If you’ve been following along on this blog so far, you already know I’m trying to experiment with small tricks along the way as I build this crib. In the past in order to mark stock before cutting it to length I’ve just used a tape measure an pencil. This time I’m trying something slightly different.
After first cleaning up one end, I pull a tape and make a mark.
Then, instead of attempting to visually line up that line (wherever it ended up across the width of the board) with the saw kerf, I instead extend that line using a small or large combination square. For narrow stock the small combination square is a real treat. It’s incredibly light weight and feels great in your hands. More importantly, I can now pull a straight line with my tape, instead of trying to hook my tape near one edge of the board or the other. I also don’t have to do that extra mental math figure out which side of the board I should get my mark near. By extending the line the full width I can relax knowing I’ll have a mark wherever I ended up needing it. I got the small combination square just recently (I think I ordered it from Grizzly). The larger square is an old rusty Stanley that I pulled out of my aunts garage. While restoring the #5 (and a #4) hand plane, I also striped the paint, removed the rust with Evaporust, and primed and painted the square. In the past I never used the thing because it was so hard to read the marks and it felt horrible in your hand (all rusty and rough). Now it’s a real pleasure to use.
I really enjoy cross cutting on my table saw using a sled. It really produces a nice crisp edge, and since I effectively have a zero clearance I don’t get any chip-out. If the board is very long (as it was for the seven 56” front/back rails) I have my shop buddy help me support the end hanging over the edge just ever so slightly. The stock stays tight up against the sled’s fence.
Here’s the finished product, I now have 6 square sides on all boards. I haven’t decided what I’ll work on next. Perhaps I’ll start making templates, or maybe start working on the bridal and mortise and tenon joints. There is so much fun stuff to start contemplating now. Sadly, that will probably have to wait until next weekend. Sometimes I wish the weekend was 5 days and the work week 2 days. It sure would allow me to spend more time in the shop. :-)
Update: After originally posting this entry, Steve and Lew made the great suggestion to setup some stickers and put some weight on the stock to avoid unnecessary twisting and warping. This is a great idea, and one I’ve never tried out before! Fortunately I bought some strap clamps at Harbor Freight the other day for this sort of thing. Now I can relax knowing the boards are all being held in place over the next week. :-)