How do you make a ‘rough sawn’ (see building terminology) timber post look good?
There are many ways to do this, ranging from elaborate detailing to the simple ‘leave it as it is’ approach. Do you want to know how the professionals achieve great results? In the simplest of cases, we run an electric planer over all the corners of the post to give them a bevel. Two things happen when you do this: firstly, you remove all the splinters and furry bits from the corners of the post. This makes the post a lot safer and much more attractive. Secondly, the sharpness of your timber post’s bevelled edges will fade after a week, giving it a natural look. It will look as if the bevelled edges were always there. As a finishing touch, we use a hand plane to run around the base of the post (as shown above) to remove any splinters. A hand plane is used rather than an electric planer to keep from chipping the corners of the post.
While you may have never noticed these sorts of little details before, it is this attention to detail that ensures your deck looks professional rather than amateur.
When you are cutting with any type of saw, it is essential to always keep the blade on the waste side of the cut line (in this case the side marked with an X). Although this is very easy to say, in practice it is not always as easy to work out exactly which side of the blade we must be on. This is where the professionals have the edge; they have practise and plenty of it.
I suggest that you actually mark the waste side of your project with an X, so it is always clear which side is the waste side. As you can see in the photo the whole of the saw blade is sitting on the waste side of the line (marked with an X). It is important to always double check that you have the whole of the blade on the waste side of the cutting line, keeping the side of the blade that is closest to the line just touching your cut line.
Once you’ve got your saw in the right place, the next question is where do you stand? You should always be standing on the non-waste side of the line looking at the blade following the line. Now there will be times due to location when this is just not possible. In these situations, you will either need to clamp the timber to the saw stools or have someone hold the timber that you are cutting, as you will not be able to hold the timber yourself.
Now that you know where your saw should be and where you should be, you can go ahead and make the cut. There will be times when despite this new-found knowledge you will still cut on the wrong side of the line, I know I still do – just remember you are not alone, and if you have measured accurately, a blade thickness may not be the end of the world.