How do I cut the ends on these fence rails?

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I'm putting up a split rail fence and am near the end of the project. I tried to plan the project to use full length rails for the majority of the fence run but I have about 5 locations where there must be shortened rails. The rails come as full 4x4's - they actually measure 4" x 4", and the ends have 2 tapers on each end that form the tenons. The oddball thing is that the tapers are cut across 2 faces so that when the tenon sits in the mortise, the rail is situated where you see 2 faces of the rail, as if it's sitting on one corner, and not a face - it's sort of discernable in the upper left and lower right rails of this picture:
http://allstarfencedeck.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/split_rail.190210453_std.jpg
Now, my question is, I need to cut several of these - how to? I've tried a chainsaw and it is not very good at making tapered rip cuts. I've also tried: scrub plane, handsaw, circular saw, recipro saw. Mostly I'm making long hacked up toothpicks - Ha! Remember that not only do they have to be tapered, but the tenons have to be in the same plane as each other from end to end, in order for the rail to fit correctly. Also, the rails are not always straight & mostly aren't. Wit's end here!
Cheers
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http://allstarfencedeck.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/split_rail.190210453_std.jpg
Taper cut on a band saw.
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Won't fit. No riser attachment :-(
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Uhhh...you aren't standing the things on end, you know :)
Surely, your saw is big enough so you can lay a 4x4 rail flat on the table and shove it into the blade at an angle. You know, taper. Or use a hatchet.
--

dadiOH
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The cuts are not made on a flat face. They are made across 2 faces. And so they don't fit under it since it must ride in on the V part of the timber. When it is stood on that edge, the height is right at 6" or more, remember I said they are not perfectly flat square stock. A hatchet works ok when making one end, but making 2 parallel ends is more challenging!
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Temporarily nail a plank to the bottom to serve as a reference. Then cut them on a bandsaw with the plank resting flat on the table. It may be easier to cut both ends fresh using the plan than to try to nail a plank square with an existing end.
Doug White
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about trimming ends of a rail to fit mortises...

Support the work on sawhorses, hold the first end vertical and then mark off (with chalk or crayon) the second end using a level. Chop to the mark.
A hatchet is one tool, the oldtimers might have had an adze that would do the job a tad easier... Roy Underhill did some adze-and-axe shows (The Woodwright's Shop) and heavy timbers sure looked like fun!
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The cuts are not made on a flat face. They are made across 2 faces. And so they don't fit under it since it must ride in on the V part of the timber. When it is stood on that edge, the height is right at 6" or more, remember I said they are not perfectly flat square stock. A hatchet works ok when making one end, but making 2 parallel ends is more challenging.
Rough it with an axe, finish with a power hand plane. Use a level to get both ends in the same plane.
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The alternative might be a Log Wizard... http://logwizard.com /
There is one on Craig's List http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/tls/1652772152.html which is how I found out about them today!
John
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On Sat, 20 Mar 2010 15:57:28 -0400, the infamous "John Grossbohlin"

Wow, John. These must be good items. They've got the Handyman Club of America "Member Tested and Recommended" logo there. Gee, whillikers! <bseg>
-- If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do. -- Samuel Butler
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scrawled the following:

That does seem to carry a negative connotation doesn't it... ;~)
Maybe I'm missing something, but this thing looks like a kick back nightmare... need to have Saw Stop technology added to this to make it safe from the lawyers. ;~)
John
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On Sun, 21 Mar 2010 14:09:51 -0400, the infamous "John Grossbohlin"

"Log Wizard: Making Standard Chainsaws Look Like Boy Scout Toys!"
-- If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do. -- Samuel Butler
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scrawled the following:

That sucker might eat clean through your steel toe boots! A regular Langolier.
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On Sun, 21 Mar 2010 16:19:42 -0700, the infamous "LDosser"

<vbg> Great movie/MEAN suckahs! -- If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do. -- Samuel Butler
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Try the chainsaw again, but with the bar parallel to the length of the rail. Cutting across endgrain with a chainsaw doesn't work very well unless you have a special ripping chain. Cutting parallel (or mostly so, except for the bevel angle) does work. You'll find that it may load up with long shavings, rather than short chips, but you'll just have to clear them out frequently.
Lacking a chainsaw, an adze would do a good job of it.
John Martin
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Why didn't I think of that? I will try this, thanks.
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On Fri, 19 Mar 2010 12:33:41 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

...chainsaws are *very* adaptable devices, when you finish your long cuts you can modify/touch-up using the saw perpendicular to the cut you're working on and lightly (heh) letting the blade take off excess material with little risk...
cg
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On Fri, 19 Mar 2010 22:36:19 -0700, the infamous Chasgroh

You can also drill holes in the bar and stick long handles on 'em to help guide the tip for more precise carving. Be sure to use a guard (large tsuba) to keep your hand away from the blade if you do that.
-- If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do. -- Samuel Butler
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Tried this, with the bar parallel to the length of the rail and it worked great. Just a few "touch up" strokes to make the very tips fit in end posts and that's all there was to it. Thanks.
And thanks for all the other ideas, although I was trying to avoid buying & learning a new tool (adze, drawknife, have an angle grinder but not the 16 (?) grit sandpaper and/or chainsaw grinder attachment, etc.) if possible. Fence alone nearly put me in the poorhouse.
Cheers
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Perhaps a jig made of two pieces of wood with parallel faces attached at the appropriate angle to another piece that holds your wood in place. The saw could then reference off the parallel faces of the jig and give your tapers. Turn the wood over to finish the joint.
Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.

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