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Author Topic: Squaring up a wide panel  (Read 611 times)

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Offline Dan_Shade

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Squaring up a wide panel
« on: May 30, 2020, 10:33:03 PM »
Anyone have any tips to square up a wide panel? 

I need to square up a 24" wide board. 

I did two with a framing square and a handplane, I'm wondering if there is a better way. 
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2020, 02:54:52 AM »
Dan, I use an oversized T square and it works well.  First Ill use the same side of the board as reference, and run a pencil along the sides of the t-square, They I double check end to end lengths on both ends of the line.  Finally Ill pencil a line along the opposite side of the slab that I lined the square from, and measure corner to corner of the pencil lines.

If the corner to corner measurements are the same, Ill start sawing.
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and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2020, 08:54:38 AM »
A simple panel sled for the table saw is a good way to do it.  Simple, quick to build, and good for lots of little things.  Basically a tray with a front fence and a runner for the miter slot.  Hard to live without one.

Here's one example.  This one has a sliding stop which could be handy but not essential.

https://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-plans/tablesaw/versatile-panel-cutting-sled
HM126

Offline btulloh

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2020, 09:48:23 AM »
Mine is as simple as it gets.  A piece if 1/2" plywood, a 1x2 front fence, and a runner for the miter slot.

The only real criteria for making this is getting the front fence square to the line of cut.  Make the fence and the base a little wider than the saw cut and run it through the saw after the runner is attached.  Then you've got a handy reference for the cut line.  This one has a runner made from 3/4 UHMW, but you can use a piece of hardwood also.  Just need a good fit with the miter slot.  No play, but not tight either.

There are a lot of variants out there, but the bare-bones version is quick to make and will square a panel in a jiffy.



 

 

Of course you can always just mark it and square the second edge with a circ saw, either free-hand or by clamping a fence to it.
HM126

Offline Larry

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2020, 01:37:27 PM »
A sled is the easy way to do it.



I think this one could crosscut 30".  I got rid of it years ago when I got a sliding table saw.

The down side to a big sled is they are heavy to put on and take off the saw.  They also need space to store.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

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Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2020, 03:29:28 PM »
I may make a panel sled for the next attempt. I have a nice cross cut sled, but big panels get squirrelly on the.  They ended up slightly out of square.

I ended up clamping everything together and used a hand plane to true everything up the best I could.  At least my case should be parallel. 

I might be smashing gnats with a sledgehammer, but my goal is to improve my craftsmanship. 
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There's a fine line between turning firewood into beautiful things and beautiful things into firewood.

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 10:06:31 PM »
I have a sliding table saw too, and all you have to do is make sure your fence is set square, push the panel up against that fence, and run her through.

Offline dougtrr2

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2020, 09:00:59 AM »
I have clamped a piece of wood with a straight edge at the proper location and then used a top bearing router bit  to square up a board.

Doug in SW IA

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2020, 11:08:25 AM »
btulloh, thanks for posting that. I need to build one of those. I just did this over the weekend and I used the straight edge and circular saw technique. It was a pain and slow but it does work.

A sled sure would be nice for truing a panel and squaring edges. 

As I was measuring for my straight edge location I noticed one of my edges I was using for reference had a curve to the last 3" of the panel. Glad I caught that before I tried making the cut.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2020, 12:11:42 PM »
Crusarius, a panel squaring jig is something I couldn't live without.  The key is to make a simple one quickly and use it.  The sled can come later and unless it's huge, isn't as useful for squaring panels.  (I love sleds, and have several - small, large, miter sled, etc. but they take a bit of time and more critical fab.

The simple panel jig like in my picture only has 3 elements - the base (1/2 ply), the fence, and the runner.  The runner can be 3/4x3/8 UHMW if you've got some laying around, or can be made out of a piece of stable hardwood like hard maple.  

The only critical elements to making the panel jig is getting a good fit to runner to the miter slot, and squaring the fence to the runner.  (Your blade and miter slot should already be parallel, because you've aligned your trunion at some point.)  I find it easier to attach the runner, then run the thing through the saw to set your line of cut and your reference for the fence.  Then attach the fence at 90.0000 to the runner and you're done.  Using UHMW requires careful and accurate drilling of the UHMW and the base or it can get a snake-like thing going on.  It's pretty soft at that size, and any misaligned hole or counter sink can push it out of line.  It can be tuned in with a rabbet plane if there's a hump or something that crept into the process.

You'll have to make two decisions on this simple jig (not counting the size of the base plywood):  How long should the runner extend fore and aft, and do you want the fence at the front edge or back edge.  There's a case for both, but I've found the fence at the front (leading) edge works best for me.  YMMV. 

The simple panel jig is quick to make and makes your life better in a hurry.  The key is to KISS, get it done in 20 or 30 minutes and then deal with the sleds and additional features later - whenever that might be.  Also using one for a bit will tell you what you need to add or improve in the next revision.   In my case, nothing.  I have my sleds for the other tasks.

I couldn't live without my panel jig OR my sleds, but they are different animals.

Good luck.  I know YOU would NEVER let feature-creep slow you down.  KISS   :D :D
HM126

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2020, 01:55:24 PM »
I couldn't live without my panel jig OR my sleds, but they are different animals. Good luck.  I know YOU would NEVER let feature-creep slow you down.  KISS  


haha, feature creep. never heard of such a thing :) [sarcasm]

what is this panel jig you speak of?

Offline btulloh

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2020, 02:05:09 PM »
Scroll back to to 4th post in this topic. Theres a picture. They are specifically for squaring panels. 

A sled has a front and back fence and runs on two miter slots with the saw blade running down the middle. The panel jig runs on one slot and on one side of the blade. A really big sled can be used for panels, but they are inherently heavy and take a lot more time and care to construct. 
HM126

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2020, 02:47:27 PM »
ahh that makes sense. I was thinking I could do everything with the panel jig. It just shifts the straight line from the side to the front or back.

Man, that would have been sooo helpful over the weekend.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2020, 03:51:14 PM »
Yeah, it's just like a miter gauge, but it's for bigger stuff and has a longer reference edge.  Plus the edge that's along the cut line makes it easy to reference your marks.  The beauty of keeping it simple and limiting it for panel squaring is that you don't need to wait for a time slot to do bigger fab.  People add angled adjustable fences to them, which can be useful, but add that later.  Or just tack one down when you need it.
HM126

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Re: Squaring up a wide panel
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2020, 04:21:15 PM »
be super easy to just add a hinge and threaded rod for angles. I already have a real nice starret crown angle finder that would work great for setting angle.

haha, feature creep :)


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