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Setting up a Skilsaw for cutting strips

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I know I've covered this before ! But I picked up a good deal at Menard's on a 15 amp. Skilsaw brand Skilsaw. This is in no way is an endorsement, but at $50 for a 15 amp saw, I thought I would put this up !
First I want to put up a Disclaimer, as I don't want anyone to get hurt, and come back to me on it ! So do this at your own risk ! Read and follow the Manufacturers manual !.

I have cut strips using this method for all my canoes, as well as strips for many others. This technique has evolved , so I want to share it here. The quality of strips is great ! The strips are so uniform, that Planing is totally unnecessary ! Making the cost minimal, allowing the first time builder, to save a lot of money ! According to my latest comparison. A Builder can easily save at least a $1,000, on his First build !

Here is the saw set up for cutting strips that I use. It's set for 1/4" strips, but I will change that later to thinner strips.

Note The Vise grip. It is just there to serve as a handle while cutting strips this gives great control, and keeps my hand away from the blade, while cutting.
By the Way, I use this same set up for cutting my gunnels. I actually have several saws set for different widths strips.
The clamps are simple 2" C-clamps.

Also note the Diablo blade. 24 teeth does a great job. and a blade with more teeth is just harder for the saw to turn. Again I don't intend this post as an endorsement ! About any saw and blade combination will work, but I recommend 13 amps or more ! I burnt my first two Skilsaws out, because they were only 11 amps !

Looking over this saw when I unboxed it, I noted right away, it was made in China, there was a little end play in the shaft, and it was heavy ! On the Plus side, it has a long cord, and a cast base, hoping this will make it glide on the Cedar planks easier !



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Note the caliper below the saw. A tape measure, is not accurate enough for me, but use the best measuring tool you can find for this, A combination T-square will work also .

Be sure the saw is unplugged when ever you are adjusting ! Be careful of the blade, as it is sharp !

Start by lowering the blade, so it's at the deepest cutting depth. Then measure the gap between the blade and fence, The front side, and the back side. They should be the same. The true test is cutting a scrap strip. After you are satisfied with the measurements, tighten the C-clamps and attach vise grip.

On several of my saws, I'm able to use the Visegrip as the front clamp. Not this one, because of the Cast base.

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Note the Aluminum angle clamped to the base. It is 1/16" thick, 3/4" x 1/2"x 16" long.
In the past, I used thicker angle, 3/4' x 3/4" and cut the edge that runs against the plank to 5/8" . I prefer the thicker angle, but it's a pain to cut them down.

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Set the cutting depth to about a 1/4" below the thickness of the plank you are cutting.
I haven't put this saw to the test yet, but I will soon !

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post !

Jim
 
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I think I'm going to give this a try cutting strips from and old cedar deck. Looks like it's not too difficult to set up, thanks Jim.
 
Forgive my ignorance but, why don't you cut them on a table saw?

It would appear, to me, easier.
 
I will wade in .... on the first look at this you would think a larger saw (i.e. table or radial) would be easier, but in reality i don't think it is IMO.


- for the larger saw you will need double the length of your strips (minimum) length for cutting and the infeed and outfeed tables
- the larger saws also have much longer guides, which means any longitudinal warpage will show up in the strips (thin spots)

using the skilsaw method

- you can use the the strongback as the base for cutting (1/2 the length and no feed tables required)
- the saw guide (angle aluminum usually) is ~12" and will follow the wood edge, even warps, keeping the strips thickness more consistent
- once cut the strips are cut, they are so flexible, warpage isn't a consideration any longer


Brian
 
A TS with a feather board and a second person is how I cut my long 3/4"sq rails for my fence
 
Jim may wade in here at some point but he swears by it and he has made a lot more canoes than I have so I thought i would give it a try. Never had a lot of luck getting perfect/consistent strips on the table saw. Besides, my table saw died and I got the forms for the canoe I'm building from Jim so I figured it might be good luck to try it his way.
 
I have a friend who is gearing up (very slowly) to build his first stripper. I'm just trying to sort thru some of this for him.
 
I'm a recent convert to Jim's method and I would never again go back to a TS for strips or gunwales. It would certainly be worth anyone's time to just set up a saw and fence as Jim illustrates to play around with a little bit on scrap wood. You will probably be surprised at the ease of use and the consistency of the results.

I should note that my table saw is a low end cheapy thing and I am not a skilled pilot of that tool. And the Skilsaw is ideal for the solo worker with limited work space.
 
I am not saying you can't or shouldn't do it with a TS. I did the strips for my first canoe with a Radial Arm saw ... it worked, I had to setup featherboards and even with the son helping it was a pita.
The wood likely to be used for strips (1 x 6, 2 x 4,6,8) is not going to just be magically straightened by the featherboards and you would be surprised how few pieces of longer boards (let's say 12+) don't have some warp.
One of the primary advantages of the Skilsaw method is that short guide that will simply follow that warp and produce a consistent width strip, the second is that it will accept wood with noticeable warps and still work fine, broadening your "acceptable" wood population from any given pile/supplier.

As stated, if you have done the TS and not done the Skilsaw method, setup is cheap ..... just setup a skilsaw and try it, if you find it easier to use and setup, you are ahead of the game ..... if you don't like it, you are still ahead of the game in that you learned that as well.


Brian
 
Jim may wade in here at some point but he swears by it and he has made a lot more canoes than I have so I thought i would give it a try. Never had a lot of luck getting perfect/consistent strips on the table saw. Besides, my table saw died and I got the forms for the canoe I'm building from Jim so I figured it might be good luck to try it his way.

The method as I know it came from Minnesota ! Only fitting that you try it !

I've not found a better method !

Jim
 
Forgive my ignorance but, why don't you cut them on a table saw?

It would appear, to me, easier.

1" x 8" x 16' planks These are what I use for strips. Cost effective, and easy to work.

Now imagine pushing a plank through a table saw, 30 times, resetting feather boards every time.
Lay the plank on a Strongback, and just walk back and forth, cutting strips. Less cost, less required space, and more accurate strip dimensions. Easy !

Jim
 
1" x 8" x 16' planks These are what I use for strips. Cost effective, and easy to work.

Now imagine pushing a plank through a table saw, 30 times, resetting feather boards every time.
Lay the plank on a Strongback, and just walk back and forth, cutting strips. Less cost, less required space, and more accurate strip dimensions. Easy !

Jim, I really like that set up and have the C-clamps and thick angle aluminum to put on together. I noted the Zip-tie and reason for it, and the Vice Grips as handle is brilliant.

I doubt I will ever tackle building a stripper, but I presume that jig would work equally well for cutting gunwale stock with similar advantages, especially working solo. The less space required would be a real boon, not having to open the shop door in order to create 30+ feet of feed and run out space on either side of a stationary saw.

Found the "Like" button!
 
Thanks Mike !

I have two Dedicated Skilsaw set ups, for cutting gunnels, one set for 3/8" and one for 5/8" thick strips.

The 5/8" strips are run through a Tablesaw ( Sorry) I could use a router, but I prefer the table saw for this. They are turned into Outwhales, that cap the shear of my canoes.

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Jim
 
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