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I have a 4" thick, 10.5" wide by 120" long poplar board (read heavy) that I was originally going to saw into workbench bench legs but now want to saw into a handrailing. Any ideas on how to saw so that it is 4" wide?

I have Laguna 14BX 14" bandsaw, do you think if it is properly supported (I have a king resaw blade on it) that will work? Otherwise I have a 3hp sawstop, but wound't cut all the way through nor a circular saw. Thanks for the help, it'd be expensive or worse to mess it up.

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    If the wood clears the opening, there is no reason why it should not cut it. I have cut thicker pieces in a 14" bandsaw. You are right to keep it well supported on both ends. – Ashlar Feb 9 at 0:24
  • Bandsaw is totally the right call here, especially as you already have a resaw blade which is of course ideal for ripping. As I was reading the Q I was thinking the table saw could easily do it too, cutting from both faces as in @EliIser's good Answer, but, the 120" length gives me pause. There's lots of potential for kickback, and you'll be sawing four times to get two lengths 4" wide..... so bandsaw all day every day for this I think. – Graphus Feb 9 at 2:48
  • BTW with proper setup there's no reason you couldn't do a cut like this with a circ saw, again each cut requiring sawing from both faces. It wouldn't be my first choice but it's doable, and you have plenty of extra thickness so you could cut with a comfortable allowance between pieces in case you end up with a step. – Graphus Feb 9 at 2:54
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You could rip it both on the table saw and on the band saw.

With the table saw, you'll need to do at least two cuts, as the depth of cut probably is around 3". If the board is straight and has a clean edge and the table saw is well setup you should have a nearly seamless cut. I've done the same on 4x4's with great success.

Band saws typically have good height capacity, and I'm sure your 14" saw can handle 4" to thickness (my 10" Delta will easily resaw 6" with a good blade).

In both cases, support both the infeed and the outfeed. You could experiment with a piece of 2x6 that you rip to 4" width and then rip again facing up (i.e. the 1.5" side sitting on the table of the saw). Do this with a 2' piece to get the feel of sawing your 4" thick board.

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  • I like the idea of doing a practice run with a piece of framing lumber! You might spend $40 on a 10' 2x12, but that's a minimal expense compared to the price of the poplar stock. (Make the practice cuts only 3/4" deep to practice the 2-passes necessary on the table saw, if that's the tool of choice. Or, buy two 2x12 and glue 'em together for an even more realistic test run!) – FreeMan Feb 10 at 18:11
  • Not sure if a 1.5" rip would be representative. A 4x4 might be a better approximation if you're not comfortable with riping/resawing a 2x6 standing up. – Eli Iser Feb 10 at 23:50

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