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Q & A: Safely Rough-Cut Twisted Lumber



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?


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.

Click image to view a larger version.

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



December 1999, issue #77


Purchase this back issue.

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