OK, I'm agonizing over how to best make this cut...

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 08-25-2013 07:03 PM 1115 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 2526 days

08-25-2013 07:03 PM

Building my easel. It has a sliding frame within a frame. The design calls for the inner frame, outer edge, to be slotted with a 1/8 slot, it’s full 70 inch length. At the top of the OUTER frame, the guy wants me to take a hand saw and cut a 1/8 slot across the top end grain, such that it exactly matches (lines up with) the slot in the inner frame edge.

Ideally, I’d like to stand the outer frame rail on end and pass it through the table saw. The slot placement would be exactly the same as the inner frame rail ….. that is assuming I survive the operation. Just sounds like a recipe for disaster standing a 70 inch long piece on end and slotting the end grain (the outer frame member is 2-1/2 inches wide).

Then there was the thought of locking the fence down, lowering the blade all the way, clamping the piece to the fence and slowly raising the blade. That sounds safer than trying to move the piece through the saw, but….. I can’t help but picture myself trying to explain what went wrong.

Lastly…. and probably the safest… I can mark the location of where the slot needs to be by scribing it off the inner frame rail (after I’ve cut the slot in in that rail), stand the outer frame rail on edge and feed it into the band saw (with a 1/3”, 3TPI blade).

I don’t think it will be as clean of a cut and I don’t know that my level of proficiency will get it exact, but if I purposely go ever so slighly over size I can at least shim the 1/8” aluminum bar stock that is to go in the slot and engage the inner frame rail.

Sheesh…. I think too much…

The outer frame rail is supposed to be final sized at 70 inches long. Right now it’s 78. So I have room for a couple of tries on the band saw….

I think I just talked myself into the band saw method :)

7 replies so far

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2526 days

#1 posted 08-25-2013 08:03 PM

OK… band saw is better than I thought. Got a nice fit on the aluminum bar stock. I can cut off the piece I just did and use it for setting up the table saw to get the spacing. Hope that works. If I’m off I won’t know until I try to set the inner frame and I’ll have to get in that slot with a file to make any fine adjustments.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2526 days

#2 posted 08-26-2013 01:16 AM

Not sure if this could have worked out any better. Carefully measured and marked the outer frame and cut a slot 1/8 inch wide in the end grain. Used my practice piece as a guide to set up the table saw to slot the edge of the inner frame member. The slots match perfectly. I’d be tempted to call it luck but I did it twice so I must be getting better with the band saw. :-)

View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2512 days

#3 posted 08-26-2013 12:18 PM


As you have so wisely decided, the band saw is the safest method, or even a hand saw is better than trying to feed that unruly 78” narrow board thru your TS standing on end.
However, you could raise the TS blade all the way and cut the slot to nearly the needed depth, without changing the fence setting your assured that the slots are aligned the same, and finish with a hand saw or band saw.

”Sheesh…. I think too much…” Not in this case.

When in doubt, I err on the side of Safety first.

Best Regards. – Len

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2526 days

#4 posted 08-26-2013 01:18 PM

The troublesome slot is 1/8” wide, cut across the end grain of a 2-1/4” wide (x 3/4” ) board. The depth of the cut is an inch and a half. One of the things I found out was that the fold-down shelf on my step ladder is exactly the same height as my band saw table. Obviously wouldn’t work for anything with weight to it, but to just hold up the other end of this board it worked out great :)

I just took my time setting the fence on the band saw and…. well I got good results :)

View EEngineer's profile


1119 posts in 3853 days

#5 posted 08-26-2013 01:51 PM

Sheesh…. I think too much…

I learned woodworking at the feet of my father and grandfather. We all ended up with similar workhabits and that certainly is not a coincidence. My grandfather would spend a lot of time working out the safest way to cut tricky items. He would sometimes spend twice as long making a jig to cut something safely than it took to actually make the desired cuts.

Did I mention that both my father and my grandfather died with all ten of their digits?

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2526 days

#6 posted 08-26-2013 02:51 PM

yeah I tend to be really cautious in addition to probably over thinking stuff. I’m building an easel because I am also an artist. The artist says, “It’s an EASEL. All it does it hold a canvas!”.

The woodworker is saying, “OK I know how I can put this together, but how can I do it the best way?”

AND…. I need all my digits to do my artwork! So ….. if I set up the table saw to make a cut. It will make the cut. All I have to do is feed it. Then my brain starts doing the “where are your hands?, where is the blade?,where are your hands?”..... Same for anything that can hurt me. Even non-power tools. I have a friend and very experienced woodworker who shove a freshly sharpened chisel into his forearm.

He knew better than to make that cut, but did it anyways. I don’t want to be that guy.

I have to stand in front of this thing for hours. I’m also thinking about building a couple more to sell. It’s a niche market so it’s not like I’m going to sell 100 of them. I’d also want mine to be like a sample for people to look at and decide if they want to buy one.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2924 days

#7 posted 08-26-2013 07:43 PM

If you have the headroom, a tenon jig would work on the TS. And they do sell slot cutting router bits!!! And finally a biscuit jointer would at least let you start the cut. And yeah…I overthink too but only to not buy yet another machine that will get limited use…if I can avoid the first-aid box with a tool I already have, I figure my time is cheaper than band-aids.

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