Straightening rough cut lumber

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Forum topic by jasonallen posted 12-22-2013 11:38 PM 3705 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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175 posts in 1043 days

12-22-2013 11:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I am just wondering how everyone else straightens rough cut lumber. I have the type of board straighteners that clamp to a straight edge on one side and the board I am working with on the other. The main problem I have is when I run it across my table saw the clamps hold one side up off the table about 1/4 inch so I am always trying to hold the rest of the board level while cutting. I’ve thought of making some kind of shim to go under it, but wonder if there is a better way.

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

11 replies so far

View sgmdwk's profile


283 posts in 1295 days

#1 posted 12-23-2013 12:16 AM

I guess it isn’t clear to me what you are trying to do. How is the board warped? I have flattened one face of twisted or warped boards by shimming them on a sled to run through my planer. I have also flattened a face with my No. 6 hand plane. With a flat face, it is easy to joint one edge with a plane, a router, a jointer, or a jig on the table saw. Anyway, that’s what I do.

-- Dave K.

View MrFid's profile


793 posts in 1327 days

#2 posted 12-23-2013 12:35 AM

Are you talking about milling lumber?

Here are a few resources:

This is a Fine Woodworking video series for woodworking novices (please don’t take that the wrong way, I’ve watched the whole thing). There is a video about milling lumber that it sounds like you might find helpful.

Here is a blog from fellow LJ Patron about how to mill lumber. Pretty good pictures and writeup.

From a safety standpoint, I would be really hesitant to run a board through my table saw that was warped. At best you’ll end up with another imperfect face, at worst you’ll end up with an imperfect hand or arm. I wouldn’t ever make a cut on the table was without having a face register flat against the bottom, and another face register flat against a fence.

FYI: The blog above and video require the use of a jointer, planer, and table saw. If you don’t have all those machines, you can use handplanes to flatten with a bit of time and energy. If that’s your route, here’s Paul Sellers flattening and jointing a board (from rough to square and straight) in 45 minutes. Definitely a worthy watch. Best of luck!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

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3940 posts in 1927 days

#3 posted 12-23-2013 01:21 AM

jason, pictures would be nice. :-)

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2236 days

#4 posted 12-23-2013 01:26 AM

Straightening an edge of S2S lumber is perfectly fine with a sled. I think it becomes unsafe if you try to run truly rough lumber across the TS.

Normally you would start at the jointer to flatten a face. Then square an adjacent edge.
Then you can move to the planer to thickness the board.
Finally cut to width at the TS.

If you don’t have a jointer, you need to get creative with sleds.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#5 posted 12-23-2013 01:34 AM

You can try snapping a chalk line and cutting it with the
band saw or a Sawzall. I’ve used the widgets that
clamp to the edge of the board. After that one edge
is straight, you unclamp it and run the beveled
straight edge against the fence to rip the other
edge straight. It’s definitely not the most attractive

I usually skip plane the board or hand plane it roughly to
get an idea what the board is like, then decide where
I’m going to crosscut it or lay out parts to be bandsawn
out. While it is sometimes necessary to straight-line
an 8’ or longer board, mostly it isn’t in furniture scale
work and leads to more waste.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1060 days

#6 posted 12-23-2013 01:40 AM

I use my brad nailer and tack a straight board on one side, rip it straight and then rip the other side. Forget the clamps. I’ve also used screws

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View gfadvm's profile


14932 posts in 2113 days

#7 posted 12-23-2013 02:31 AM

I use the same method as Vertigo above to straighten boards I mill from logs. 2 brad nails are sufficient for a 10’ board. I use a roller stand in front of the tablesaw and a long outfeed table behind it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jasonallen's profile


175 posts in 1043 days

#8 posted 12-23-2013 02:56 AM

Thanks for the tips. I will tack a straight board to it next time, that sounds like the solution I’ve been looking for. The clamps just aren’t much fun.

-- Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.

View mbs's profile


1601 posts in 2363 days

#9 posted 12-23-2013 03:30 AM

I have a metal straight edge with two small holes in it. I hammer a small nail in the hole similar to the others who use a board.

I don’t know if you have a track saw (like a felstool) but they also straight line well too.

I also like using the bandsaw to get it close then use a jointer.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View quvia's profile


103 posts in 1090 days

#10 posted 12-23-2013 04:26 AM

iI have an 8 ft metal straight edge and clamp it to the board at each end and cut it with my hand saw. Then run it to width on the table saw. Keeps the nail hole out of my board.

-- Ted ,Conesus,N.Y.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21579 posts in 1761 days

#11 posted 12-23-2013 11:56 AM

Clamps are constantly in the road. A hold down sled is the easiest way to go on the table saw. I love working with slabs, but you have to be creative at times.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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