Ripping straight and to these insane tight tolerance you see here isn’t achieved overnight but as you can see it also isn’t impossible and dare I say not even necessary. On occasion your board just may be not wide enough to leave a 16th or more to get two pieces of a specific width and instead of laying aside an offcut for another project how great would it be if you could economise and get two pieces out of that one board.
This is where these tight tolerances come into play but of course your sawing skillsets must be up there to achieve this. As I’ve measured this from the knife line to the cut it’s dead on 1/1000″.
While the other side is 2 thou which is very disappointing to me but also very acceptable and still within the safe zone.
However the aim is to rip square because if you angle the saw to one side a little more you will saw into and over that line without realising it and ruin your cut. This mistake will cost you dearly not only in one piece but the entire width of the board as both pieces now are undersized. This is the risk you take when sawing to such tight tolerances, of course if you have a bandsaw and you don’t want to run that risk go ahead and employ it but check prior the thickness of the blade as you may end up also removing too much material.
People talk about drift I personally have never experienced drift as my saw is calibrated perfectly, my blades are sharp and tight. The bearings are at the right distance from the blade so there is no reason for it to drift. The only issue I have when resawing boards into specific thicknesses or book matching is my fence. After all it is made in China and I have to prop the fence up a little to make it square to the table.
The starting cut is the most important cut of all, you must start square there really is no room for error.
As you can see in this photo there is a slight bow, this is something I need to work on. I start then shift positions which is wrong. Once you place that saw next to your line and it appears to you to be straight commit to that cut, my problem is I keep over thinking it instead of following my own rule. Practice on scrap, check to see which way you are angling your saw and shift it to the opposite direction, if your slanting in one way then slant it the other ever so slightly and keep doing this till you get it right. A good idea that I saw Frank Klause do in an early video of his is by placing a mirror in front of you, if you don’t have that then record yourself through your phone or get someone to stand in front of you. Once you get it right do a few more boards till you develop this muscle memory of it and you should by now be on top of it.
There’s an old saying you could be sawing for 20 years but if you don’t get it right from the get go then you could be sawing wrong for 20 years.
One last tip and I think this is pretty important, many people including me dred ripping long boards but if you don’t have a bandsaw obviously you have no option. The problem is muscle fatigue, if your going to do hand tool work and I’m not referring to joinery but the whole nine yards as the yanks say then start focusing on developing strength in your arms. Do regular pushups or even go to the gym and increase your biceps and stamina. Because if you’re going to flatten a rough sawn board like you have seen me do many of times it’s pretty darn tiring and if you have severe arthritis like I do well bear it and grin. But strength is the key to remain in the hand tool world especially for ripping and planing.