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Author Topic: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices  (Read 4156 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« on: March 04, 2016, 12:02:51 AM »
I've been looking into straight line rip saws for a while now, and have used another company's old Eckstrom to optimize and straight line some of my lumber.  I've considered old iron that needs refurbishment, I've talked to Diehl to get one of their refurbished bottom saws, and I've researched many of the junk and some maybe not so junk top mounted saw import models.  Safety is an important concern and many of the newer models have triple kickback fingers, while many of the older models are very lean in the safety department.  Other considerations are accuracy, longevity, control of the board (number of presser rollers), local service, warranty, and feed rate.  I'm looking at not big production rates, maybe only thousand or two Bdft a week to go through it. 
Does anybody have any advice or opinions, good or bad?
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Offline Gary_C

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 01:46:25 AM »
I've got an old top saw sitting back in the shed right where I unloaded it many years ago. I've been told that people that ran top saws had to wear heavy leather aprons to keep from getting speared. Guess I should have scrapped it when scrap prices were high. But then again they can make Kevlar Aprons now.  :)
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 07:43:48 AM »
Robert,

Which new models are you currently looking at as possibilities?
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 08:49:05 AM »
I'm looking at the Diehl ESL series, from the ESL 10 to ESL 30.  These are bottom saw models, relatively slow feed rate, 60-70 fpm (I'm doing 100 FPM now with my power feeder) but they will have been fully reconditioned and fitted with all updated safety features by Diehl.  These are very good saws, but expensive.  Bottom saws are inherently safer than top saws because the boards are pulled down to the table and caterpillar track, unlike top saws where the boards are pulled up off the table and off the track.  All with antikickback, like a table saw, but better models are recommended to have at least two, or better yet, three sets of anti kickback devices installed.  Older Diehls, Mattisons, and Eckstoms may only have one.
The Grizzly SLR is dirt cheap, but only has a minimum number of 4 pressure rollers, so has a reputation for more kickbacks and less positive feeding.  Most other saws in this class have 6 to 8 pressure rollers.  There is a Grizzly for sale on the Internet, but it has a reweld repair on the primary anti kickback fixture, indicating it may have taken quite a hit.
I've also looked at Lobo, Extrema, Laguna, all the Tek brands, Powermatic, Oliver, and pretty much everything I could find.  Many of the imports are very similar, but looking closely at the specs, they have important differences.  For Example, Powermatic doesn't have three sets of antikickback back, only two, however has a machined table instead of straight cast.  It is also several grand$ higher than some other very similar units.   
Right now I'm considering the Cantek C12RSH.  It has decent power, lots of safety, and is considered glue line accurate.  Also looking at the Oliver, which is a twin to the Powermatic, but for a few grand less.  I have a very good Powermatic repair guy, and he also repairs Oliver's.   
Also in the running would be one of the ESL series, if I could get Diehl to locate a refurb for me.
I've also looked at several older used Auction House/Craigslist offers units, and didn't like them.  It seems once folks buy one, they love it and will never sell it, they keep it until it bites them, or they go bankrupt, or it's been just plain worn out (typically the tracks) and can't track straight anymore.  I've also seen a couple that are still in service after 20-30 years and crank out wood every day, no problems.  Most of those are the very large commercial models and I just don't have room or money for them.   
Over the years, I've had various equipment throw pieces of wood at me, never seriously hurting me, and I don't like it.  I'd rather buy nothing at all than a worn out model.
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 09:22:57 AM »
To me, it looks like many of these machines are 3 Phase.  Do you have access to 3 Phase power or will you need a rotary converter?
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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 09:41:42 AM »
I run an old Diehl and have been very happy with it. Diehl thinks it is around a 1921 vintage and like you , I  only run a few thousand feet per month through it. Extremely heavy machine !

  

 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 05:16:45 PM »
Tule Peak, that's a machine!

Glenn1, all the ones I'm looking at are 3 phase, maybe 15 hp.  I've got a call into my utility company to tell me what 3 phase will cost, and I've also started looking at phase converters.  At some point, I'll probably convert the mill over to electric anyway, so 3 phase seems to be imminent.

I talked to a guy today who said he'd had only two kickbacks in 30 years.  Both were with old saws, and both hurt bystanders, not operators.  This guy tells me, the safest place to be is directly behind a ripsaw because of the shielding of the kickback fingers.  He says they protect the operator like a shield.  Both kickbacks were from edge slicing 8/4 slabs, and the edging got caught in the blade and flung into the antikickback fingers. The pieces of wood then "exploded" as he says against the fingers, and the pieces came out the side at a slight angle.  In neither case was the operator hurt at all, and neither was serious to the bystanders, although they were both bloodied, one with a small hunk of wood in his arm.  I have trouble believing that the safest place to stand is directly behind the saw, but this is his experience.  I have noticed that the newer saws have a solid metal, pivoting side plate on either side of the blade.  Does anybody have any other thoughts on this as it kind of surprises me?
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2016, 06:50:54 AM »
YH, why do you need that?
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2016, 07:06:48 AM »
YH, why do you need that?


