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Q & A: Safely Rough-Cut Twisted Lumber

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Q & A: Safely Rough-Cut Twisted Lumber

 

Q:

I buy my lumber rough, and sometimes I get a very twisted or crooked board. What’s a safe way to crosscut and put a straight edge on these awkward boards?



A:

I use a two-step process for safely prepping severely twisted or crooked stock. First I crosscut the board to the desired length with my jigsaw. Then I cut the straight edge on the bandsaw. Of course, the safest way to crosscut rough stock is with a handsaw. Japanese-style utility pull saws designed for fast cutting are ideal for crosscutting rough stock by hand. My tool of choice, though, is a jigsaw with a 4-in., 6-teeth-per-inch (TPI), rough-cutting blade. It’s safe to use, gets through the stock quickly and doesn’t wear out my arm.

Ripping a straight edge on twisted stock with a large crook is best done on your bandsaw; it’s safe and simple. After crosscutting, I use a carpenter’s chalk line to mark the straight edge. I take care to position the line to preserve the best parts of the board with the least waste. The chalk line is easy to follow on a bandsaw. After the straight edge is cut, I’m ready to head to the jointer to facejoint the board and clean up the bandsawn edge.

For boards that are not twisted, you have several other options for crosscutting that will get the job done faster. A circular saw makes quick work of trimming rough stock. Sliding miter saws also have the capacity to cut wide boards, as do radial-arm saws.

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This story originally appeared in American Woodworker December 1999, issue #77.

December 1999, issue #77

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