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I'm planning a garden office where the roof is angled diagonally, so one corner will be lowest, the two adjacent corners will be mid-height, and the final corner will be the tallest. The gradient of the roof will be in the range 1:10 to 1:12.

For this to work, the rafters will need to have a bevel along the top. This is so that the rafters, which will be 2x6 timber, can sit vertically on the frame, but accommodate the roof boards which will be at an angle. They'll already have the right angle end-to-end because they'll be sitting on frames.

How could I cut a bevel along the length of the rafters?

Options I've considered are:

  • A track saw
  • A hand plane
  • A band saw

I have a track saw and a hand plane, but I'm not sure if these are good options. I have a router, but I can't figure out how I could use it to make a bevel. I guess I could use a table saw, but I don't have one, and I'd prefer not to have to use one unless it is the only way.

I haven't managed to find any description where someone has already done this.

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  • Oh this is easily done on the bandsaw, you just need to arrange a tilted fence. As you know this is a bevel cut, as distinct from a chamfer, but the two terms can be and are frequently mixed up these days. So that might help searching out other people who have done this in various ways. Anyway, although a lot of work you could quite simply do this with 'a' handplane (many would want to use more than one) but it would depend on what you had available... could be done with a no. 4 if you absolutely had to, but a plane with a noticeably cambered edge on the iron would make it a lot easier.
    – Graphus
    Apr 1 at 16:12
  • If I understand correctly you are spanning the rafters across the roof rather than from top to bottom. Most rough carpentry framing of this type would be executed using a rough carpentry circle saw. Just set the blade angle and run it up the length using the corner as your guide.
    – Ashlar
    Apr 4 at 2:16
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A table saw would be the easiest way.

Since you don't have one, a track saw should manage fine. It's accurate and easy to setup (as opposed to a regular circular saw). My main concern would be if it can handle the cut in a single pass (both in terms of power and of avaialbe depth of cut). If it has enough depth of cut, doing in a shallow cut and then a deeper cut will work as long as you're careful not to move the track between cuts (clamp it if you can). If it doesn't, you'd need to make two opposing cuts that would be hard to align well.

A hand plane can work, but would be a lot of work, especially if you have many boards to bevel.

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    I don't use a track saw, would many have a limitation of depth of cut of less than 1 1/2"??? The bandsaw would be my no. 1 pick for how to do this if a table saw isn't available BTW.
    – Graphus
    Apr 1 at 16:03
  • @Graphus Most track saws use only a 6 1/2" blade, so at a bevel the depth of cut is under 2", and depends on the saw design. A random sample I checked should be okay, but I don't know what the OP has. From experience I would say a track saw is comparable to a table saw in cut quality. Its biggest downside is repeatability, as you need to setup each cut individually, even if they are all the same.
    – Eli Iser
    Apr 1 at 22:25
  • Depending on the track, you could probably set up stop blocks on the non-blade edge of the track that would register against the bottom of the rafter. Given wood's natural inclination to curve, this is an example where a short track would be better than a long track. (Stop blocks might entail putting a few screws through the track, but that probably wouldn't be the end of the world.) Apr 2 at 12:36
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    You could also (as long as I'm understanding correctly) stack the 2x6 to cut all the way thru the top one and just partially into the bottom one. Then move the "bottom" one to the top and use the partial cut to position the blade and place a "fresh" 2x6 underneath to repeat the process. Apr 8 at 15:27

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