Ripping a long board with a handsaw is no easy task. Take the amount of muscle required out of the equation and just consider the skill involved in cutting a perfectly straight line for more than a few inches, and you’ll understand why people rush to the table saw. Yet somehow, before the days of power tools with long, straight fences woodworkers managed to make beautiful, precise masterpieces.
Enter the Ripping Sawhorse
A beautiful, precise masterpiece this project is not. It’s made out of scraps of 2×4 and plywood whereas the Fine Woodworking project on which it was modeled (and luthier who apparently had the same idea) is built from quality lumber. Personally I don’t see a point in spending a ton of money on something that is purely function, not form.
I took Tom Killen’s design and made one critical modification: I ripped the saddle down the center and reassembled it with 1/16″ filler strips at either end. This created a top in which I could clamp my workpiece and easily saw through it lengthwise using the gap as a saw guide.
A Tip From a Tablesaw
Do you know why your table saws and circular saws all have a riving knife behind the blade (that you probably removed for convenience)? It’s to prevent the two sides of the workpiece from binding back together when they clear the back of the blade. On a power took that binding can create a difficult situation. Binding happens using a hand saw too, but it’s more likely to just make sawing harder than it is to throw a board at your face. To prevent binding put a nail or a shim in your saw kerf after you’ve worked far enough into the rip cut that it won’t interfere with your saw blade.