Rip Sled


SHOP OWNER: Jim Cummins
LOCATION: Woodstock, NY

    To save money, I once ordered a few hundred feet of "log run" lumber from a mill; this is unsorted wood, just as it comes off the log. Well, as I'd expected, most of it had raw edges, with no straight lines to be seen. Clearly, the first step in converting this material into usable stock was going to be straightening those edges.
    I remembered seeing a jig for just that purpose somewhere, probably in one of Tage Frid's early books, and I quickly cobbled one up to see how it would work.
    Predictably, in my shop anyway, the prototype jig becomes the permanent working version, and so it is that this fifteen-year-old sled of plywood scrap is still in service today.
    The principles ought to be obvious -- a long runner rides the miter gauge slot and carries a "table" on which the lumber is positioned for its trip through the blade. To achieve the necessary length to fit the load of lumber, we just overlapped parts as necessary and fashioned various half-lap or scarf joints. A "fence" on the near end acts as a stop for the board being sawn (the black spot on the fence in the photo is the head of a drywall screw that projects through the fence a little bit, to act as a grip on the board); the far end of the board is held in place by a clamp, a screw, or a helper, depending on the day and time. One essential feature: The edge of the sled is the sawblade's line of cut, which shows you where the board has to be positioned to true the edge.
    Hey, it's not fancy, but neither am I. And it works!

...Jim Cummins




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