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Help cutting a 3.25" maple bench top

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Forum topic by one19 posted 11-03-2014 02:59 PM 947 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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one19

65 posts in 761 days


11-03-2014 02:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cross-cut thick stock maple assistance question milling

Hi there,

I’m an amateur sawdust maker, new to this forum. I can usually figure out any trouble I run into, but I’m stumped on this one: I have a 60” x 21” butcher block top made of maple and it’s 3.25” thick. I want to cut the width to 54”, but I’m not sure what the best approach is. I can use my circ saw and guide, but that means I’ll have to flip the top and finish the cut on the bottom side. This thing is HEAVY, so I’m not thrilled with that idea, plus I’m concerned with accuracy, making sure the two cuts line up. I was also thinking about using a router and guide and progressively increasing the depth on each pass.

Can I get some advice on the best way to cross-cut this beast? Table saw is out of the question because of the weight/size of the top, and besides, I’m not sure my 20 year-old Craftsman contractor saw could do it…

Thanks in advance!


13 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7166 posts in 2036 days


#1 posted 11-03-2014 03:05 PM

Circ saw and guide and then finish with a hand saw and or router.

Belated welcome to Lumber Jocks!

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one19

65 posts in 761 days


#2 posted 11-03-2014 03:47 PM

Thanks Waho6o9… that’s what I did. Top cuts were good but I need to practice with a hand saw …and a hand plane, and a hand drill, and pretty much any other hand tools. I’m working on it though!

Thanks!

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waho6o9

7166 posts in 2036 days


#3 posted 11-03-2014 04:12 PM

Good job one19 and have fun making your maple bench top.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2703 days


#4 posted 11-03-2014 08:06 PM

That piece will weigh around 100 lbs. Get someone to help you turn it over. You will have to move it at some point.

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one19

65 posts in 761 days


#5 posted 11-03-2014 08:45 PM



That piece will weigh around 100 lbs. Get someone to help you turn it over. You will have to move it at some point.

- MrRon

You are correct sir, it’s very heavy. I’ll get my son to help… he’s a strapping young 20-year-old lad. :)

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2176 posts in 1485 days


#6 posted 11-04-2014 05:44 AM

Check with your tool rental place to see if they have Makita’s huge circular saw—12” or 14” blade, I think.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Andre's profile

Andre

1016 posts in 1265 days


#7 posted 11-04-2014 06:46 AM

Good hand saw, bout 10 min. low angle block plane and she is done.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3663 posts in 1180 days


#8 posted 11-04-2014 12:20 PM

If I were in your shoes, I’d go the straight edge and saw route. Having to flip it is sure to be a pain, but attempting this with a router would have the bit cutting over 3” below the base greatly amplifying any unintended movement. If the cuts are only slightly off, a very sharp plane or a belt sander can be used to even and smooth the end.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7472 posts in 1466 days


#9 posted 11-04-2014 12:41 PM

I believe I would have made the first cut (just a wee-bit oversize ) with a chainsaw. Then used the circular saw to do the finish sizing.
Be sure to post pictures of the bench.

Oh, and Welcome to LJs

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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one19

65 posts in 761 days


#10 posted 11-04-2014 03:46 PM

Thanks, y’all!

I decided to take some width off of both ends because there are 3 through-rods running the depth of the piece, spaced at intervals. I wanted to have an inch of stock left on the outside of the two outside rods, if that makes sense.

So I used my circ saw and a homemade cutoff guide, then flipped the piece to complete the cut. The first side came out perfect! Cuts matched and the whole operation left the end nice, square, and clean. The other end, however, didn’t go so well. I had to flip over about 5 times to get the cuts lined up and square, and I still have some plane work and sanding to do.

If I had to do it over again, I’d take up runswithscissors’ advice and rent a large capacity circ saw that could do it all in one pass. Still, it was a good experience and I’m a little smarter for having done it this way.

Thanks fellas! I will post some pics of my progress. Just don’t expect too much. As I said, I’m an amateur sawdust maker and my work will never be featured in Fine Woodworking magazine. :)

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7472 posts in 1466 days


#11 posted 11-05-2014 01:53 PM

”As I said, I’m an amateur sawdust maker and my work will never be featured in Fine Woodworking magazine. :)”

Dont sell yourself short. We all had to start somewhere.
One feature of this site that I REALLY like, is the archives. There’s stuff that’s been here for YEARS and I look back thru them plenty for advice/inspiration/constructive criticism. These folks are eager and willing to share with all of us, whether be a novice or a pro.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7166 posts in 2036 days


#12 posted 11-05-2014 02:14 PM

JoeinGa is spot on.

You’re gonna do fine work there one19.

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one19

65 posts in 761 days


#13 posted 11-05-2014 03:16 PM

Thanks JoeinGa, and everyone else. I appreciate the encouragement. My workdays are typically 10-11 hours so I only get the weekends for garage time. I’m a true weekend warrior!

It will probably be a slow-going project for me, but I’ll post pics and updates of my bench build as I can…

Thanks again fellas.

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