Ripping fence pickets into thirds with hand-held circular saw?

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Your best bet would be the first on your block to buy a table saw. You can get a very cheap Harbor Freight type unit for about $100. Make all your cuts, then decide whether you want to get your money back on Craig's list or keep it for some other project. I have many years of circular saw experience, but would not like to make that many cuts with one on the type of material you propose. The slats will not be uniform as I doubt that the voids are uniform top to bottom and one to another. A table saw with a pusher stick - NOT YOUR FINGERS - will allow recuts, etc.
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Why rip into such narrow strips. A table saw is made for this type of job. I am very familiar with cedar, it contains lots of knots and unless the wood is clear cedar, which I doubt, you will lose about one strip per board due to the knots breaking apart. I doubt that all that work will get you enough strips to do the job, but you will get a lot of short kindling.
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Your saw should have come with a rip fence. You can also buy add-on rip fences for circular saws. With a little practice you should be able to rip up your pickets with a minimum of expense and time.
Alternatively, you can get a cheap benchtop table saw that will work 100 times better for about $99 at your local big box store. It will fit in your car's trunk easily so transporting is not a problem. Plus it's an excuse to buy another tool.
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You B&D saw is not designed to be continuously used. You need to do about ten cuts & then leave it cool down for a half hour or so. The main problem is safely holding your pieces of wood while cutting them. It's difficult when sawing narrow pieces to keep the saw vertical though this might not matter for what you want.
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Lots of contradictory advice. My advice - buy a couple of boards and see how it goes.
On 3/28/2010 9:56 AM, Peabody wrote:

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Contradictory advice?
As far as I can tell, no one has contradicated anyone else.
For the most part, I'd say everyone pretty much agrees that:
1 - A table saw is the best tool for this job. 2 - Using a handheld circular saw is going to be troublesome at best, dangerous at worst. 3 - Making a jig for the circular saw will help, but also might be more trouble than it's worth.
Those aren't contradictions, they're options.
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Sissy work. When I was a kid, we built picket fences cutting the picket with a dull hand saw in the snow, on the side of a hill. We also smoked while doing it, non filtered cigs too. Then we painted the fence by making a brush from matchsticks and hair pulled from our eyebrows.
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On Mon, 29 Mar 2010 17:27:36 -0400, "Ed Pawlowski"

I'm not going to contradict that!
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wrote

When I was a kid we split the rails by hand.
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On Mon, 29 Mar 2010 17:36:30 -0400, "Colbyt"

Speaking to an elder ancestor (family interview for the record):
Q: Why did you move to another state?
A: The men came home and said to load the truck!
Q: What kind of truck?
A: A flat bed.
Q: What did you eat, on the road, in 1921?
A: Anything we could catch.
Thanks for the memories... (this is true)...
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Was there much lead involved?
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Sure, that leaded white enamel paint sure glistened. If they did not fit exactly, we used asbestos shims.
(I do have recollection of the white wood trim in my grandmother's house being painted with leaded white for that reason, circa early 50's)
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DA had written this in response to http://192.168.0.230/maintenance/Ripping-fence-pickets-into-thirds-with-hand-held-circular-sa-432999-.htm :
Peabody wrote:

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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Ripping-fence-pickets-into-thirds-with-hand-held-circular-sa-433000-.htm MasonJoshua wrote: Im new to this site but at 25 I have gained a vast experience from High end trim work to mechanics. my tip would be with a hand held saw...... a jig would work the best. Another idea is to rent a table saw from Home Depot. If you stick to the Circular saw one idea is to mark each cut and score it with a razor knife to prevent spliting and damage to the cuts. Take your time, maybe even painters tape can help the frays. If you need more advise ask me at snipped-for-privacy@att.net. And if you use a table saw, still score with a razor knife. the pre cut line always prevents rough cuts. Peabody wrote:

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