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post #21 of 33 Old 01-19-2013, 01:39 PM
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This is simple. Make your measurement, and begin your cut. Cut through the first side, but don't take the saw out of the cut you just made. Instead, leave the blade in the cut and rotate the base of the saw to the next side of the 4x4. Cut through and rotate to the third side and make that cut. That third cut will get you all the way through the 4x4 with a perfect cut. I've done it many times. The only way it doesn't end up perfect is if you don't have a flat piece of wood, which could account for the issues you are having. If none of that makes sense, let me know and I'll make a video for you.

PS... Look at the threads I've started, the one about my daughters bed in particular. I used nothing but a circular saw for the entire bed, minus the headboard.
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post #22 of 33 Old 01-19-2013, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markinatlanta View Post
Thanks for the input everyone; jeffsw6 your info re: value of the combination square was particularly helpful. I have a regular square but the combination one I can see now would be better.
But I'm still not super confident this can be done with the precision I feel is necessary. By me, ha
You should have no trouble making the cut now that you know a good way to measure & mark it.

If you had a different kind of saw, of course, you wouldn't even need to do this. With a radial arm saw or a sliding miter saw you would just put the 4x4 against the fence and start cutting!

If you still can't manage it with the circular saw, go to Home Depot and rent a sliding miter saw for a day. As someone just getting into woodworking for the first time, you might not want to invest in tools that you don't know if you will use very often. Renting tools is a good way to decide if you would like to buy them or not.

EDIT: Don't forget to put plenty of thought into how the weight of your aquarium will be distributed from your table top to the legs!
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post #23 of 33 Old 01-19-2013, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Black540i , that is helpful as well.
And Jeff renting a miter is a good idea also. As to my plans, I'm not concerned about weight distribution, its a solid plan specifically geared for the size aquarium I want to get . I just didn't foresee the challenge in cutting 4x4s is all.
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post #24 of 33 Old 01-19-2013, 10:13 PM
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A couple of ideas. I don't know anything about GA, but see if there is a hardwood lumber store near you. A lot of them do cutting and milling, and can probably make some precise cuts for you for probably just a couple of dollars.

See if there is a Woodcraft store near you and ask them where you might be able to get some precise cuts made for you.

Rent a 10" miter saw from Home Depot or any other rental store. But that will be your most expensive route, since it'll probably be in the $20-$30 range (??)
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-19-2013, 10:44 PM
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IF the legs will be concealed, could you laminate a couple 2x4's together, creating a 4x4? Glue and screw them together.
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post #26 of 33 Old 01-20-2013, 10:25 PM
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Mark,

HOw large is this aquarium? I built one a few months ago for 125 gallons. Reason I ask is that4x4's seems to be a bit overkill
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post #27 of 33 Old 01-20-2013, 11:28 PM
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Nah. 4x4 is fine. All a part of the design concept for the appearance of the stand. Please consider things other than the weight load. 8" x 8" with incut corners would "look" even better.
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post #28 of 33 Old 01-20-2013, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by markinatlanta View Post
Yes, am in west Cobb county. Alas a little too far from you though, ha
BINGO! As Burb suggested someone in your area may be able to help. I too am in west cobb/Marietta and would be more that happy to assist. I have a saw that can handle 4x4's.

If you are interested PM me and we will figure out timing.

Just realized you probably do not have enough post to sent a PM so I left you a vistor message with my cell number.

"It don't take all kinds, there just are all kinds"
Granny Clampett

Last edited by MeasureTwice; 01-20-2013 at 11:43 PM. Reason: add note re PM's
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post #29 of 33 Old 01-21-2013, 12:11 AM
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I agree with Chris Curls post above. Good advice. Also,it can be difficult to cut 4x4s with a circular saw and get a clean cut. But in woodworking there is always more than one way to do things.

