Ripping your own strips

Joined
Jun 13, 2014
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3,339
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NW Iowa
Ordered plans tonight for a Barracuda. Now I need to get supplies lined up. Talk to me about cutting my own strips. I have a nice wood shop with plenty of room. Nice table saw, planer, router table, and band saw (after a little cleanup and a new blade). Table saw seems fast. Band saw seems like less waste. What's the preference?

And how about buying the cedar lumber? Is everyone just buying it already milled to 3/4 and cutting strips out of that or are you buying larger rough cut timbers (2x10 for example) and cutting it down from there?

How much waste should I expect?

Is quarter sawn/vertical grain a must?

What else do I need to look out for?

Thanks,

Alan
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
Alan,
You will get the most consistent thickness strips with the band saw, as well as less waste (1/32 kerf maybe), no binding or burning and extremely fast cutting.
I usually use a 4 pitch skip tooth raker. I happen to own an R & D company with a full machine shop, so I buy my band saw stock in 50 ft bulk, and weld my 93.5 inch blades myself.
Throughout the years, I have used table saws, radial arm saws, and even a circular saw to cut strips...nothing beats the band saw.

As far as cedar, I buy 1S kiln dried 1 x 6, usually not more than 14 ft long. I limit the length to what will fit in my boat shop at home. Last boat I bought 16 ft boards, so I wouldn't have to splice any strips. Most of my builds used 14 ft long strips, with a simple butt splice, performed while stripping. No need for scarf joints, just somewhat match the color and grain and the butt joints are nearly invisible...or at least not conspicuous.

Even though the band saw cuts really well, I still have some wander. That's why I only use boards that are 6 inch wide. If everything goes well on a particular board, I do all the ripping from one edge. If the strips start to get weird due to blade wander, knot problems, whatever, I flip the board and rip from the other edge. I usually lose one or two strips per board.

Quarter sawn is best, it's what you'll likely find at a lumber source anyway.

If you don't have infeed and outfeed tables or rollers (I don't) try to get someone to help you cut the strips and find some means of support. Those longer boards get droopy. I usually cut my strips all alone. I set up a single roller support for outfeed, and use a piece of plywood clamped in a workmate, as an infeed support. It takes longer for me to walk the board back into starting position than it does to make the actual cut, the band saw cuts very freely (with a sharp blade). I clamp a 24 inch long guide to the band saw table, and use a rub block to hold the board against that guide. The cedar produces some crazy splinters and if you use a bare hand to hold the board in place you'll get many, many slivers...
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
3,339
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NW Iowa
Are you running them through a thickness planer after the band saw?

I'm a bit confused on the grain of the boards. I've seen people say you want quarter sawn grain in the strips and also see people say that the original stock should be quarter sawn. But if you want quarter sawn strips the stock would need to have flat grain. Quarter sawn stock would leave you with flat sawn strips. So which should be which?

Good to know about just using butt joints. I had a Cal Stenso built V1 for a while and it used butt joints. Didn't bother me and didn't seem to be giving problems. I'd thought about doing the same but had only seen the idea scoffed at it forums so didn't know if there was something I was missing.

No local mills that deal with the general public around here that I know of so I've got the lumber yard checking to see what they have available.

Thanks,

Alan
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
quarter sawn is fine, and the most likely you'll find. After cutting into strips, you'll have beautifully displayed grain, and, if you've chosen carefully, a nice blend of colors.

I did run the wood strips for my last build through a thickness planer after band sawing. I wanted as consistent a thickness as possible to better keep the coves and beads aligned. I also had some left over strips from other builds that I wanted to use up. I needed all the strips to be the same thickness before doing the coves and beads. The planing only took an hour, I could run 3 or 4 strips at a time through the thickness planer. Coves and beads took about 3 hours, including set up time. I could only cut a single edge of a single strip at a time.

So when do your plans arrive? Any special plans for this build?
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
3,339
Location
NW Iowa
Thanks. I think I'll try some test strips from pine on the table saw and band saw when I get it going. I'm more comfortable and familiar with the table saw so that's where I tend to gravitate. If I can get consistent thickness off the table saw ready to bead and cove I might choose that over the band saw+planer option. Seems you'd be about even for material waste at that point if using a thin kerf on the table saw.

Ordered the plans from Greenval and Martin is out of town so I'll have them Sunday. Which is fine because I'm tied up until then anyway. Haven't decided on my plans for the build. Light weight will be important but I don't think I'm going to go crazy. Thinking 3/16" strips and 4oz glass. A little extra for reinforcement at the stems and maybe under the paddling station. Gunwales I'm unsure of. It will likely only see open water use with no tripping, portaging, or rapids so I might just try a few strips glued together. The woodstrip racing boats I've seen have less than that and even the older kevlar ones that still had wood trim were, if I remember right, nothing more than a 1/2" inwale and no outwale. If I remember right my old woodstrip V1 built by stenso didn't even have what could be called a gunwale, the top strip just seemed a little thicker than the rest.

Wasn't going to build any until this winter but I'm excited about it now so figured I should strike while the iron's hot. Plus, if I can stay on it I'll be able to paddle it before freeze up.

Alan
 
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