Rip cut thick timber

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Established Member
23 Aug 2011
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sevenoaks, kent

I have some slabs of Cedar of Lebanon that i need to rip cut before planning and thicknessing. The only problem is the slabs are around 4 and 1/2 inches thick and my table saw has a max cut of 90mm. I have a bandsaw that would do the job, but the slabs are 500mm wide and 2.8m long, so would be a bit difficult to get them on the table properly. Other saws include plunge saw and handsaws.

Is cutting half way through and then turning over and cutting the rest of the way through, using the table saw a silly idea?


I'm not sure that would be very safe -the riving knife would need setting low and there is a risk the timber might start to climb over the saw. Ripping big sections on a circular saw can result in severe binding, although I don't think there is much inherent tension in softwood generally -try ripping a board of iroko on a table saw!

Could you take it to your local joinery shop armed with a 'small drink'...
I'd use a bandsaw with several roller stands for input and output. Done similar many times and. with a good blade, it works a treat.
All you need are infeed and outfeed tables for the bandsaw.. Do you have any suitable cupboards, tables, etc in your workshop ?
I have a couple of of the cheaper Axminster roller stands, not sure if they would be man enough though.

What blade would you use? I have a few different ones, but would a 3/4 inch M42 blade (from tuff saw) work?

silly question, but do the slabs need to remain 2.8 meters long after they have been ripped? Can you cut into more managable sections first? I love rip cutting on my bandsaw. Can only manage 6" under the guides, but it gobbles it up. Good fun!
The bandsaw is the answer.
You need good support fore and aft, roller stands should be OK. The key to this is using the right blade and making sure your bandsasw is tuned properly. Contact Ian John at Tuffsaws and ask him for a suitable rip blade.
This may be a big job, but it is not intrinsically difficult.
Get a resaw blade set up, build a secondary fence or fences to keep the board aligned and find someone to back off for you.

You may find it helpful to attach wide bearers to the roller stands at the outfeed, so that the person backing off can let the two boards "fall" (under control) either side, rather than having to keep two boards upright without trapping the blade.