Cutting weird joist angles... Sawzall?

• posted on June 4, 2007, 8:50 pm
I'm building a deck. The basic shape is a rectangle. It's about 28.5 feet long, 17.5 feet wide on one end and 4 feet on the other, and the angled side is about 28 feet. The angle works out to be roughly 26 degrees.
The question is this what is the best way to cut the 26 degree angles on the 2x6 joists. Because my circular saw and jigsaw won't do those angles (at least not that i can see) I figured I'd have to do my best with a sawzall. Anyone have an idea what the best way to do this would be?
I thought I would snap a chalk line on the top of the joists and make a pass with the circular saw (that should give me about a 2.5-3" deep cut) and then complete the cut with the sawzall. It seems like there should be a better way.
I'd appreciate any ideas.

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• posted on June 4, 2007, 9:12 pm
Are you trying to ask how to make a cheek cut complimentary to 26 degrees, in this case 64 degrees?
Do you own a Domino?
Robert

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• posted on June 4, 2007, 10:11 pm
wrote:

I'm not familuar with the term cheek cut. Essentially I've got 2x6's sticking out wild that need to be cut 10" from the front beam at a 26 degree angle so I can attach the outter joist/header.

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• posted on June 4, 2007, 11:18 pm
On Jun 4, 5:11 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Guess I'm not following. As a house framer in a previous life, I may be thinking inside the box.
I think you are saying that you have an angle of intersection that reads 26 degrees, making it too steep and long for your saw.
If that is indeed the case, mark the top of the joist with the cut, then transfer that mark over to the bottom. Cut the top with a circular saw with the board on edge, then flip it over and cut the matching cut to finish off the angle. This only takes another few seconds, and with something that small you will be finished in no time.
Note that the really long cuts that leave the long thin points are notorious for their weakness. Since you cannot use a joist hanger on this type of cut anyway you need to think about alternative methods.
I usually blunt the point by about 1/2" to 3/4" of an inch depending on how shallow the cut actually is as it seems to make it less easy to splinter off. (This may be in my mind, but I do it anyway.) Underneath these long thin cuts, it is always a good thing to put a ledger board.
Robert

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• posted on June 5, 2007, 2:23 am

I agree with the circular Saw. My answer is to cut across the top first, that way I have a 2+ inch cut on my line, then I set the saw in the cut (unplugged) and set the angle on the plate. If the blade is not long enough, I cut from the other side as well ( I have several angled decks around my house and out building).
I cheat with fasteners - using a 6 inch long landscaping screws to put the outer edge on the deck. This gives me enough of an anchor to avoid using anything else. The oldest deck is more than 19 years old and I have never had a problem. We had to disassemble a deck to remodel the kitchen a few years ago, and all the angle cuts were in good shape and the framing in great shape. After we finished I built the deck in a new configuration, again with lots of weird angles.
OBTW, I lay the deck boards and then clamp a straight edge on them as a guide for the circular saw, when I need to cut angles on the deck boards themselves.
I am not a professional carpenter or deck builder, so others may have better ways of doing this, but this is what has worked for me.
A couple of cautions:
1) know where your body is when you are cutting up or down on installed boards. I prefer to cut from the top down. I really want to know where my legs and toes are.
2) The saw will get heavy and it is no fun to bang it into the ground, if you are not doing this daily, take your time, getting hurt can ruin your whole week.
Best of luck
Doug

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• posted on June 5, 2007, 5:58 am
wrote:
SNIP

Well, you may not do it for a living, but you sound like you do. I thought your info was spot on.
Good post, >>especially<< the safety part about being tired when using a saw.
Robert

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• posted on June 4, 2007, 11:00 pm

I understand your message to mean that the 26 degree angle occurs on a line drawn on the top or bottom of the joist.
On a circular saw, you can set the angle between the blade and the joist to whatever you need. You would set the angle between the blade and saw base to suit. Then you cut with the saw base riding on the long side of the timber.
You can also set the angle on a table saw.
You can try to set the angle on a jig saw, but the cut would very poor.
You may be able to use a reciprocating saw, but the cut would be extremely poor.
My choise would be a table saw. My second choise would be a circular saw. If I had neither of these, I would buy one because I don't believe that I could do the task reliably with either of the other two.
Jim

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• posted on June 4, 2007, 11:04 pm
Circular saw, just need to cut across the face and not the top as you describe. The base on the saw can be tilted over to probably 45 degrees, at least every circular saw I've seen. So if the joists are in place you will be cutting down toward the ground.
On Jun 4, 1:50 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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• posted on June 5, 2007, 12:19 am
If you own a handsaw the solution would be obvious, so you must be looking to justify a new power tool. I know just the one for you. I posted it on ABPW (Subject = joist cutter) Enjoy. Art

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• posted on June 26, 2007, 12:57 am
Funny observation WoodButcher - everyone seems to forget about the lowly hand-saw. I can't live without my Japanese hand saw! Cutting on the pull-stroke... what a concept! :-)
WoodButcher wrote:

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• posted on June 5, 2007, 12:34 am
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:
> The question is this what is the best way to cut the 26 degree angles > on the 2x6 joists. <snip>
Make the cut parallel to the 6" dimension with a circular saw having the saw sole plate set to the angle.
Just to be a shit disturber, you realize that you will have a very weak joint.
Suggest you add a 2x2 cleat to the bottom of the rail, then notch the angled piece as req'd to provide added shear strength for the angle joint.
More work, but much stronger.
Have fun.
Lew

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