How to Rip a Board With a Hand Saw

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 17, 2022
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Nowadays many woodworkers express that they can’t imagine having to do all woodworking projects by hand. But hand techniques still have an important place in contemporary shops. Using old techniques doesn’t mean giving up modern techniques. Using a hand saw to rip woods seem to be a very boring and tough task. Pushing a handsaw through a 10-in.-wide board over a length of 20 in., for example, just looks awfully tiring. Of course, there’s also nervousness around following the line as well. The advantages of resawing are well known: It gives complete control over dimensions and helps in getting the most economical use of the material. Ripping-a-Board-with-Handsaw Cutting board with a handsaw is not that hard or arduous, but it takes trying a few times to realize that. It also takes a good sharp saw, good and sharp one, not necessarily great and perfectly sharpened. Cutting wood board with a hand saw is an old fashion but its easy to do so. Try to cut one using the following process. Hope this will you.

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How to Rip a Board With a Hand Saw

Here are the step by step process.

Step 01: Tool Arrangements

Selecting the Perfect Saw Well as far as saws go, use the largest, most aggressive hand saw appropriate for the job. It is important that the teeth be filed for rip cutting and have some set, but not too much. Generally a typical hand saw with a 26-in.-long blade works well. For most re-sawing, use 5½ points per inch ripsaw. For really aggressive jobs like cutting up backboards, go with something coarser (3½ to 4 points per inch. Conversely, a 7 points per inch ripsaw can be used for all purposes. You’ll also need a sturdy bench and a strong vise due to the amount of force generated while resawing the wood. Workbench and a strong vice help you to hold the wood piece perfectly and also help to put more strength to cut the wood.

Step 02: Cutting the Wooden Board

Begin the task by scribing a line around the board from the reference face to the desired thickness needed and then clamp the board in the vise angled slightly away.
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Start sawing at the near corner, taking great care to advance the blade simultaneously across the top and the edge facing you. Starting is the hardest and most crucial part of the task. It’s because at this point the blade’s great width will feel unwieldy, so try to steady it with the thumb of your off hand. This seemingly wobbly blade will help in the process as its width will guide the cutting edge.
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The wide blade is designed to keep the cutting on track, but it means that there needs to establish a good track from the start, so go slow at first. Here’s a tip: begin with the waste side to your right because it allows to start with the line on the left where it’s easier to see – this stacks the odds in favor a little. Saw at this angle until you reach the far corner. At this point stop, turn the board around, and begin from the new corner as before. Here’s a guiding principle in resawing by hand: only advance the saw down a line that can be seen. Within a couple of strokes from the new side, the saw will fall into its track and simply keep going until bottoming out in the first cut. Once that happens, switch back to the first side and saw at an angle again until bottoming out in the last cut. Repeat this process as long as necessary. Don’t race with the saw and don’t try to force it. Use the full length of the blade and do purposeful strokes, but don’t grip too hard or bear down on anything. Take a relaxed pace and follow the old ferial. Let the saw do its own work. A proper resawing job needs a good rhythm. This will help you to complete the task easily. If the saw starts to drift, it’ll work slowly, so you have time to course correct. Avoid twisting the saw in the cut to bring it back on track, as this will only work on the edge – the saw will still be in the middle of the board. Instead, apply a little lateral pressure and allow the set in the teeth to push the tool back closer to the line. If the saw keeps wandering then the tool might be damaged. Stop and sharpen the saw as needed and get back to work.
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Eventually, when you run out of the board to clamp in the vise, flip the board end for end and start over again until the cuts meet. Advance the saw all the way to the bottom edge of the board before flipping it over, then you will know exactly where to start. If all goes well the cuts will meet perfectly. Sometime during the last stroke, all the resistance below the blade disappears. If the kerfs don’t meet, but they’re all past the point where they should have met, pull the boards apart and plane away from the bridge of wood that remains. This resawing is possible as long as the board is under 10 to 12 in. wide. Once things get over that limit, prefer to switch over to a 4-ft.-long, two-person frame saw. That’s how you can cut one. Here’s a video for your betterment.

Conclusion

In all honesty, it’s easier to resaw a wooden board than to write or read about it. Yes, it can take a little time, but the board cutting needs only four/five minutes to complete, so that’s not bad at all. Cutting woods using a hand saw is easy but you will feel exhausted a little as physical strength is needed here. But its fun to do so and helps to get a proper cut. Try to cut your wooden board using a hand saw and you will love it.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.
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