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    I also use my bandsaw a lot with rough stock. Often, when I’m milling down to sticker and dry the wood – I’ll take a flat piece of plywood (length depends on how long the rough wood is) and will screw it to one side of the wood I’m milling. From that point, I put that plywood against my bandsaw rip fence and set how thick I want the off cut to be.

    I do something similar, but with dry wood. I use a clamp screwed to a straight edge. See the photos. I’ve just started doing this and can’t say whether it is a good idea or not. One issue is that you must be prepared for the weight of the bar clamp hanging off the edge of the table. It does give me an initial straight edge to then run on the fence when preparing wood for a project. Of course, I’d never do this to resaw something. It’s just for rips of things that sit on the table stably.

    What I do to prepare rough sawn lumber is:

    1. Chalk out pieces from the cut list onto the rough sawn lumber

    2. Cross-cut to approximate lengths, but leave extra. At this point, if the material is wide, you may have a couple pieces side by side, i.e., the cross-cut pieces may still need to be ripped to separate them. That comes later.

    3. Get a crudely flat face with a plane to ride on the bandsaw table. Get it good enough to be stable on the bandsaw table, but it doesn’t need to be pretty. Cuss if you put the chalk on the side you decide to plane.

    4. Get a straight line on an edge with the jig on the bandsaw. (I don’t own a jointer).

    5. From that line, lay out the piece widths with pencil so that I know where to rip. Rip on the bandsaw using the straight edge from the previous step. Leave a healthy extra width!!!

    6. Cross cut any of the newly ripped pieces to approximate length as needed now that things are roughly to width.

    7. Now that everything is to approximate width and length, go to the bench and plane a reference face flat. Plane the straight edge flat and square.

    8. Go back to the bandsaw and resaw to thickness, but go fat, maybe by an 1/8.

    9. Everything is now to approximate dimension and has a reference face and a reference edge. Put it all aside and let it sit because it is likely to move. It can sit in the shop or sit in a plastic bag according to your habits, beliefs, and philosophy. When you think things have settled down, touch up the reference face and edge. Clean up the other face and get to final thickness. Clean up the other edge and get to final width. I do width last because, if you plane across the grain for figured wood, it might spelch, so you leave that dimension to last.

    10. Final cross-cut to length.

    I’d like to hear how others dimension wood on a bandsaw. I didn’t have anyone to show me the “right way,” so that’s what I came up with. The strategy is to get things as small as possible before hand planing 4-square. This makes things simpler and saves wood vs. trying to flatten a big, long, wide piece of material. If your material is free of major defects on an edge, you could also plane the reference edge rather than using the jig on the bandsaw.

    Again- Think about whether what you’re doing is stable. Long wood on a small bandsaw can get out of control or tip the saw. The clamp idea might be a dumb one. You’ll need to decide.

    I hope Paul talks about using the bandsaw to prepare rough sawn wood for a project. I’d like to see how Paul does it and then adjust what I just described.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by Ed.
    Doug Finch

    That’s a great idea. I’m normally milling down logs into 1.5″ to 2″ planks when I screw the plywood to it – and that is only to get one side relatively flat. I like your concept though – I will have to give that a try.

    Blaine Hill

    I had much the same experience with dimensioning rough saw lumber, so I bought a 13″ wide porter cable thickness planer and a 6″ jointer. I’ve dimesioned well dried (air) cedar, cherry and spalted maple. It has helped me to enjoy the actual ‘making’ part of the process. They are clearly only suitable as hobby tools, but seem quite good for that. Before that, I had a friend with a nice shop help me get the material to size, square, etc. Both tools came square out of the box.

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