Fenced in Workshop - Rip Sled

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Project by SawdustTX posted 07-05-2017 07:19 PM 1879 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Paneled my garage interior wall with cedar fence pickets recovered from neighbor’s fence replacements.

Started with 16 fence panels ranging from 4-6’ wide. To get consistent size slats of solid wood with no rot, had to plane down to 3/8” thick and 4 1/2” wide. Out of 16 fence panels, I got 99 boards ranging from 32” to 60” long.

This was a lot more work than I expected. But minus my labor – total cost was a $50 set of planer blades and half a box of finish nails. Looks decent, smells great!

- Broke down the fence panels mostly with a flat crowbard
- Cleaned up the pickets with a stiff brush by hand, which helped me find hidden nails, staples, etc. In the past I’ve cleaned up cedar at the high pressure car wash, but it’s easy to miss imbedded metal that destroys planer blades.
- Trimmed off the rotted ends.
- Planed in multiple passes to 3/8” which generated four 50 gallon bags of chips in the dust collector. Went through a set of planer blades, but still cheaper than if I’d bought this much siding.
- Ripped one straight edge on each slat. The rotted edges were so uneven I had to build the rip sled to cut the first straight edge. And then wondered why I hadn’t built a rip sled years ago! Only took 30 minutes and it’s super handy.
- Ripped the second edge against the tablesaw fence
- Insulated the walls
- Cut boards to length as I put them up so I could fit to stud spacing (very uneven) and board “character” – knots, figure, etc.
- Put up the slats with 16 ga. 2” nailgun finish nails. Used the same nails as spacers to create a small wood expansion gap and shadowline between slats. The hurricane straps connecting the top and bottom plates to the studs made applying the slats a pain! And the framers had done a lousy job keeping the studs flush. Lots of uneven joints and strap bumps to work with.

6 comments so far

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4004 days

#1 posted 07-05-2017 07:43 PM

That turned out very nice. Good job. I doubt if our neighbor’s fence boards would be of any use. They are ugly. Actually, my fence sorta looks the same!

Yep, a sled like that works wonders. I have one also just for that very purpose. Buying lumber in 4/4 often requires a straight edge and the sled is much faster than killing time at the joiner.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View tyvekboy's profile


2004 posts in 3786 days

#2 posted 07-05-2017 10:50 PM

Nice repurposing. Nice wall. Nice price.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View smitdog's profile


464 posts in 2878 days

#3 posted 07-06-2017 05:54 PM

Did you sell the cedar shavings? They are great for animal bedding and keep the bugs away! I bet your shop smelled great while milling everything.

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View SawdustTX's profile


323 posts in 3097 days

#4 posted 07-06-2017 06:52 PM

@Smit, yes it did – and still does – smell great. Unfortunately, I just put the bags of shavings on the curb for “green waste” pickup. But I have three more walls to do, totaling 9’ x 70’, so I’ll be generating plenty more and will take to a local stable to see if they want it. Appreciate the tip.

Also generated a ton of thin edge cutoffs. Bundled some of those as fire starters for my kids beach campfires.

View Mcmurph120's profile


4 posts in 1180 days

#5 posted 07-08-2017 02:24 AM

This looks fantastic! Thanks for posting. A neighbor of mine has just given me a tremendous amount of old cedar fence Bords as well. Can you tell me how you adjusted your clamps on your jig? I think it’s such a pain to adjust both nuts on it. Do you just have the star knob? Any advice would help. Thanks!!!

View SawdustTX's profile


323 posts in 3097 days

#6 posted 07-08-2017 03:27 AM

@McMurph – I have the star knob with embedded nut on top and replaced the lower nut with a wing nut so I don’t have to get a wrench every time. I loosen the knob, move the bolt to where I need it for the board thickness, then tighten the knob and the wing nut.

But how often are you adjusting? I usually leave mine set for 3/4” and only had to set them once for this project – to the 3/8” thickness of the milled fence pickets.

Bessey makes the STC-HH70 toggle clamp that auto-adjusts to different thicknesses and the clamp pad can be adjusted closer or further from the fence, which would be very handy for this jig. But they cost $22 each, and I had these on hand already.

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