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I have some 0.75" x 14" wide boards that I'm trying cut to lengths in the 50-60" range. It's important that the cuts be precise, and true.

However, 14" is too wide for any of my sleds or miter slides on my table saw. I'm having a very difficult time cutting these.

The closest I've got so far is to attach the miter slide to the board and slide it through. The problem is it's 1) very difficult to position the edge of the blade at the cut line while also positioning the board on the slide, and 2) at the start of the cut the slide is barely in the track, maybe a half inch or so, and it doesn't stabilize until it's about 6" in, so it's extremely difficult to keep the cut straight (this also makes problem #1 even harder):

enter image description here

(That drawing is not really to scale but hopefully it is clear.)

The right edge of that board isn't actually straight, so I couldn't put, say, a fence over there.

I also tried building a really long sled but I haven't been able to make anything satisfactory, esp. having problems making long straight slides that are smooth in the tracks, and making it strong enough to support the piece. So far either that seems to be an impossible task, or I don't have the skill for it, or a combination of both.

What are my options? I don't mind building other sleds, I'm just... not sure what to do.

Note that it is not the 50-60" length that is the problem, it is the 14" width that is the problem in relation to the front-to-back size of my table saw.

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    This is something that I would not want to cross cut on the table saw in this case. If you had a sliding panel saw, you could but not in this case. This is a perfect scenario for a track saw. As I am assuming you do not own one, or you would have already used it, you can make your own straight edge for a normal circular saw fairly easily. If it were me, I would cut it close with a jigsaw, and then use a straight edge, and a flush trim bit on a router to get it exact. – Jacob Edmond Nov 10 '16 at 19:18
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    Either would really be easier and lead to a more accurate cut, as you aren't handling such an unwieldy piece of wood. You can take your time and get the straight edge right on your mark before you cut. – Jacob Edmond Nov 10 '16 at 19:21
  • Those are both good ideas. I have a circular saw, a jig saw, and a trim router. I can try them all. The router might be a better choice for me because it'll give a nice edge without me having to buy a finishing blade for my circular saw (I only have a really rough rip blade). – Jason C Nov 10 '16 at 19:24
  • @Jacob You should post those ideas as an answer btw. – Jason C Nov 10 '16 at 19:49
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    Since I have to plug the hand-tool only option you can of course saw by hand and then smooth the cut or pare to your line using a block plane (or any plane if your sharpening skills are good) or alternatively an edge-sanding tool. In both cases it's best to work in from both edges so as not to risk blowout as the tool leaves the edge you're working on. – Graphus Nov 11 '16 at 9:22
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This is something that I would not want to cross cut on the table saw in this case. If you had a sliding panel saw, you could but not in this case. This is a perfect scenario for a track saw.

As I am assuming you do not own one, or you would have already used it, you can make your own straight edge for a normal circular saw fairly easily.

If it were me, I would cut it close with a jigsaw, and then use a straight edge, and a flush trim bit on a router to get it exact

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    +1 on cutting close and then trimming with the router, perfect method where power tools are available. – Graphus Nov 11 '16 at 8:40
  • +1 on cutting close and then trimming with the router! Gonna try this tonight on completely different project. – MeLight Nov 16 '16 at 12:37
  • Fwiw, the cut + trim on router worked awesome but ultimately I made a track out of MDF and a pair of aluminum strips (glued w/ jb quik), and a little track guide attachment (dadoes for tracks cut on table saw) for my circular saw, and went with the track approach as the ultimate solution. It works great, it's quick, and it's portable. I've since upgraded the track by adding a 90 degree guide to the underside for quick placement. – Jason C Jan 19 '17 at 17:00
  • "you can make your own straight edge for a normal circular saw fairly easily." Google "saw board". It is very easy, and very accurate. – Martin Bonner Jan 18 at 11:28
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For just a few cuts, a handsaw, properly sharpened, is way faster than fooling around with jigs or fences. A 3/4 inch board will cross cut at about one inch per stroke....Do the math.

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    Great to see you here Jim! – Graphus Jan 19 '17 at 17:13
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Another good idea, especially if you're making multiple cuts, is to build a jig out of plywood that has runners to fit into the mitre gauge slots on the bottom, and a square to blade raised edge on the top side to rest your boards against.

You can use dimensional lumber for square edge to be sure it has flat surfaces to work with. The piece of plywood needs to be wider than the board widths you want to cut, and long enough to reach across two guide rails to remain square and true when pushing long boards across the table top.

You can add stops if you want using a simple "C" clamp, but the jig needs to be long enough for your stop yo mount to.

A small bridge across the leading edge at the cut will keep the two pieces of plywood (across the blade) together. You should have a short side to provide under-support on both sides of the cut to help prevent tear-out on the back side; but it's not 100% needed.

Example:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

3

I use a track saw for all cuts like this. I have the Festool, but the Dewalt or Makita ones work well also, or you can make a DIY version of one with some 1/2" plywood and a circular saw.

I place the plywood on a sheet of foam insulation on the ground so it is supported on both sides of the cut. Much easier than trying to manhandle large sheets of plywood or MDF, and quite accurate as well. I use the Seneca Parallel Guides for making repeat cuts.

I like this so much that I cut down the fence on my Unisaw from 52" to 34" since I never use the table saw for sheet goods any more.

enter image description here

  • I was just oogling videos of that Festool plunge saw. No way I could justify that purchase though. The Makita is a little more affordable though. Can't buy it now but adding to my Xmas list. I'm gonna give the rough cut then router trim idea that Jacob had a try first. Failing that, I'll buy a finishing blade for my circular saw and go for the guide approach. – Jason C Nov 10 '16 at 19:45
  • Don't forget the Kreg jigs are another option. – jdv Jan 15 at 23:58
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In this case you need to use a circular saw (or handsaw).

You will need 2 saw horses. (If you were cutting in the middle of a long board, you might need 3 saw horses or even 4 if you want to maximize stability.)

You set the board up on the saw horses and then use the circular saw in conjunction with a square. There are many different commercial circular saw squares you can buy, such as the Kreg "Square-Cut" (just one example).

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If you have a miter saw you could make one cut and get about halfway (or more, depending on the blade size) through the 14". Flip the board over so the side with the cut is facing out, line the blade up in the kerf of the first cut, and finish the cut that way.

  • @FreeMan I don't suggest using the table saw at all – mmathis Jan 20 '17 at 14:08
  • Wow... my bad - total reading comprehension fail. I'll remove my comment. – FreeMan Jan 20 '17 at 15:28
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This is not a cut you should be using a miter gauge for. Instead you should be using the fence as the guide. If you don't have a good reference edge you can attach a scrap board that is parallel to the cut you want to make to push against the edge.

Check which side of the table saw is bigger, that is where the big piece should be supported. Put the fence on the other side.

If that is not enough support you can use a sawhorse or two to act as a table extension or actually build table extensions if you expect to do more of these kind of cuts.

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    I would never recommend crosscutting on a table saw against a fence. – Jacob Edmond Nov 14 '16 at 11:27
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    The end of the board isn't square – Jon Fournier Nov 14 '16 at 18:34

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