A Straight-Line Rip Saw for a Small Sawmill Operator

      A small operation can use a straight line rip saw to produce S4S lumber, but it helps to have a helper. October 19, 2013

I've been getting more and more demand for S4S lumber. I'm a small sawmill and kiln operation that sells lumber to hobbyists. My weak spot is edging. Currently I'm running all the stock over the jointer, then edging on the tablesaw. I'm thinking of getting a machine to lessen the work. Sawmill manufacturers make an edger that has two blades and is supposed to make two parallel edges, but maybe it's not designed for kiln dried lumber and is definitely not glue line joint quality, though I don't know if that level of accuracy is expected in S4S lumber. The other common machine would be the straight line rip, which would do one edge, then I guess you could flip it over and do the other, or then to the tablesaw? What would be the best for a one man show to easily edge rough stock? I'd like a piece of machinery that would be common to find used, and affordable like the straightline rip and edgers. This would be random width on all the lumber, so adjustment must be simple. Mostly 4/4-8/4 stock thickness.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor S:
SLR would be the way I would go. Adjust the fence to the width you need, edge one side, return and slide against the fence and rip to width. A lot of walking, though, without a helper or a return conveyer. This is how we do it, however we then run it through the moulder. We bought two Mattisons a couple years ago for $350 apiece. We have run thousands of feet through one of them and not a problem. Other one is in storage in case we need a part off of it.

From contributor D:
I agree. Our SLR is used all day every day. Looking back, I feel we were disadvantaged not having one for as long as we did. Ideal for what you describe.

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