make a few 1” deep rips through it in order to give me
enough space to fit in a piece of copper tubing”.

Sean, no comment on the cutting techniques:
my question is what is the purpose of the copper tubing embedded in the cut ???

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

View Sean's profile

Sean

4 posts in 43 days


#9 posted 08-14-2018 04:19 PM

Sean, no comment on the cutting techniques:
my question is what is the purpose of the copper tubing embedded in the cut ???

Hi John,

I make water features, and I’m just toying around with new ideas.

-Sean

View Sean's profile

Sean

4 posts in 43 days


#10 posted 08-14-2018 04:21 PM

Thanks everyone for your response. I’m glad I held off on making that cut, as it sounds like running the log as-is over the blade is risky. I think I’ll either make a jig for the table saw & dado blade setup, or just run it over my router table instead.

Thanks again – I really appreciate all the suggestions and comments.

-Sean

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1318 posts in 284 days


#11 posted 08-14-2018 04:25 PM

I see – - – - well, then, if you are going to run water over your log,
it doesn’t really matter if it is dry or not, does it ?
my experience with copper and water is that, eventually, the copper
WILL turn the wood green as it oxidizes – - – strongly suggest you use
vinyl tubing and fittings for your water features. (unless, you actually want the green
patina in your wood). sounds like a fun project.

I would use a handheld router: you can free-hand the router to make several passes
to make the groove with a pattern bit for the tubing – it’s not all that difficult.
you will have way more control over the router in your hands vs on a table.

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

View Sean's profile

Sean

4 posts in 43 days


#12 posted 08-14-2018 05:03 PM


I see – - – - well, then, if you are going to run water over your log,
it doesn t really matter if it is dry or not, does it ?
my experience with copper and water…

Yep – definitely turns green! I’ve had good results by “painting” a light layer of clear epoxy resin over the bark first. It preserves the natural look, and only small areas here and there end up turning. I think it makes for a neat look.

OK – I’ll try the handheld router first and see how that goes. If I end up with a decent prototype, I’ll share the pics.

Thanks!

-Sean

View Harryn's profile

Harryn

71 posts in 2709 days


#13 posted 08-14-2018 07:23 PM

Nail a 2 by to one edge to give you a straight edge against the fence.

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