|Forum topic by LJackson||posted 03-08-2014 03:47 AM||1889 views||1 time favorited||45 replies|
03-08-2014 03:47 AM
I don’t have a single straight, flat board in the workshop. Not a one. Not a piece of hardwood, softwood, plywood, or MDF. I’m trying to rectify that situation so that I can use some of this wood, and failing miserably.
I am using the technique illustrated in this video, The 4-Square Method by Ron Brown and Paul Therrien tl;dr: They use a straight edge as a guide for non-straight wood. So, I tried that, by using my four-foot level. Well, it didn’t come out all that well. The edge is pretty rough with saw blade spirals, and where I had to pause to pick up the push block.
But, I figured it was kinda straight. So, then I proceeded to rip a one-inch piece and that piece tapered at the end. I think it was because the push block was pushing the wood into the blade as there wasn’t enough room on the other side of the blade to push the wood without encountering the blade guard. I never see anyone using a table saw with a blade guard, but I wouldn’t dare not to.
Okay, so I tried the original technique again, since I had screwed up the straight edge on the second cut, and this time I carefully straightened the edge, and then flipped it and straightened the other edge. I managed to get the wood parallel to within a few hundreths of a millimeter. Not too bad, but still rough edges, and the beginning and end are a bit wobbly.
But, then I went to cut another one inch piece, and when it came out of the table saw, it was really warped! I think that might have been because it was run right through a knot. Does that happen typically? This is 1×4 pine from the box store.
So, now I have two approximately one inch wide pieces of pine which, when butted together, barely touch in two places, let alone have long straight edges! At the worst, they’re more than 1/8” apart.
I don’t know where to go with this. There’s a million thoughts running through my head right now. I’m going to go to a real lumber yard tomorrow to see if perhaps their wood at least looks straighter and flatter than the wood at the box store. I may buy a sheet of 3/4 birch plywood, but as none of my existing plywood is flat, I am skeptical that this will stay flat as well, if I am lucky enough to get a sheet that starts out flat.
I’m also thinking of picking up a straightedge of some type (like a framing square, perhaps), and using it as a guide for the flush trim bit in my router. I’ve read that people do not consider these things to be straight, but I do not know where else to start. This article How to Build a Simple Circular Saw Guide for Straighter Cuts simply says “You’ll need a straight 8-ft.-long 1×4.” Wait, have you SEEN the boards at the box store? Does a “straight 8-ft.-long 1×4” exist? If it is not perfectly straight, how do I get it that way?
I have also read on here that one person suggests that you must flatten a board before you try to rip a straight edge. I have no idea how I’m going to do that. I do not have a jointer, and even if I had, it would likely not be wide enough for most of the material that I want to flatten, and even then, the YouTube video first linked to says that jointing wood is a very difficult process. They say build a sled for your planer. Okay, well then I’m back to the flat plywood from some lumber yard.
I have also thought about using a 1/2” thick sheet of glass as a flat base, and sandwhich it between two sheets of plywood. This seems like the best way to start off with something definitively flat. If the plywood warps, I can then just replace it.
I have also read a lot about straightening/flattening wood with hand planes. I’ve watched plenty of videos, but no one ever explains how this works. I know when I use a sander, that I’m likely to end up with some low spots, because I can never sand perfectly the same amount of time and pressure evenly across the surface. So, what’s to say that I could do that with a hand plane? If I take three shavings off here, how do I ensure that I take three shavings off everywhere? If you have ever seen me cut a tomato for my sandwiches, you’d never let me have a hand tool either. My hope was that power tools were made to create accurate cuts, but I seem to be unable to get that.
—frustrated sawdust maker.