Ripping a 2x4 down to roughly a 2x3??

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Forum topic by siouxdawgs0409 posted 06-10-2010 06:05 PM 13804 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View siouxdawgs0409's profile


111 posts in 3697 days

06-10-2010 06:05 PM

Will this work? It seems that I have tried this before and it seems me saw does not like it. I am curious if it is my technique or if it is the wood or perhaps the blade?

My blade is sharp and the saw is tuned straight. But when I start to cut it seems the blade becomes “dull” and the board wants to ride over the top of the blade. My blade a Diablo 40 tooth. I have noticed that it does this same thing with wood bought from home depot. The blade works excellent with wood purchased from a reputable lumber supply of hardwoods. Would a rip blade help to cut the 2×4?

I am just looking to creat a flat edge to mount a piece to the top of it. So I want to rip about a 1/2 off.

22 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117905 posts in 4181 days

#1 posted 06-10-2010 06:08 PM

If your blade is sharp and clean and you have a splitter it should work fine. If you don’t have a splitter you can use some wood wedges to keep the wood from pinching the blade.


View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4822 days

#2 posted 06-10-2010 06:14 PM

I think Jim has identified the problem. It sounds like the cut piece is closing up on the blade. I don’t rip anything without a splitter of some sort installed.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3614 days

#3 posted 06-10-2010 06:19 PM

If the blade is sharp, this shouldn’t be a problem. Is this thicker than the wood you usually cut? If your saw is smaller and the blade is slightly dull, you might be encountering trouble even though ripping 1” hardwood goes ok.

Is the bottom of the 2×4 able to lay flat on the saw table? It might be rocking to one side if it’s not flat.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3764 days

#4 posted 06-10-2010 06:22 PM

The most valuable use of a splitter is when ripping 2×4’s or 2×6’s IMO. They’ve tried to bind on the blade more than anything I’ve run through a saw. They are just more unstable than anything.

That being said, I’d also raise your blade a bit. Of course there is a safety compromise with more blade showing above the board so take note of that.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View siouxdawgs0409's profile


111 posts in 3697 days

#5 posted 06-10-2010 06:25 PM

I do have a splitter. Not thicker than what I have cut before. Might be the flat against the table. as we all know 2×4 are not the flatest and truest of lumber. My sae should be capable, it is ts3650.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3574 days

#6 posted 06-10-2010 06:57 PM

The workbench book by Chris Schwartz (spelling?) pointed out he buys 2×12 x 16’ boards and rips them into 2×3 or 2×4 or 2×6 or whatever he needs because they are always better grade of lumber with almost no knots. I went to Lowes and Home Depot and checked this out. He was exactly correct. I was going to buy much more expensive yellow poplar to glue up my bench legs from, but now I am thinking I might use ripped 2×12 SYP.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3562 days

#7 posted 06-10-2010 07:00 PM

2×4’s and the like are super-fast kiln dried, and are rarely flat and straight. I have found that cutting them along the length is best done after a good jointing job along the bottom and the fence side. I do it with my Shop Smith, so I wouldn’t think an ultra saw would be necessary.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 4129 days

#8 posted 06-10-2010 07:11 PM

as others have said, 2×4’s are rarely straight or true anywhere on the board. They also tend to have a lot of internal stress, the cut will try to close up on the blade in almost every cut you make. I once cut about 1/2 inch off a 2×4 and the little piece twisted into a corkscrew.
Look for the straightest board you can find, and you may even consider planing or sanding the board so it has a true surface.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3874 days

#9 posted 06-10-2010 07:15 PM

I usually rip all construction grade lumber on my Bosch job saw. I won’t use my TS with a WWII on it as the pitch and roll of doug fir (most 2X4’s are made of this) causes the blade to get clogged and to heat. It is funny to say as this wood is not the densest or hardest that I cut…..but it seems to be the messiest and contains a LOT of pitch. I would recommend a Dewalt 20 tooth or a Diablo rip blade 20t….those are what I use on my job saw…and it gets the job done everytime.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View rockom's profile


134 posts in 4475 days

#10 posted 06-10-2010 07:36 PM

Rip both sides….

I’m about read to start a project using dimensional lumber. The plans recommend ripping 1/8” of one edge, and then run that cut edge against the fence when ripping to your final width. This way you have a full flat edge against the fence when you’re removing more than 1/8” off the other side.


-- -> Malta, IL -<

View kennyd's profile


103 posts in 3603 days

#11 posted 06-11-2010 05:44 AM

If the saw blade is lifting the work piece up clamp a feather board to your fence to hold it down. In addition, I’ve found that using a standard kerf blade, not a thin kerf blade helps a lot to reduce binding when cutting 2x materials.

Good luck and be careful!

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.

View tommyd's profile


77 posts in 3736 days

#12 posted 06-11-2010 08:01 AM

I have ripped several with no problems .just go slow and make sure you are using a splitter and even than it might be binding on the splitter if so but a wood wedge on back side of splitter into the ripped portion of the 2×4 to keep it from binding.

-- Life is too short for negative drama & petty things. So laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly!

View ajosephg's profile


1881 posts in 4165 days

#13 posted 06-11-2010 12:59 PM

I start at the store by selecting 2×4’s that are quarter cut (vertical rings) with no twist or bowing.

Then I surface plane them down to 1.25 inches thick which removes most of the rounded corners. After that I rip 1/8 inch off one side, followed by 1/8 inch off the other ending up with a 1.25×3.25 board. By ripping only what is actually only the thickness of the blade you don’t have any problems with binding. (I also use a feather board to keep the stock tight against the fence.)

If there is a need for other widths, for example 2 inches, I’d start with a 2×6 or 2×12 as has already been mentioned – also preselecting to only get boards that are quarter sawn.

-- Joe

View poopiekat's profile


4559 posts in 4338 days

#14 posted 06-11-2010 02:35 PM

Why turn a $2.40 board into a $1.75 board?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3672 days

#15 posted 06-11-2010 02:52 PM

How high do you set your blade for these cuts? I’ve noticed that I sometimes get “climbing” unless I’m using a rip blade (23 teeth), and set the blade height so the gullets clear the board.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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