ripping long stiles--Advice please

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Forum topic by akdale posted 03-14-2015 05:50 AM 1302 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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54 posts in 3446 days

03-14-2015 05:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut tablesaw

Been some time since I have been here. I am making a tall cabinet as part of framing in my refrigerator. The unit will be 86” tall. I am making it from black walnut and it will be raised panels on the sides. Likely 3 panels. The stiles are my concern. I would love to have them one length. I plan on ripping them a bit wide in case they bend as stress is relieved. Would be great to get some practical advice on this, besides crossing my fingers that is :). In all I am going to need 5 of these ranging from 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 wide. Thanks.

-- Phil 4:13------Our family motto

16 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12464 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 03-14-2015 06:27 AM

Walnut is a very stable wood, one reason among many why it has remained popular for hundreds of years. A small amount of bow over that length will not be a problem as the panels, stiles and supporting sides will make it all straight. But nothing wrong with leaving a little width, or even a little length, and ripping or jointing to size later.

-- Rick M,

View joey502's profile


544 posts in 1756 days

#2 posted 03-14-2015 06:34 AM

I would agree with cutting them a bit wide and the jointing and re ripping if they crook.

View Redoak49's profile


3740 posts in 2226 days

#3 posted 03-14-2015 11:43 AM

Good advice given….I would also use a very good ripping blade and feather boards. With something that long you will need extra indeed and outfeed support.

When I rip long pieces it is always a challenge to do a long smooth continuous rip. Every time you stop or slow down you can see it on the edge. Given the cost of walnut, I would do a practice or two on a pine board.

View KDO's profile


154 posts in 3007 days

#4 posted 03-14-2015 12:11 PM

Also, get a second person to help you. Put them on the outfeed side. All they have to do is to make sure the piece stays down and flat after it come off the tablesaw. They should probably be touching the wood 2-3 feet past the blade. Don’t let them get too close to the blade.
  • It is important that all they are doing is LIGHTLY touching the wood and preventing it from trying to move up or sideways.
    If they put too much pressure on the wood, they could cause it to force the wood to BInd between the blade and Fence and then the piece could want to flip UP or BACK and then it would become a flying missle and could easily hurt you. The blade spins towards you, and the wood would come at you at a hundred miles an hour…and it would hurt anyone it hit.
    I would stand out of the line of the wood and fence. That way if it does come straight backwards, YOU are not directly behind it.

And like Redoak said, you need infeed and outfeed support…and practice with some cheap wood.

Most commercial setups have flat INFEED roller tables setup where the wood is just as flat going into the saw as it is going out onto outfeed tables.
If you don’t, you are just asking for trouble.
It’s not hard to do with two people and handling it right.
People do this all the time, you just have to know how to do it to make a good cut, and not get someone hurt.
Be sure and post pictures so we can see them!
Enjoy and good luck!
And yes, I like the idea of Walnut. It’s a good wood.

-- Christian, Husband, Grandpa, Salesman, amateur Woodworker.

View knotscott's profile


8178 posts in 3613 days

#5 posted 03-14-2015 12:32 PM

Assuming your using a decent TS? If so, use a clean sharp blade suitable for the task, make sure the blade and fence are parallel, and that the splitter/riving knife is also parallel and aligned with the blade. Flatten a reference face of the boards to be ripped to place face down on the saw, and square an adjacent edge to put against the fence….if the saw is accurate, your rips should come out within a gnat’s eyelash of the desired width. A good outfeed table, and/or an assistant can’t hurt.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Woodknack's profile


12464 posts in 2618 days

#6 posted 03-14-2015 05:10 PM

Also make sure you put on pants and tie your shoes…

-- Rick M,

View akdale's profile


54 posts in 3446 days

#7 posted 03-14-2015 06:12 PM

Thanks for the input. Saw is decent and setup well. I have indeed and outfeed rollers, 4 of them so two on each end. I am using a GlueLine Rip blade, brand new out of the box. I have been using these blades to do all my cabinet work and can glue up panels w/o jointing. results are flawless. I will get some pics up of the entire project. Been some time but many are in my project section. Just not updated in a while which will change soon. Appreciate all the advice. This is a great forum.

-- Phil 4:13------Our family motto

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4991 posts in 2547 days

#8 posted 03-14-2015 07:06 PM

How I make my stile and rail material. I use stock thick enough I that I can face joint and edge joint before any ripping get done. With flat square straight stock you can easy rip with out all those feather boards and hold downs. You can even do without shoes and pants.

After the above I make my rip a little wide. If it does bow beyond acceptable tolerances depend on what I doing I can re-joint and re-rip. If I have to make that second rip I leave it a fuzz wide and when I done with the piece or several piece I run them to finial size on my planer.

In you case as Rich M. said some bow will be acceptable because the rails should straighten it out.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View JAAune's profile


1854 posts in 2554 days

#9 posted 03-14-2015 11:37 PM

I just take the rough boards and rip them an 1/8” wide on the bandsaw. Next they are face-jointed then planed to thickness. Back to the jointer for the edges then I stack half a dozen side by side, grip them tight and feed them as a single board through the planer to get the final width.

Much easier and the results are superior to anything off the table saw.

-- See my work at and

View Pezking7p's profile


3230 posts in 1889 days

#10 posted 03-15-2015 02:34 AM

I worried a lot about how straight my long boards were when making my cabinets. For most face frame parts it turned out not to matter because they will get pulled flat/straight when you attach them to the carcass. If you’re making panels then they’ll get pulled straight by the railed when you glue them up. Touch up the outside edges after the panels are assembled with a hand plane or on the table saw if they’re still bowed.

-- -Dan

View Keekee's profile


21 posts in 1408 days

#11 posted 03-15-2015 02:57 AM

Any suggestions on how to keep the stiles flat. I did make a pantry type of cabinet years ago but had trouble keep the stiles flat. Do you think it would be of any help to start out with 5/4 and plane it once. Let it set for a few weeks and plane it to its final thickness and let it rest again.

View tomd's profile


2186 posts in 4008 days

#12 posted 03-15-2015 02:58 AM

I strongly support making these rips with your pants on unless you have a Saw Stop.

-- Tom D

View akdale's profile


54 posts in 3446 days

#13 posted 03-15-2015 04:49 AM

Interesting thought on getting final width via the planer instead of using the TS. I have read articles showing this method, just never tried. Probably should have indicated what tools I have when I started this thread.

Do not own a jointer. Honestly, I have access to one but once the TS is set up square with a good blade with stabilizers. I never found it necessary. So far have about 40 panels done this way, some about 5 years old. Perfect glue ups. I know this is anthema to some of the “real” cabinet makers but it has worked wonderful for this weekend woodworker. I am hesitant to use my planer for width only because it’s the Dewalt 735 and snipe and feed issues can be a problem.

Sure do appreciate all the advice from you guys. Seems the votes are in too, keeping the pants on.

-- Phil 4:13------Our family motto

View joey502's profile


544 posts in 1756 days

#14 posted 03-15-2015 08:54 AM

I can’t imagine pants being 100% necessary. Norm always said reading the power tools directions and glasses were at the top of the safety list.

View rwe2156's profile


3230 posts in 1718 days

#15 posted 03-15-2015 12:47 PM

There is a method of stabilizing a long stile called splining.

Basically you deepen the panel groove to within 1/8” of the edge and then glue in a spline of like material using a hard glue like TB III. Only the edge grain shows and it is not very noticeable.

Glue up on a perfectly flat surface.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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