Long Rips By Hand

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Forum topic by ColdAudio posted 11-07-2011 03:09 AM 2191 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ColdAudio's profile


16 posts in 2931 days

11-07-2011 03:09 AM

Hey guys and gals, I was wondering if it’s feasible to rip a 6’+ length by hand? I’ve currently got a ryoba for ripping, but have never attempted to rip anything anywhere near this long.

I will soon be building a workbench and keep reading that standard 2×4 are junk, a 2×12 ripped down to size is much better wood. Power tools are an impossibility for now, I live in an apartment.

Can it be done with accuracy? Any tips/tricks? What would be the best way to prop up the wood for accurate sawing?

Is there a better/best type of saw for this?

19 replies so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3488 posts in 3557 days

#1 posted 11-07-2011 03:22 AM

If you glue a pile of DF 2X4s together and use enough nails, it’ll be as tough as a bowling alley made from DF. I don’t buy that 2×12 story. That wood will move all over the place after you cut it.

Keep your eyes peeled. There are people who have made their own benches. I bought my bench top from Rockler (birch, 26” by 36” rings a bell) but that’s my little one for carving (which I’m too busy working for a living to pursue) and rebuilding starters off the cars, etc. My big bench IS DF, 4’ by 8’ frame with an HDF top.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3446 days

#2 posted 11-07-2011 03:50 AM

Yes, you can do it. They did it for hundreds of years before power tools. Now, would you want to? Depends on how masochistic you are. Drink lots of water and unless you are used to doing that kind of manual labor, get ready to be crippled up for a few days after.

You are not going to find that much difference in a wide board over smaller stock in this instance. Knots and such are not a real problem in a big layup like this. There is enough mass there that even a bit of twist or bow isn’t going to amount to squat. Get a pry bar and clamp it down and glue it together. A board with some twist won’t be able to move anything in that big of a lamination.

It is all going to move and settle in over time. It’s wood. Deal with it.

Also remember, in a workbench it is only important that the top is flat.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3225 days

#3 posted 11-07-2011 04:00 AM

If your saw is sharp, it is not that difficult. Watch your liine closely.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View thebigvise's profile


191 posts in 3349 days

#4 posted 11-07-2011 04:05 AM

I admire you. I’m not tough enough to rip any board by hand.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4344 days

#5 posted 11-07-2011 04:08 AM

Sure it can be done. Before power saws carpenters did it all the time for a living. But like David said – if you do it plan to pay for it big time. Even the most avid hand tool guys on here would probably not tackle that big of a job. We’ve not been conditioned to do it. If you did it for a living 100 years ago, no problem – but we’ve softened with the age of machinery.

As for accuracy it can be done – but with practice. Don’t expect your first attempt to be very good. It’s all practice, practice, practice when it comes to hand tools.

As for 2×4’s you can still get some good 2×4’s if you are willing to pick through the pile. Home Depot and Lowe’s hate me because I do just that when I’m buying from them. (I had a manager tell me one time that I wasn’t allowed to pick through the pile like I was. That did not go over well. I wrote a letter to corporate headquarters and got a nice letter back thanking me for my business and telling me to keep picking away and I got two 10% discount coupons to boot!) I think for the price you should get to choose what you buy so take your time and pick through the pile – you’ll find enough to use.

You can do a lot in a small space like an apartment. I tried to find the thread on here but couldn’t, but there is a guy who lived in the orient (I think) and basically did all his work in his kitchen and on his balcony. So it can be done—- just don’t piss off the neighbors with noise :-)

That’s my two cents – spend it wisely.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3419 days

#6 posted 11-07-2011 04:59 AM

For what it’s worth, the best looking dimensional lumber in my Home Depot is 2×6 rafters. There are even a few almost clear boards in the stacks. I have used them for projects several times; very pleased.

A good japanese saw with rip filed teeth is not all that hard to use. Now, do I want to rip both edges off six 2×6s? No! Go buy you a laminated maple top and build your base. You can crosscut 4×4s and 2×6s a lot easier than you think. I’m no superman and I built a 100 ft plank fence with 4×4 post every 8 ft entirely with my japanese pull saw. Cut all the posts, all the plank lenghts, and several plank rips by hand over a weekend.

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 2905 days

#7 posted 11-07-2011 05:02 AM

at least you have a reason for not using a table saw to do this. If you simply prefered to rip the boards by hand as opposed to a table saw i would recommend you find a girlfriend instead, it would be much more satisfying

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18633 posts in 4124 days

#8 posted 11-07-2011 05:37 AM

My dad and grandpa built a barn 52×54 x 26 feet high with hand saws. I would think 6 foot is rather small task ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3124 days

#9 posted 11-07-2011 05:54 AM

Well, 6 feet is the first board. I think a good sharp rip saw would be in order….and a BIG bottle of Ibuprofen. I have done such things but that was 50 years ago. I have since learned better and am probably paying for that foolishness. I say a hundred dollar portable circular saw would do the job… or a hundred in meds to overcome the task. Go for the power saw. Better yet just buy the table top unless you are wanting to build one for the sake of building it.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18633 posts in 4124 days

#10 posted 11-07-2011 06:15 AM

I don’t know about the Ibuprofen Grandpa. My dad told me he never had any aches and pains until he was in his 60s. I was bucking hay bales with my grandpa when he was 86. As long as you are not dong the same thing all day everyday, it should be an issue. We all need a little more exercise ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3225 days

#11 posted 11-07-2011 03:27 PM

Keep in mind that carpenters used to sharpen their own saws – everyday. It was something you did before you went home every night. If you are ripping plywood, budget twice the time and a sharpening – the glue and grain changes play hell with the blade. If you are ripping softwood stay with a 6 point rip saw, hardwood, I would use an 8 point saw and take my time. Half the sawing is removing the waste, softwoods will also have more sap and moisture, making the saw bind more so the set is a significant factor.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Bryan's profile


51 posts in 3306 days

#12 posted 11-07-2011 06:54 PM

I have been working on my workbench for 2 months and have enjoyed every bit of it. I have used a combonation of white oak, red oak and walnut, all of it came from a friend who owns a small sawmill. If you put the word out on this forum you can proably find someone who has a mill close to you and you would be surprised at what you could buy with your money. Another thing about the guys who own mills is that they sometimes for just a little extra they will send your wood through a planner. The wood I bought was nice wood but was not the most desiarable. I am going to post a new topic about by bench journey if you want to read it. It will be titled “My workbench journey” and by the way dont think for one minute you are saving time buying a pre built top in fact it is a waste because you do not learn new skills or aquire the tools needed I will explain this in my new post

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 4101 days

#13 posted 11-07-2011 07:01 PM

I rip that kind of board with a hand saw.. So yes, you can probably do it with a small table saw as well. You would need an outfeed table and/or a helper to catch the board on the other side.

-- Yves

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3103 days

#14 posted 11-07-2011 07:06 PM

Ripping by hand is more of an endurance and finesse thing than a brute strength opperation. I have never tried it with a Ryoba but I see no reason why that can’t be done.

For me a good 5 tipi (4.5 in my case) panel saw and a sawbench is my best friend. A european frame saw works well too if you have the ability to clamp the peice to your workbench without the clamps interfereing with your saw.

Just give yourself som extra room to clean up your cut with a handplane at fist and you should be just find for your project.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 2905 days

#15 posted 11-08-2011 03:33 AM

an outfeed table to rip a six foot board???

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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