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Wide Board Woes

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  • Wide Board Woes

    What's the best way to get an accurate/square cut on wide boards?

    Working with a 4/4x120" maple board 13" wide.
    Don't have a $269 27" Incra miter (yet), so that's out. The board is too long to joint. Whacked off 41" chunk of the board w/circular saw & fence to make 2 ea. 19 3/4" boards. Tried cross cutting 41" section from the 120" board and using the Norm Special "Panel Cutting Jig". Not square. Have used this jig several times w/no prob. Only change I've made to TS is tweak the blade angle to 90°(off maybe 1°). The circular saw routine is time consuming, and the finished edge does not have the "machined" look; requires sanding (don't make me do it). They need to be square, as they are to be dovetailed for a deep drawer (cabinet for workbench plans from Woodsmith #133).

    Unless someone tells me a better way, I guess I'll "check my figures" on Norm's Panel Cutting Jig". Miter-slot guide on my jig is tight and fence is square per my framing square (not Starrett (yet)).

    Oh yeah, I got the wide maple board for $1(one dollar)/bd ft at Paxton Hardwoods misc. bin.

  • #2
    Accu-miter is way to go, if you are willing to spend the $180. I looked at it and the Incra at the wood show in Atlanta last week and liked the Accu-miter better because of the hold down system for cross-cutting large boards (I am making a grandfather clock).

    I also tried self-made jigs but just could not get them to give me good square end-cuts.

    Other thought would be to make through dovetails that are a bit long and then sand them flush. You will need to then attach a new board as the face of the drawer.

    Good luck, hope it helps.


    • #3
      If the panel jig works with other material and is tight in the slot, the only things I can think of are (1) the board edge that is against the fence is not straight, or (2) board is heavy or unwieldy enough that it is not staying tight against fence, or is torqueing the jig out of square. Either might allow enough movement to throw you off. Trueing up the edge, or using clamps to hold 'er steady, may help.


      • #4
        For a "panel cutting jig" or a "squaring board" to work, three things have to be properly aligned: the blade, the bar that rides in the miter slot, and the fence at the front (or back) of the jig. I've made two of these (one large and one small) that work, and I did it this way:

        First, I made VERY sure that the blade was parallel to the miter slot.

        Second, I took a piece of plywood and screwed a bar for the miter slot approximately parallel to the side that would go along the blade. The bar was located so that the first cut would cut a bit off the right edge of the jig.

        After cutting the right side of the ply, I used a framer's square against the blade to carefully set a piece of 1x2 along the top (or bottom) edge of the ply. When I thought it was right, I tack nailed it to the ply with short brads and a brad nailer, so it wouldn't move. I then took the jig off the saw table and fixed the 1x2 properly with screws.

        To use the jig, I first rip one of the long sides of the workpiece. Then I cross-cut the two ends and finally rip the last long side (if necessary). It seems to work.


        • #5
          Well, all else failed so I "checked my figures" on the panel-cutting jig. Not square. The miter slot strip was off ~ 1/32 in 20". To add insult to injury, the fence on the back of the jig was off the same amount. It got my suspicions up, so I checked my framing square by trying to draw the same line with the tongue pointing left, then right on a known straight (factory) edge. Darn framing square is not.
          Now I gotta figure out a way to find a for-sure square square.
          Next stop, Starrett site.

          Thanks for all your input. Good ideas all, especially your details, RGAD.

          May make a jig that rides in both miter slots. Just have to not push all the way through on the cut.


          • #6
            Here's how you improve Norm's panel cutter...The strip that is attached to the bottom to ride in your miter slot flexes too much. Make the strip a little taller and seat it in a shallow dado on the bottom of the panel cutter. Make sure the fit is snug. Also, use a metal miter bar instead of a hardwood srip. Even the best hardwood will still move with changes in climate. Hope this helps.
            - Tim


            • #7
              I seem to remember reading once that you can true up an out-of-square framing square by peening it at one location if it is too open and another location if it is too closed. Of course, I don't remember the locations, or where I read it, and I'm sure if I ever tried it, before I got the out-of-square square true, it would be so full of peens that you wouldn't be able to read any of the scales. What I do remember is concluding that because someone had taken the time to write the article, it must be common experience to find out-of-square squares on the store shelf. Another article of faith gone.

              About a month or so ago, I went into HD to buy a small (12") framing square. There were half a dozen on the shelf. I took them all over to a place where they had an open shelf and tried them all (by lapping two marks with the square flipped). Two were noticeably out of square; four appeared to be square. I bought one of the latter.

              There was an HD guy watching me all the time. Perhaps he thought I was crazy, but he never did ask me what I was doing.

              Oh, yes, I put the other 5 back whence they had come.


              • #8
                RGad, just in case your square should go out of square (like from a fall), you should know how to fix it.

                You place your peens in the general area where the two legs meet. In other words, if the square were two pieces mitered together, near the joint. If the square measures in, less than 90 degrees, you peen on the inside, if out (more than 90), peen the outside. I use a centerpunch for the peening, using just a hammer is slow.

                What is happening, is you are spreading the metal apart just a little. Check after each punch, because it changes faster than you would think.



                • #9
                  Nice tip with the dado, Tim; I'll make that mod to the jig. Prob I have w/metal runner is difficulty in finding one that matches w/o "play". Maybe a little "peening" in order?

                  RGAD: I hear you re Checking out squares in HD-- had the same experience. Tool guy was watching me out of the corner of his eye (probably assessing my level of stability) as i drew a blue gel-ink (erasable) line on the smooth concrete floor to check the sq both ways. After checking several in this manner (none exactly square) and erasing the line, I asked if they were able to get a Starrett square. He said "no, but you're checking the square wrong". Well, dumb ole me asked what the proper procedure was. He replied "with another square". Made me wonder how you check a bad one with a bad one. In any event, hoping to have better luck w/a $11.50 Starrett 16x24.

                  Dave: Sounds like you know whereof you speak. I'll try the peening to redo my Johnson square til the Starrett arrives. I'm assuming the sq gets laid flat and peened on the flat side.


                  • #10
                    "I'm assuming the sq gets laid flat"
                    "and peened on the flat side"
                    My square is flat on both sides?



                    • #11
                      Dave: thanks for the info (and and also for proving that I wasn't dreaming about having read something somplace sometime); I hope I never have to try it.

                      Woodbutcher: love the story. What gets me is that some of the folks who work at HD really know what they're talking about, while some really haven't a clue -- and yet they were both hired by the same guy! Oh, well.