Jointing long boards can be done with a jointer plane; however, it requires skill to master this task so that you can do it efficiently. For those looking for a quick and easy technique, a track saw is a welcome addition to most shops. It allows for quick, safe and accurate preparation of sheet goods in any shop, large or small. With the use of a long track, you can easily cut to width and joint lumber and plywood in excess of eight feet.
After your material is cut to width, you can clean up the edge with a hand plane, such as a low-angle jack or even a smoother. With the edge already jointed flat by the track saw, there is no need for a long plane to complete the job. A few quick passes to remove the saw marks and the boards should be ready to glue into that panel for the project at hand. To avoid cutting a bevel on the edge of the board with the hand plane, ensure the plane is set up properly and the blade takes an even cut. Check every few passes with a square along the length of the board to ensure you are not introducing a new bevel.
Here are a few tips to make this approach as efficient as possible:
- Double-check the angle of the blade in the track saw and ensure it is cutting at exactly 90 degrees to the base. You can test this by fully extending the blade on the unplugged saw and checking with a square. Next, set the stop so the blade protrudes just enough to cut through the material, remembering to account for the track thickness.
- As long as the track’s non-slip tape is intact on the underside, this can be done without clamping. Place the board against a bench dog or secure stop to keep it from moving in the direction of the cut. Place the track on top of the wood and make the cut. Support the board underneath, either on the edge of the bench or on scrap material on workbenches or the floor. When ripping narrow boards with the track saw, it is helpful to use another board of the same thickness to support the back edge of the track to avoid any movement during the cut. The more stable the track, the better the final cut.