That was my question too.  ???
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2016, 10:53:28 PM »
YH, why do you need that?
That was my question too.  ???
Mine too :D
I spend an inordinate amount of time grade trimming boards in order to maximize yield and cost.  The more lumber I produce, the more I have to trim as a secondary operation.  When I sell the boards as lower grade, I have to reduce the price, and many times, all I have to do is trim a knot or straighten an edge and I can jack my price up again.  Unfortunately, it means trimming or dressing lots of boards.  I sell my common grade of red oak for $2.50 per bdft, and my select prime for $4 to $4.50. The increase in price is even better in cherry, as I can't hardly even sell a common board of cherry, but prime select is my best seller at $4.50 and up.  So I spend a lot of time cleaning up boards, sometimes several days a week.
Also, I've been doing a lot of quarter sawing, and many of the boards, especially center cuts boats, have to be run through a table saw four times, two outside edges, and two cuts on either side of the pith to produce two clean, straight edged boards from one.  I buy Sycamore logs for less than $0.50 per bdft and sell the quarter sawn boards for $6.  At that price, they need to be top quality, straight and true.  Same thing with my quarter sawn white oak, the generally have to be edged or straight-lined to sell them. 
I've been using a power feeder on my table saw for a couple years now, and it worked for awhile, but its costing me time now that my production has increased.  I've also been having a contract shop straight-line some of the boards, but they don't really know what I want, and only do one edge.  So they are costing me money.

So for all these reasons and others, I'm looking at a nice SLR.  Its really a grade edger to be used after kiln drying, instead of a sawmill edger used before drying.     
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2016, 07:16:26 AM »
Thanks for the info, Do you still send out the lumber to be skipped planed?
2008 LT40 super,2008 edger, Cat telahandler, JD 5410 And can cut up to 45' long
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2016, 09:44:34 AM »
Thanks for the info, Do you still send out the lumber to be skipped planed?
Yes, every week, like clockwork, I take a trailer load and pick up the trailer load I dropped off the week before.  It has really helped my production rate, and protect my hip.  Planing is a huge effort, 4 times to handle each board, (into the planer, out and return, flip, into the planer again, then out and restock).  So outsourcing the planing has really freed up a major choke point.  Unfortunately, I've found its hard to get others to straight line to my quality standards and also not leave a lot of waste on the floor.  It seems like a situation of if I don't do it, it doesn't get done right. 
So about every week, I get a load back from the planer, and I have to clean up a stack of low grade culls like this

To turn it into a high stack like this and double the value.


Just a few days ago, I put a short load into the kiln of remnant mixed stacks including red elm, quarter sawn sycamore, and some Kentucky coffee. 

All are either bad actors or will need the trimmed to maximize yield $$.  Kind of depressing looking at a load like this knowing most of the boards in this load will need to be trimmed with my trusty table saw instead of a tool designed for the job.  Kind of like whittling on a fence post with a pocket knife.


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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2016, 10:03:19 AM »
First off,,,,your Culls look like my best stock :D I've look at the newer rip saws and will definitely rebuild my old one when the time is right. Used old saws go for pennies on the dollar and the only complaint I have about mine is that it needs more horsepower. The slr with two people on it is a great time saver. As far as planing, I set up two planers in line, then a sander- to help lessen time. There are a couple of members here with double-sided planers, and for me that's next. I'm glad your production needs are pressuring you !  Rob
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Offline hackberry jake

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2016, 10:32:27 PM »
A couple times a year, I see slrs go for scrap prices. I'd like to have one, but I don't know where I'd put it or how I'd power it.
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2016, 12:25:26 AM »
The more I read on them, and talk to people, the more I'm hoping I can land a good deal, as prices are dropping due to the economy. 

I've contacted quite a few businesses and they are looking.  I had discussions with my local utility engineer, and he said there is no 3 phase within a mile of me.  I would have to pay them to set different poles down the line and he said my grandkids would still be paying for it.  I've already got commercial single phase to my farm, but that doesn't help to get 3 phase.  I stared looking at rotary converters today, $2,500 thereabouts for a 30 hp.  Ouch, but that will be enough to run my mill, if I ever want to repower.  Ain't nothing cheap. 
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2016, 05:42:23 AM »
It's crazy how much it costs to run power.  It's the wire that does it, I believe.  They run 3 phase power to the big mill up the road a summer or two back, not exactly sure how far, but I would guess a few miles, I wonder how much that cost em.  Good thread here ya.  I should find out what my old boss's straight line rip saw is, it has a laser sight on it and everythin...fayuncy
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2016, 10:36:14 AM »
You can build your own rotary phase converter with a used 3 phase motor for pretty cheap if you have the know how. I think they showed one in one of the old fine woodworking issues.
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2016, 07:05:59 AM »
The more I read on them, and talk to people, the more I'm hoping I can land a good deal, as prices are dropping due to the economy. 

