4

I'm looking to make a larger rabbet into an 6' 4x4 similar to the below picture - but I don't have a circular saw.

Or would it be better to simply attach a 2x4 or 1x4 to the main piece?

  • You want to cut a 3" rabbet into a 4x4? How deep do you want it? – Wilson Oct 5 '18 at 7:38
  • "Or would it be better to simply attach a 2x4 or 1x4 to the main piece?" Yes I think this would be vastly preferable. In addition to other advantages (saves wood, can use smaller and cheaper pieces so probably end up cheaper) building can actually yield a stronger end result since as we know glue joints are stronger than the wood itself if they're done right — fresh, flat joint surfaces, plenty of glue, clamp hard. – Graphus Oct 5 '18 at 12:03
  • I agree with most of the other posters that gluing up two pieces is probably the way to go, but I think it's also worth pointing out that the hand tools you'll need to do this (a rabbet plane would be your best bet) are going to cost you more than a circular saw anyways. – SaSSafraS1232 Oct 5 '18 at 15:52
5

You have three choices that I can think of:

  • The old fashioned way.

    • You will need a plough plane of some sort.
    • Use it to cut a channel 3¼" deep with the far edge where you need it.
    • Use a chisel to remove most of the waste
    • Finish off the rest of the rebate with an ordinary plane.
  • The easy way

    • Buy a circular saw. They are fantastically useful and not that expensive.
  • The cheap way

    • Removing a 3"x3¼" rebate from a 4x4 is throwing away an enormous amount of wood.
    • Instead buy 4x¾ and 3¼x1 and glue/screw them together.
    • You may need to buy 4x1 for the latter piece and use a ripsaw or plane to trim it to size (or get the woodstore to cut it). Don't try to use a cross-cut saw.
    • If you are going to attach this rabate to another 4x4, I would actually try and make it out of 5x3¾ and 8x¾ (it will give you much more to fasten to).

Final point: Beware that 4x4 planed timber is not 4" across - it will be less (it was originally 4" rough-sawn timber that has been planed). Bear this in mind when composing your profile by adding bits together.


EDIT Graphus points out that finding a plough-plane which goes 3" deep may be tricky (an old wooden plough without a fence . An alternative is a rebate (or rabbet) plane. With that you would have to plane away the whole of the groove, but 3"x3¼"x6' of wood is a lot of planing. I would still try to remove as much as possible with a chisel (or even by drilling holes).

  • 1
    Good comprehensive Answer. Just one thing, I believe ploughs can't commonly cut grooves 3"+ deep (and it would be a big struggle to do a 6' channel dead straight in common softwoods) so I think a rebate/rabbet plane is more applicable to the first suggestion. – Graphus Oct 5 '18 at 12:09
  • @Graphus - good point. Updated – Martin Bonner Oct 5 '18 at 12:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.