I need to reduce the thickness of a 4x4 to 1.75" over an 8" length in
order to make a lap joint for a deck post. Unfortunately I do not
have a band saw, but do have a table saw with a stacked dado blade.
Can I take a 1.5" x .75" cut with this blade in one pass and move the
board along to achieve my result? I've never used the dado and don't
know if this is too deep a cut to make in one pass. Of course if
there is a different approach (without using the dado), I'd be
Thanks for any help.
Can be done, but would probably just as easy to make two passes. Most
difficult part is going to be holding the post if it is a long one. You
can also hog out a bunk of the material with a circular saw.
How long is the 4x4? If they are short, I would cross cut at the shoulders
on the ts and rip the joints by hand.
I've half lapped fence posts entirely with hand tools. I don't care for them
but a Japanese saw (Dozuki?) from the Borg can make those cuts with no
trama. A hand plane to dress up the surfaces would be nice.
Oh, my. Lots of problems here.
It's awkward, at best, to try to move a 4x4 of any decent length across a
tablesaw unless you have a crosscut sled, and a large and heavy tablesaw.
The cut you propose to take is too deep to do in a single pass. Two passes,
yes, but an inch and a half in one pass is too much.
If you're using treated lumber, it's gonna be wet, really wet. You don't want
that anywhere near your table saw. The sawdust is gonna cause rusting like
you've never seen before.
The easiest way to do this is with a handheld circular saw and a chisel, and
maybe a file. Set the depth of cut to half the thickness of the 4x4, and
*don't* assume without measuring each piece that it's truly 1.75". You need to
be precise with only the cuts that define the ends of the laps, so use a guide
to make sure that those cuts are square. ("Precise" and "square" are relative
terms here anyway, since you're building a deck, not making a piano.) Then
make freehand cuts perhaps 1/2" to 1" apart across the remainder of the lap,
remove the waste with the chisel, and smooth the bottom of the lap with the
chisel or a file.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Personally, I would probably forego using a dado stack for this operation,
particulary if the piece is unwieldy and difficult to hold solidly on the
table saw top. Just a couple of ideas:
If the joints being are made in the end of your workpieces, a circular saw,
finishing up the cut with a handsaw, would probably be my first choice.
You could also set the depth-of-cut on some miter saws to make the multiple
initial cuts at the required depth, then finish up with a hand saw or, if
you have the time, nibble away a good part of the waste before using a
chisel to clean it up..
The latter, along with a decent chisel, would also work if a similar joint
is required in the middle of a workpiece.
You can speed things along by making a series of cuts with the circular saw,
maybe one slice every 3/4" or so, then whacking the remaining slivers out with a
hammer. They will pretty much break off cleanly. Then dress it up along the
bottom with a wide chisel. This ain't furniture.
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