There will be things that will be especially difficult the first time or two. Learn to find a way to practice certain techniques on scraps until you feel comfortable and confident. Its a process of doing and learning
from experience and mistakes.
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post #30 of 33 Old 01-21-2013, 01:06 AM
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In my experience, using a square all the way around a 4x4 to connect all the lines only works about 1/2 the time due to inconsistencies in the 4x4 sides slightly throwing the square off with each line. You end up with the last line missing the first line by 1/8 inch at times. This absolutely cannot be relied on every time.

Start out with a saw blade set to a perfect 90* to the saw foot. I usually make one mark on one side all the way across, maybe one more on an adjacent side also, using a speed square. Anymore marks just ends up doing the above mentioned misalignment. After this, I make one cut with the circular saw, then rotate the 4x4 so the next side is up and already 1/2 cut from the first cut. I just follow the rest of the line and complete the cut. Then rotate once more and do a third cut. I generally don't even need the third side marked, I can just complete the cut by following the rest of the kerf from the last cut. A third mark is liable to have been off by this point anyway, and just serves to make me think I missed it if it's there and was off. I just lean over the wood and watch the blade come out exiting the first initial cut, which assures me that I got it right even before I see the final result.

3 total cuts and it's done. Usually ends up totally flat on the end but once in a while it might be off. Usually I'm building a deck with 4x4's so I can hide the ends if they're off any. If it needs correcting, I can just sand where I made the third and final cut since that is where any mistake almost always is. Most times it comes out just fine. One thing that might be causing problems for you is how well you support the wood while cutting. If it can fall away as you finish it, it's not right. Across two saw horses and cutting in between is wrong. I'd sooner use one horse only and have it longways on top of it (if possible that is, I built horses for this, some don't have a wide enough top though, attach a flat 2x6). The cut can be ruined as the wood is removed and allows movement that can bind the blade. I prefer it totally clamped down, supported full length, and then cut. Much better results then.

Otherwise, a sliding miter saw can be used. Or two 2x4's, each cut to same length and then glued/screwed together.

I've also found combination squares to be inaccurate also. They have too much play. I prefer engineer's squares and speed squares, carpenter framing squares, anything fixed and non adjustable.

One more thing you might try. Make two adjacent marks, one on top, one down the facing side to you, and then start slowly and use a Japanese pull saw. It will take a few minutes but not nearly as long as you think. The cut will be superb when finished. I got one from Home Depot for $10 and I'm amazed at how accurate, and fast, it cuts.

Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-21-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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post #31 of 33 Old 01-21-2013, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by markinatlanta View Post
The saw is brand new, and it does cut like butter. But without going through in one pass, it requires getting multiple cuts to line up.
And that's what I can't seem to do, no matter how much I try. I'm a meticulous person by nature; have tried all the techniques. The cut comes out uneven every time. And even if I sanded, the results would be each piece being a different measurement, which will hose me in assembly.
If I never plan and using 4x4s again (and I don't), then don't see why I have to master this one thing. If it could be done in one pass I could do it. But short of that, I just don't have the wood to waste to keep screwing up more and more cuts
It should not take "multiple" (implying more than two) cuts. Two cuts should be sufficient. Top and bottom.

George
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post #32 of 33 Old 01-21-2013, 12:31 PM
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Do you have a block plane by chance? You could gang the rough boards together and plane the tops level to each other. This being end grain, you could see some tearout. Back before my miter saw and planes if I was in a situation like this I might've ganged them and hit it with the orbital sander, but it is harder to keep from rounding off the corners.
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post #33 of 33 Old 01-21-2013, 03:37 PM
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Cutting 4x4's

I'm going to take a completely different approach to this situation. It seems you are convinced you cannot cut the 4x4's perfectly, so what? Cut them as close as you can and use adjustable leg levelers to get them even. There are many different leg levelers available and they are easy to install. They range from very light duty to very heavy duty and knowing that some aquariums can be extremely heavy I would tend to go towards the heavier side. If you can't find what you want at your local big box store check out some caster companies in your area. My company used to make computer furniture and every leg had adjustable levelers on them. Even if you could get your legs exactly perfect, I'd still use leg levelers, nothing like an aquarium that doesn't have the water level, all the fish would be swimming on one side!

Best of luck,

Bandman
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