Cutting Workbench Slabs

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I'm working on my first of two workbenches. The first is for practice and is made of pine using the Veritas design with the tool tray in the center of two slabs. The second will be made of maple and the same design.
I have two slabs of 11" by 70" and 2" thick. The slabs are laminated so I need to trim them and square them up.
The tops have been hand planed and are in very good shape. I just need to get these slabs squared up on the sides before screwing them to the tool tray and battens and attaching the skirts.
What is the best tool a hobbyist can use to cut these slabs? I'm especially interested in getting the 70" rip cuts straight.
The tablesaw is out for me. Mine is too small to make the cuts safely or accurately. I was planning on using a circular saw but thought a jigsaw might be in the running. I don't own a jigsaw but will buy one if it will give the best results. I can certainly make use of it later.
The tool used has to be for a hobbyist, so a two thousand dollar tool is out of the question. I also want to make the cuts myself and don't want to take the slabs to a shop where they will cut them.
Thanks
Ken
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Some sort of saw guide should do the trick. Lot of folks make them. Just buy something. Or make one. I have used the edge of MDF or aluminum angle. There are many variations on a saw guide. Just look at google.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22saw+guide%22
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A straightedge and circular saw will do a fine job. The jigsaw would never make it (though if you were thinking of getting one, get a good one, it will be a frequently used tool for curves, inside cutouts, ect).

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Or take them to a professional shop and pay them to cut the slabs for you. It will probably be a nominal charge and worth every penny. :-)
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Taking that to it's logical end, why not just buy a bench and not worry about it? Then you could just hire someone to do the woodworking for you. Why work that hard? No reason to do it yourself if you can pay someone else to, right?

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Not necessarily. I've made a few tabletops. I could use my ROS and eventually get the top sanded. However, my local lumber place has a drum sander and sands the top for $8. We all rely on outside people for various facets of our woodworking. For the OP, I don't think it's that hard to do what he wants himself, but I wouldn't take it to the "logical" end you did.
todd

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So have I.

So could I but I don't. Wrong tool for the job. My ROS has never had anything courser than 180 grit on it. Any need to remove more than that should be met with a cutting tool.
> However, my local lumber place has a drum

various
Realy? Tell me then, when was the last time I sent something out?
For the OP, I don't think it's that hard to do

Neither do I. His question was how he should do it himself, not who to send it to. A circular saw and straightedge will do a fine job of it.
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You're welcome to that opinion.

You'll see that I didn't say you send anything out. I said you rely on outside people. Oh, wait. I get it. You forged the steel for your planes, right? You cut your own saw blades from steel blanks and cement carbides on the teeth. The point is, we all pay people for stuff to help us make other stuff, in varying degrees. I wouldn't question the OP's craftsmanship if he chose to have a shop square up the sides of his benches, although I'd think it was unncessary.

In fact, he specifically said he didn't want to sent it out, IIRC. Personally, I'd add a router and flush trim bit to the end of your list for the final trim.
todd
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on
That's my day job. I do wood for a hobby. There's a lot of diference between buying tools and paying someone to use them.
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So you make any tool that you are capable of making? You've never bought something that given enough time you could have made yourself? If that's true, then bravo. Otherwise, it's just another end of the same stick.
todd
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"CW" wrote:
> A circular saw and straightedge will do a fine job of it.
If that meets your standards, so be it.
Lew
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With a good blade and saw, it will do every bit as good as a tablesaw. What more do you want?

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You must have a really high end power saw or a pretty meager tablesaw then. If most power saws were with good blades were capable of cutting as well as a tablesaw, a lot fewer people would own tablesaws.
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Not at all. I would rather be building furniture than hand planing workbench tops. I recently built a bench exactly how I wanted it. After I finished the base, I was ready to buy the maple and glue up the top. I walked into The Cutting Edge one day and they had a 72" long top for less money than the maple was going to cost me. I bought it, installed it, put a front apron on it, and I had a bench that was ready to go, and it is perfectly flat.
I immediately started a quartersawn white oak rocking chair of my own design on my new bench. OBTW, when I buy my wood, I normally get it smooth two sides and one edge. It saves me a lot of labor in stock preparation, and I don't feel compromised at all when the piece is finished.
I'll post pictures of the chair soon and let you judge if my time is better spent making a chair or hand planing a workbench top. :-)
If I were to cut the top, I would use my Porter Cable circular saw and a straight edge.
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Sometimes I'd like to do that, but don't feel I can afford to. We don't all have an endless supply of money for these things. I probably started building stuff when I was a kid because I didn't have any money to buy the things I wanted. Turns out I enjoy the design/build process so I've kept doing it.

Everyone's different. Try my glasses on for proof.
I reflected on what you said and here's what I learned about me: When life is going well I seem to get the most satisfaction out of finishing a project. Arriving and being at the destination improves my sense of well being. However when life is not going so well, finishing a project is no help at all. Yet going down to the workshop, manually sharpening my tools then hand planing a piece of scrap down to a pile of shavings does me a world of good. My situation might not have improved much, but I'm more likely to feel a lot better about it. In that case, it's the journey that counts, and it doesn't matter at all where I end up.
- Owen -
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Owen Lawrence wrote:
> In that case, it's the journey that > counts, and it doesn't matter at all where I end up.
Same reason cruising sailors sail.
It is the journey, not the destination.
Lew
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Owen,
We probably are not far apart with our wood working. I have spent a lot of time sharpening and making shavings. I have bench grinders, but only use them when I get an Ebay chisel that has to be reworked. I use Eazy Laps when I'm working on a project.
Conceiving and executing a project is where my satisfaction lies. My work has a lot of flaws, but the friends and family that get the pieces don't seem to mind. My work is probably 25-30 per cent machine work and the rest is hand work. I have a Leigh jig, but I cut dovetails by hand, I have routers, but I do most of my mortises with a chisel and mallet.
I just don't care to rip a 72" long, 2" thick bench top when I have to spend more for the wood than for a completed top. My three previous benches were all yellow pine and done by hand.
Lowell
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wrote:
[...snip..]

[...snip...]
I'd use a circular saw, but clean up the edge with a router. Use a straightedge to guide each of the tools.
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>What is the best tool a hobbyist can use to cut these slabs? >I'm especially interested in getting the 70" rip cuts straight.
Head to your local top shop.
Let tham take a pass with the 48" drum sander, then cut it to size.
SFWIW, my guy has at least a 12" table saw with a power feed.
Probably typical of most places.
Will give you a real pro trim.
Lew
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hi ken
you might be able find a community college woodworking classroom that would let you cut the slabs yourself on one of there tablesaws. that way You use the right tool and do the work your self and maybe meet some good people.I live near Baltimore and there are two community colleges that will allow this type of thing.
Len
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