How to rip scale stock from tree branches without power tools

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This article was originally posted by Johnny J[1]

OK, this is not the only way, and maybe not even the best way, but it's my way.

Materials Required
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Step 1
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Put the branch in the vise and saw it almost in half lengthwise. Do not saw it completely through. Look down the saw as though you're sighting a rifle, and you can get the saw pretty vertical by eyeball alone. If the saw feels like it's binding, you're pulling it crooked. If it slides easily, you're pulling it straight.

Step 2[edit | edit source]

When the blade starts to feel like it's getting stuck, that's because you've cut deep enough that the vise is pressing the two halves of the branch together. Remove it from the vise and finish it on the bench by holding it on a piece of scrap plywood. GO SLOW & EASY & BE CAREFUL! These saws are goddamn sharp. I cut myself 3 times.

Step 3[edit | edit source]

Now that the branch has been sawed in half lengthwise, put it back in the vise, with a piece of paper shopping bag to protect the wood from the jaws. The flat side you have just sawed will sit flat against the face of the jaw, which guarantees that the flat face is nice & vertical. Repeat step 4 to cut a thin slice off. With a nice big saw, it's easy to see if the saw blade is vertical when you look down the saw as if it were a rifle. If the saw blade is vertical, you are making a nice parallel cut.

Try to avoid rocking the saw blade & cutting from different angles. This will result in saw marks that you will have to sand out.

Below are two thin slabs I cut using the method described above. I think the results are quite nice.

Happy sawing!


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