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Straight Edges for Rough Lumber

By: Phil Huber
Straightening out rough or crooked lumber will take time, but it's a simple task when you use the table saw and this easy-to-use jig.

Buying rough lumber can save you money. But once it’s in the shop, you’ll have to prepare it for use. And the first step is usually to rip a straight edge on the board. Normally, I turn to the jointer to straighten a piece of stock. But with rough or severely crooked stock, this is often not an option. Bark on the edge of rough lumber is tough on jointer knives. Plus it’s difficult to joint a long board, especially if it has a serious crook.

The key to turning a crooked board into a usable workpiece is to start by getting one edge straight. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a clamping carrier board.

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This jig is simple to make. It’s just a piece of 3/4" plywood cut with a perfectly straight edge. T-track is installed in dadoes and the hold-down clamps keep the lumber in place as you make the cut to straighten the edge.

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Set the workpiece on the jig so that one edge overhangs the side of the jig. Then all you need to do is run the jig against the rip fence of your table saw to make the edge straight.

An added benefit of this jig is that it can be used for cutting a taper on a workpiece. To cut a taper with this jig, just line up the tapered edge you want to cut with the edge of the jig and clamp the workpiece in place.

Published: Aug., 20 2015
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