Using a chain saw to shorten a bench top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Using a chain saw to shorten a bench top

This probably seems like a silly idea, when I built my bench laminating 2x4s I fully expected that I would shorten the ends by sawing them off, but I've realized that I'm really lousy getting things straight with a hand saw and have no other saw to cut 3 1/2 inches deep except for the cheapo electric chain saw.
I know what you're thinking..A chain saw doesn't exactly cut straight either, but I thought perhaps I could drill a hole in the bar and add guide blocks with a heavy threaded rod and use a clamped down board as a guide.. It's somewhat similar idea to a chainsaw mill, just cheaper ..
I'd run right out and buy a circular saw capable of cutting 3 1/2 inches, but I just don't happen to have about $400 laying around to make 2 cuts..
Whadaya think?

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post #2 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 04:15 PM
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It seems a bit of a risk - especially with a "cheapo electric chain saw" as that chain saw may burn out before you complete the job. Consider contacting a professional lumber yard/cabinet maker that may have larger precise wood cutting equipment. It could cost a few $, but maybe not as much as a new circular saw, and the job will be cut straight. Be safe.
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Not too worried about it burning out. It's cut a lot more than I could have possibly expected..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 04:56 PM
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What kinds of saws do you have?

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 04:57 PM
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Chainsaws make rough cuts.

If that is your only option I would put a guide 2x4 top and bottom, and use them to guide the cut.

It will still look like it was cut with a chainsaw, but it's probably the easiest way to get a straight/plumb/consistent cut with one
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 05:40 PM
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If you have a circular saw get as much as you can with that using a straight edge and cut the remainder off with a hand saw or even a reciprocating saw with a straight edge or guide.
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 06:30 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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cut from both top and bottom ...

Use you cheap circ saw and just mak tweo cuts, one fropm the top down and the other to cut all the way through from the bottom OR vice versa. Make certain the saw's motor will clear the legs on the bottom BEFORE starting cut cuts! That may determine how much overhang you'll have on the ends. :smile3:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 07:36 PM
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During a recent renovation on my house, the HVAC guys used electric chainsaws to cut the holes in the subfloor for the heating ducts. I was amazed at their accuracy and how clean the cuts were.
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 07:58 PM
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Any circular saw could complete that cut. You'll just have to cut from both sides. I have even cut a 6x6 with a regular circular saw. I cut from all 4 sides and then cut the remaining wood in the center with a sawzall.
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Problem with the circular saw is both sides of the bench have 10" aprons glued to them.. It's fine for the top and aprons, but the bottom is another story.. it of course goes to figure that the nicest wood grain pattern is where I want to cut it off, but heck..it's a workbench, not a grand piano.

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #11 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 10:49 PM
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How about this??

Cut from the top using a circular saw with a thin kerf blade. That will establish a straight square line. Then finish up with a handsaw. The kerf from the circular saw should help keep the handsaw from straying.
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post #12 of 25 Old 05-08-2016, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
How about this??

Cut from the top using a circular saw with a thin kerf blade. That will establish a straight square line. Then finish up with a handsaw. The kerf from the circular saw should help keep the handsaw from straying.
That is what I would do, never underestimate a good sharp handsaw.

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post #13 of 25 Old 05-09-2016, 12:22 AM
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Dude, use a sawzall. I got one for 20 bucks from harbor freight. A pack of 9-12 inch demo blades are also just a few bucks. You will get a much cleaner line and it's cheap.
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post #14 of 25 Old 05-09-2016, 08:04 AM
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Subroc, Quickstep and FrankC have the better solution so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
Cut from the top using a circular saw with a thin kerf blade. That will establish a straight square line. Then finish up with a handsaw. The kerf from the circular saw should help keep the handsaw from straying.
A sawzall or chainsaw will do the job but you will spend a lot more time cleaning it up than you would have finishing the cut with a handsaw. If you are not skilled with a regular handsaw try a Japanese style pull saw like this http://www.lowes.com/pd_375302-281-2...ductId=3612246, cross cut with the fine side. I find the pull saw will follow a cut from a thin kerf circular saw pretty well and cuts surprisingly fast. A sawzall tends to wonder if you hit knots.

Last edited by regesullivan; 05-09-2016 at 08:41 AM.
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post #15 of 25 Old 05-10-2016, 06:39 PM
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chainsaw

I have done that before. If you have the chain good and sharp and a steady hand a chain saw will make a pretty good cut. If the chain is good and sharp the cut won't even be that rough. toyman
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post #16 of 25 Old 05-10-2016, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
How about this??

Cut from the top using a circular saw with a thin kerf blade. That will establish a straight square line. Then finish up with a handsaw. The kerf from the circular saw should help keep the handsaw from straying.
I second this thought. No way would I use a chain saw
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post #17 of 25 Old 05-10-2016, 10:40 PM
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Talked to a fella at a motel we were staying at years ago, seemed like a regular guy.
It didn't click right off who he was when he told me his name , but I hear he's pretty good with a chainsaw.

Knot Stumped ...just confused once in a while.
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post #18 of 25 Old 05-11-2016, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree Hugger View Post
Talked to a fella at a motel we were staying at years ago, seemed like a regular guy.
It didn't click right off who he was when he told me his name , but I hear he's pretty good with a chainsaw.
Jackyl at Sturgis with a Hemi powered Stihl chainsaw - YouTube
I'd rather go old school with Speed Racer's powerful Mach V with those buzz saw blades.. I don't know how useful it would be for cutting the end off a workbench, but cutting down trees driving 300 mph would be fun..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

Last edited by allpurpose; 05-11-2016 at 01:38 PM.
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post #19 of 25 Old 05-11-2016, 07:05 PM
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I don't wanna mess with trees that are driving 300mph!


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post #20 of 25 Old 05-12-2016, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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You only live once and I installed my fancy schmancy new vise today. Didn't have any maple or other fancy schmancy wood so I used 3 layers of poplar laminated till I get my birch sawed up..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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