How to Square Up Wood Using a Table Saw


It is not always the case that wood will be offered with perfectly straight edges and sharp angles at 90 degrees. On purpose, the surface of certain wood is left rough, and in other cases, the bark will even be left on the edges. In order to make the two long edges parallel to one another and to square off the two ends of twisted or tapered boards, the table saw needs considerable adjustment before use. The different shapes of the boards will each need a different amount of labour on your part.

  1. Consider whether or not your board is straight along at least one of its long edges. Having at least one edge that is straight and flat is essential for properly squaring up boards. In the event that neither edge satisfies those requirements, you will need to cut the edge yourself using a table saw.

  2. Find a piece of scrap plywood with a thickness of three quarters of an inch that is between one and two inches wider than the width of your board and at least as long as your board. Check that the piece of scrap plywood you have has at least one straight edge. This edge will ride against the rip fence of the table saw, and the plywood will function as a sled in order to tear the board to the desired width. Ripping refers to the process of cutting the board parallel to the direction of the grain.

  3. Place the board on the plywood sled in such a way that the edge that has to be torn is facing the blade of the table saw. Using a power screwdriver, fasten the board to the plywood sled by inserting two screws into the holes in the board. The screw closest to the top corner should be placed in the corner farthest from the blade, and the screw closest to the bottom corner should be placed in the corner furthest from the blade.

  4. According to the instructions provided by Family Handyman, you should adjust the rip fence in such a way that the combination of the sled and the board will be able to push through the blade. This will allow you to remove any defects that are close to the edge of the board while simultaneously straightening the edge.

  5. Put on your safety goggles, and don’t forget your hearing protection. Switch on the saw, and while it’s running, feed the sled and board together onto the table saw’s blade. Keep your hands away from the blade at all times, and make use of the push blocks to direct the material through the blade so that the cut may be completed. When you have finished making a cut, be sure the saw is turned off.

  6. Take out the board from the sled made of plywood. At this point, one of the board’s edges has been precisely straightened.

  7. Adjusting the rip fence to the desired width allows you to rip the board to the desired width. Turn the board over so that the newly honed edge rides along the rip fence. You will need to use push blocks as you get closer to the conclusion of the cut when you reactivate the saw and begin feeding the wood through it. Both of the long edges have been trimmed to a straight and parallel position now.

  8. Check that the mitre gauge on the table saw is adjusted to a right angle of 90 degrees. Put the mitre gauge up against one of the board’s two long, straight edges, and tighten the screw. Because some boards have their ends cut at an angle, position the board such that you will only have to remove about 1/16 of an inch more material than the shortest section of one end. Start the saw, and make the necessary cut.

  9. Turn the board so that the ends are facing you. Woodwork Magazine recommends making a mark on the board at the length that you want it to be using a pencil and a measuring tape. Turn on the saw, then make the last cut while the board is pressed firmly against the mitre gauge. The board has been levelled off, such that each edge is now parallel to the edge that is opposite it.

    Things You Will Need

    • Board

    • 3/4-inch plywood

    • Screws

    • Power screwdriver

    • Table saw

    • Safety glasses

    • Hearing protection

    • Push block

    • Pencil