I've contacted quite a few businesses and they are looking.  I had discussions with my local utility engineer, and he said there is no 3 phase within a mile of me.  I would have to pay them to set different poles down the line and he said my grandkids would still be paying for it.  I've already got commercial single phase to my farm, but that doesn't help to get 3 phase.  I stared looking at rotary converters today, $2,500 thereabouts for a 30 hp.  Ouch, but that will be enough to run my mill, if I ever want to repower.  Ain't nothing cheap.
check with your utility co. They can run 480 volt single phase here and you can run a pretty big phase converter off that. They use this system on irrigation pumps. You can get used 3 phase motors for 10 bucks per hp here. I have a guy in Joplin build mine. I think a 50 hp is around 700 plus the motor. So about 1200 for a 50 hp converter with a little scrounging.
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2016, 11:34:02 PM »
I know you have probably seen these. There are a lot of them in your driving distance. Can't help with 3 phase, except "Genset".

http://www.lumbermenonline.com/find-for-sale/Straight-Line-Rip?class=Woodworking&category=Straight%20Line%20Rip
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2016, 11:49:06 PM »
yh they have a yard about 30 minutes from me i have bought a few pieces from them over the years so far they have been honest but remember they are traders ;D they have equipment all over the U S . if you see one on the clarksburg or bruceton yards i would be happy to go look for you if you want. i dont know much about slrs but i can tell if its scrap or not ;) might save you a trip to look at scrap iron :)
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2016, 01:02:12 AM »
Well, I finally scored myself a used SLR, and had it delivered today.  Can't wait to open it up and get to using it.  It a 15 hp used unit, that I got for an exceptional discount.  It had an easy life, was a trade show machine, and only used maybe at four exhibits, with a grand total of 27.6 hours in it.  The guy who sold it to me said that the only thing wrong with it is maybe a rust stain where somebody had put a beer mug on it. 

I've already got a 30 hp phase converter hooked up to main power and operable, (finished that yesterday) so hopefully will have this up and running before long. 
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2016, 06:42:18 AM »
You definitely screw straight!  As opposed to screwin around.  Nice!
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2016, 11:23:50 PM »
Well, we've had a few good sessions with the new straight line rip saw, and the verdict is that's it's very easy to use and a huge timesaver.  We straight lined several thousand Bdft of some real trouble maker wood this weekend, including elm, sycamore, as well as some more stable oak, maple and buckeye.  I had been saving pallets of rejects up until I got the saw hooked up, so had a decent stockpile to go through. 
Here's a picture of one of the stacks before we started working it, and then here's a picture at the end of today, with a trailer full of edgings. 
 

 
 

 
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2016, 05:29:14 AM »
Conversation of three phase and rotary converters.

In a nut shell all they are is a three phase motor with a capacitor start single phase starting circuit which generates the third phase by induction .I've built about twenty of them myself .It's not magic nor rocket science and they are around 92 percent efficient .

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2016, 06:40:59 AM »
Looks good, I was surprised to see all the short wood in the pile. 8' is the shortest wood I sell. Do you put all the short wood in a pile, all mix kinds together?
Or put the short in with the long stuff in the same pile of the same kind of wood?
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Offline WDH

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2016, 08:13:07 AM »
I end up with short boards in furniture grade hardwood because sometimes you need to cut out a defect, or you may have to cut a bowed board into two shorter straight boards.  The key to getting the best price is to prepare the wood very well.  I am still working on doing a better job of this, and I recently put in a 12" jointer to help with crooked or bowed boards.
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2016, 09:29:20 AM »
 

