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Ask the Staff


Does anyone have a fast and easy way to obtain a straight edge on rough lumber? I have a planer/molder and would like to make some base molding in 8-12 foot lengths, but find them too long to get a true edge using my jointer. Any help would be appreciated.

Scott Snyder


While almost any 6" wide stationary jointer can joint edges easily on 2 to 4 foot long lumber without a lot of effort, to joint longer boards, it takes some finesse and altering of technique to be successful, and it will simply take more time than doing shorter boards.

If you have a stationary jointer that lets you join edges with success on a 4 foot long board, the machine should also be able to put a straight edge on longer boards. You will need to take multiple passes, as well as partial passes to work the edge to be completely straight. The longer stock can be hard to hold during the early part of in-feed and on the very end of the cut. You may need to have someone tail the board while working or set up some stock supports to assist you.

See this link for helpful information on jointer use:

Of course if the surface of your stock is really "rough," it will not reference a perfectly 90 degree edge to the face of the board if the face of the board bearing against the jointer's fence is not flat. For base molding, it may not be that critical, but you would need to be the judge of that and flatten the boards if needed.

If you have something straight and long enough, you could use it as a fence and tack it or clamp it to your board so you can bear your circular saw's shoe against it and then rip a straight line. Plywood could work, but it only comes in 8' lengths, though you could get clever in scabbing two pieces together that would still let you cut the entire length in one go.

Ed Scent
Highland Woodworking


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