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Cutting Boards to finished length

Started by Dewey, February 04, 2013, 04:48:14 PM

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I do allot of cedar decking and one of my bigger customers Would like me to cut the decking boards to a finished lengths of 4' , 8', 12'  . Do any of you guys do this ? I am looking for Ideas to do this efficiantly  and accurqte   . They ordered 25,000  linial feet last summer  and expect to need more this year.


Hi Dewey. I saw a lot of Cedar for customers.

I have never sawn their lumber to length. The only draw back I would have to doing this, is because Cedar is a brittle wood. It will split on the ends if it is handle wrong or dropped.

You did not state your thickness, but the thinner the Cedar board the greater the chance the end may split or handle with care.  :)
The older I get I wish my body could Re-Gen.


This  customer  is using  5/4x 6..  the planed thickness is 1" , I have another that uses 2x6 x6 . The Cedar is  Northern White Cedar...  I haven't found it to be brittle. The customer wants to try to save his time , I suppose he would rather pay me   :D.  They use mostly 4' lenghts so it would mean cuttin 8' and 12'  pieces


Dewey, that is allot of boards to finish to size. I have done some of this, mainly for friends, I have a chop saw that will cut through a 8" cant. There is some break out on the ends of course, the only other option for a finish piece is radial saw or miter saw with the proper blade.  This is time comsuming, not sure how you would want to price this, but work is work, with a good set up, just another procedure I suppose you can make it work.
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,


Good post Dewey. What I was talking about is Eastern Red Cedar. I have to admit, I have never worked with Northern White Cedar.
But if I had to saw to length, I would charge them a fair hourly price plus blade wear. Sounds like you have a steady job.  :)
The older I get I wish my body could Re-Gen.

Jay C. White Cloud

Hey Dewey,

I know customers ask for things that sometimes they shouldn't get, this is one IMO.  The rough length protects the end of the boards.  You would be doing them a service by reminding them that keeping that extra length protects the boards, the same as it does our beams.  We often lay our beams out with extra meat left on till close to raising time just to protect the ends from damage.

Regards,  jay
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Chuck White

I would suggest to the customer that he/she leave the extra few inches of length on the boards to provide cut-off length in case of end check.

He's probably trying to find an easier way to keep track of the linear feet sawed.

To me, a 1"x8"x8'5" is still and 8 footer.
~Chuck~  Sawing mobile from 2005-2022.  Cooks Cat Claw sharpener and single tooth setter.  2018 Chevy Silverado and 2021 Subaru Ascent.
With basic mechanical skills and the ability to read you can maintain a Woodmizer  LT40!


We chop quite a few boards to length. Most are 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 8' for fence stringers and 4' and 6'  x 3/4 for fence pickets.  2 to 3000 boards at a time.
I agree that leaving the boards untrimmed will help keep a better end. 

We have 3 chop saws set exactly 4' plus saw kerf apart on a heavy bench.  We have a stop  2' from the last saw.  This lets us cut 2', 4', 6' , 8' and 10' quickly and accurately.  Having 2 people makes the job go quickly.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.


That is a cool setup with multi saws. I used to make Laser cut RC airplane kits we had a chop saw with a tape measure built into the stop block so you always knew how far from the blade it was and could make  any size. I have been working on a quote for someone who wants it cut to length. I am thinking about doing that work by the hour and making the hourly rate include machine time and blades etc.
George Kalbfleisch
Woodmizer LT40, twin blade edger, Bobcat A300, Kubota L48 and yes several logrites!


All my side lumber is trimmed to 3 standard lengths: 8'-1", 10'-1", and 12'-1". I have a chop saw under a roof, two long roller tables to act as infeed and outfeed tables. The outfeed tables has stops for three lengths, plus one at 47" for stickers. My helper trims one end, raises the appropriate stop, and then trims the other end.

She stacks all the wood coming off the edger by width and length so when it comes time to trim she can raise one stop and then process everything of that length. Since she's processing the wood by size, she can easily stack the trimmed lumber by size as well.

Most customer will end up cutting the boards to length anyway, but they all seem to like having a square end to start with.
Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw
"Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers."

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