 
All of these Ash 1X6's and 1X8's were 14' long when they went to my planer/T&G guy.   After straight line ripping, etc. they came back in various lengths.  Not a problem because lengths didn't matter with my flooring.   
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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2016, 10:41:31 PM »
Looks good, I was surprised to see all the short wood in the pile. 8' is the shortest wood I sell. Do you put all the short wood in a pile, all mix kinds together?
Or put the short in with the long stuff in the same pile of the same kind of wood?
We cull and grade as we restock.  Every week, we take our planed but not graded packs of lumber and start re-stocking the shelves, species by species.  We go through a lot of wood every week, and as we reload the racks, we put all the rejects onto pallets and process them all in a mixed batch.  Hopefully we don't have many but sometimes we do. So it becomes a mixed species pallet (or pallets) that we take inside to clean up.  We clean everything to remove as many defects as possible, and only sell common grade of a few species, such as red oak, hickory and maple.  Everything else gets the premium "HHA" (Hobby Hardwood Alabama ;D)  grade as our customers say, which is basically a clean board with no knots.  Short boards sell fine, and 8 footers seem to be the longest most folks want to deal with on a routine basis.
Just this year I made a stack or two of 12 foot and 10 foot of a couple species (white oak and hard maple), and they sold much slower than 8 footers of the same species.  Also, since out boards are very clean, nobody wants to pay for a board with a knot or defect.  So we trim them out.  Basically we take a FAS board and instead of having the customer visualizing the clear wood in the board, we do the trimming and get the clear wood of the boards and only sell that.  So I have the advantage that as I'm sawing, I can try to optimize the grade, real time, as I know how I'm going to trim.  Its an interesting market, and most of the people I deal with, although many are professional furniture makers and woodworkers, don't care about the nuances of grade, they want dead clear wood and are willing to pay for it.
We had the ripsaw up a running for a couple weeks now, and better than half of the customers have started asking us to straight line the boards before they leave.  We charge 50 cents per bdft for two edges, and which may be about what, or maybe half of what we paid for some of the logs to begin with.  So the simple act of straight lining the finished boards brings significant profit margin and also makes the customer happy.
       
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Offline WDH

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2016, 07:16:25 AM »
Some of the lower grade, knottier boards sell better if you leave the live edge, but in many cases, there is not much you can do about low grade except to try and not saw it. 
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2016, 10:16:33 PM »
Very interesting, YH.  So..opening up logs on the WM is just a small part of what you do huh
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2016, 11:07:54 PM »
Very interesting, YH.  So..opening up logs on the WM is just a small part of what you do huh

Yes, everything from cutting logs from our own farm, me buying and trucking logs from anyone who has high enough quality, sawing them, stacking the lumber, air drying, running 3 kilns (really 2 1/2), planing (and outsourcing a good bit of that, I hate planing :D), trimming boards, restocking shelves, and of course the retail sales on Saturdays where we routinely have people drive from hundreds of miles and many states away.  We saw for the sole purpose of keeping our kilns full, as we can't produce enough lumber to keep up with demand.  I try to control every phase of the operation, and it starts with good logs and a sawmill. 
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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2016, 09:34:51 AM »
Cool ! :)
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Offline thechknhwk

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2016, 11:42:45 AM »
I'm green with envy as I'm in the middle of processing 12' pieces of ash into 1500 sq ft of hardwood flooring for my upstairs.  My first straight edge is with a makita track saw then I'll run the other side thru the table saw.

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2016, 06:50:22 AM »
Thanks for the info.
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2016, 11:12:08 AM »
I'm green with envy as I'm in the middle of processing 12' pieces of ash into 1500 sq ft of hardwood flooring for my upstairs.  My first straight edge is with a makita track saw then I'll run the other side thru the table saw.

If you joint one edge you will not need the track saw. 
I am assuming you have a jointer to set up for the planer.
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Offline thechknhwk

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2016, 06:50:21 PM »
I know it is not the proper way to truly flatten boards, but I plane them all first.  The track saw is way faster than the jointer for getting the first straight edge.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2016, 11:43:56 PM »
This weekend we were running the planer and the SLR at the same time, making lots of chips.  It was cold and dry outside, which is great for building up static electricity and after a short time I started hearing a loud "pop."  It sounded just like an electric fence arc, and sure enough, up in the corner of the barn, right where the plastic dust collector pipe takes a bend pretty close to a metal wire tie, I see about an inch long blue flame spark crackle across the gap.  A few minutes more, I see it again.  I'd always heard that plastic dust collector pipe could lead to sparks, but....  Good news is that I'm very careful about not letting sawdust build up on the rafters, so there was nothing to spark into a fire. 

So today I spent a good deal of the evening replacing the plastic pipe with metal.  Here it is about midway through the process. 
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Offline jueston

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2016, 08:50:30 AM »
there are those who believe you can ground an insulator(plastic) by wrapping wire around it and grounding the wire...

my personal experience has convinced me to just use metal pipe since plastic always always always shocks me....

and my hair looks better laying flat then spiky from the static anyways....  :)

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Straight Line Rip Saw Choices
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2016, 07:18:46 AM »
All dust collectors should have A dust collector braded grounding wire KIT.
This wire goes inside the plastic pipe...

 

 

 

 

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