Ken's Kayak Pages

Ripping the Strips

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strips01.jpg (31505 bytes) Side view of the strip-ripping station.  I used two 7 foot workbenches, two 6" x 8' strongbacks built for assembling my kayak, and some ply and spruce for fences.  Doing the work was my trusty 10" radial arm saw equipped with a thin kerf 7-1/4" carbide tipped blade (about 0.075")
strips02.jpg (73530 bytes) Infeed view of the setup, showing alignment of the top surfaces.  I used a 12' piece of spruce as the fence on this end, clamped in the saw table and screwed to the side of a strongback.  This gave a long, easy to sight fence for truing each board with the first cut.
strips03.jpg (55520 bytes) Outfeed view, I set this station perhaps 1/8" lower to catch the boards without snagging, and opened the fence about 1/8" also for the same reason.  The board would re-contact this fence some distance down the run.  I used the built-in spreader on the saw guard, automatically adjusted when I set up the anti-kickback pawls.
strips 04.jpg (66667 bytes) The result of a half day of labor - The bundles on the left are from four 1x12x10' red cedar s4s boards.  I got about 30 strips/board, total 120 strips at 0.230" - 0.240" thickness.  Sometimes I wonder if my saw was designed to hold 0.010" . . .  The longer white strips are sitka spruce, from a 1x8x12' board, and the shorter darker strips at the right are from a plank of 1x8x8' black walnut.
strips 05.jpg (67505 bytes) Close-up of the strips, showing the nice finish left by the B&D 7-1/4" blade.  It is almost like a planed surface.  I will scarf some of the boards together to obtain longer lengths needed for the early stripping operation.

Some thoughts at this juncture . . .

The infeed fence(s) determine the trueness of the cut until the very end of the cut, when it is helpful to position the very end of the oufeed fence to assist in holding the board true. Not a lot of contact with the outfeed fence is required until it is difficult to really control the board from the small amount of board remaining on the infeed side.

To take maximum advantage of a true, straight fence (set up and aligned by you at the onset), you must keep the high points of the board against the infeed fence its entire length - - This implies 2 people for long boards.   If I had a new board cupped along its length, I would use the concave side of the board against the fence, take a cut, and end up with a throw-away strip thick at the ends, paper thin in the center, and a remaining board that had an absolutely flat side that would produce 30 perfect strips.

A radial arm saw cuts UP at the infeed side, and is next to impossible to set up for ripping very small boards without some chatter.   As a consequence, I have a bunch of 1x3/4 pieces that I simply could not rip smaller (1 per board of course). I think a table saw would allow a few more strips to be eked out of these remaining pieces.  On the plus side, after ripping a few thousand board feet today, not one kick-back occurred.  And, I can still count to ten!

* Very Important Tip - - Throw a bunch of corn meal on the surface contacting the boards - - Just like when I make a pizza at home, it lets the boards slide near friction free!  Use the coarser stuff, it's like thousands of small ball bearings under the boards and lets them whiz across the wooden supports.

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