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What is your preferred method for trimming plank edges?

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  • What is your preferred method for trimming plank edges?

    I'm going to begin planking the deck soon, and I'm wondering how to trim the edge of the planks to make them flush. I like the idea of using a table saw with just a bit of an angle on the blade, but that feels like a lot of machine for such delicate work. I'm interested to hear your recommendations, thanks!

  • #2
    The one board I did plank by plank I just had square edges. That being said it didn't have a lot of dome. It was more of a challenge to have clean straight edges so my boards would glue together easily. I didn't have a jointer available to me at the time, so my edges weren't perfectly straight. It wasn't bad for the first few pieces, but got worse the further along I got. After glueing up a panel I think that method is way easier. As an added bonus with the scraps you cut from a rectangular panel you can usually make a matching fin or four.


    • #3
      Ooof... I hadn't thought about straight lines when planking, I assumed the table saw is going to make everything uniform. So I guess I should have jointed the boards flat before cutting my planks?

      for the plank bevels....
      A jointer with an angled fence seems reasonable and maybe the best idea, but the less than 1" wide plank is going to be tricky with the fingers.
      A router table sounds like an awesome idea, but I was hoping I could find a vertically flat bit and angle the table or the router, but it seems like that doesn't exist.
      It would be nice to have a handheld grinder or sander to make the bevel, but that will certainly leave me with uneven edges and probably cause bigger problems. Wonder if I can build a jig or guide?
      Maybe a stationary belt sander with an angled table to keep the angle correct, then I only have to worry about the depth when sanding? Sounds clumsy with a 12' long plank, not easy to watch the depth.
      Thanks for any thoughts!
      Last edited by vonBobo; 04-06-2018, 06:10 PM.


      • #4
        I do have a router a circular saw and even a small planer/thicknesser, but shortly I bought some handplanes, a block plane and some japanese kanna, and I start to like them more and more, same with my jap handsaws. It must not be japanese at all, but why not using hand tools... And for plank edges they will do the job. Of course you have to get used to it, but you increase your abilities if you use them.
        Regarding the plank edges, if you build your deck with plank strips the angle will not be the same over the length. Whereever there is an up or downward curve, for example in the front area, the angle between the blank will change and with handtools you can match the angles...
        But I prefer gluing the deck together flat and then bend the deck into place with clamps and shims etc....
        The best surfer is the one with the biggest smile on his face...


        • #5
          Thanks OD. Was trying to save time and make a perfect bevel. But you raise a good point about the bevel being different angles throughout the length. Guess I'm about to get a lot of experience with my new hand planes!

          I also like the panel method, but this being my first board, I would be lost without Brad Tuckers instructions. Maybe next time!
          Last edited by vonBobo; 04-06-2018, 07:32 PM.


          • #6
            Watch a few videos of guys doing strip kayaks, if they don't use bead and cove they have a small plane that they run across to bevel. It is very time consuming. Bevel a little, test fit, bevel a little, test fit, bevel a little test fit. Its definitely easier to make a panel.


            • #7
              I've always just used the table saw at 90 degrees. Works great for the panel method. When doing it one strip at a time I just clamp it as best a possible. Thin cedar is rather pliable.
              Kook on a wood board.