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Love Your Saws with Matthew Cianci

  Building the Super Sawbench, p. I - The Big Rip 1 of 4  


Matthew Cianci
Visit my blog: The Saw Blog


Iíve been in the shop every day this week moving from one side of the basement to the other and condensing and organizing in the process. Its been great to get rid of a lot of clutter and unused tools and make my shop more efficient and functional.

I mentioned a little while ago about my plans for this week, as Iím on vacation, and that I was going to be building a new Roubo bench using some reclaimed timbers. In the last few days however, I realized I donít really need another work bench, but what I do need is a nice, massive saw bench. Donít get me wrong, I love my current saw bench, ala Chris Schwartz, but I need something bigger, heavier and more stable.

So, I devised (in my warped mind) a super saw bench using the 6 x 8 white oak timbers I referred to above. This new, super bench would be kind of a cross between a Japanese planing bench and a traditional western saw bench like I already have. The idea is it will be made with a top just like my Roubo so that I can use holdfasts and secure boards for heavy ripping. Iím thinking the top should be about 3 to 4 inches thick and about 20 to 24 inches high.

The first step in making this Super Saw Bench is ripping the 6 x 8 oak beam into two 4 x 6 slabs. These two pieces will then make the top of the bench.

Now, I know what youíre thinkingÖ. íThis guy isnít crazy or stupid enough to try and rip an 8 foot long, 6 inch thick white oak beam with a hand saw, is he?!?!?!í

The answer, of course, is yes, I am that crazy and stupid.

Here is the ominous beam in questionÖ trestled up on my saw bench and ubiquitous WorkmateÖ(you can also see my new shop layout)Ö

The first step in ripping this beast is marking the cut line, and since this oak has spent a good part of its life outside, its darkened and will need to be planed to remove the darkened skin and create a light background for my pencil mark. For this, I use my trusty Stanley #6 to roughly plane it down to fresh wood (Patrick Leach be damned, my #6 is the MOST useful plane in my shop!)

Planing at this height is surprisingly very comfortable (donít I look like Iím having fun?)
The wood is much brighter now, and I mark out the cut line in the middle of the beam with a carpenterís pencil. I make a series of hash marks 4 inches in from the edge and then connect them with a straight edge. You can use a panel gauge, marking gauge or other as well.

Now that the beam is marked, to start, I use my trusty Disston #7 (24 inches, 6ppi rip) to saw in the vertical kerf line on the end grain of the timber. The fine pitch of the #7 will help more easily cut the end grain here than a 4 or 5 point saw. This kerfed in vertical line will help me start the cut square as the saw will follow the kerfÖ

You can see the pith of the tree on the right side of the kerf as well. Once I finish the rip, Iíll evaluate if that half of the board is salvageable or not.


1 of 4


Saw Vises

Disston Backsaws


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