Patrick’s Barn: Making Siding
You may remember from an earlier post that I got a huge stack of local white pine back in August that was saved from the chipper by my coworker Dan Morrison. The time has finally come to start milling the rough stock into siding. Last Saturday morning, I got started by rounding up my equipment and building infeed and outfeed tables to support the boards, most of which are 13 ft. or longer.
I started my workday Sunday by drilling the aluminum rip fence on my Bosch 4000 tablesaw to mount an extra piece of flat stock. The extra piece of stock, which is often called an auxiliary fence, would allow me to attach a pair of feather boards to the fence to hold the the stock tight to the table while I rabbeted the edges with a dado set. This work took a surprising amount of time (doesn’t everything?) because I had to disassemble the fence to make sure I wasn’t going to damage anything by putting a pair of 1/4-in. holes through the center.
Bosch, if you’re reading this, you really should drill and tap the holes at the factory. I can’t imagine the operation adding more than a dollar or two to the final price of the machine. Drilling and tapping the holes at home or at the job site is a big pain; unfortunately, it’s necessary for anybody who wants to do more with their saw than just rip and crosscut stock.
Once the fence was ready, I ripped clean edges on both sides of about a dozen boards. Once that was finished, I installed my feather boards and a stacked dado cutter to make the 1/2-in. by 1/2-in. half laps. I was pleased that my saw had enough power to do this hefty cut in a single pass. And it left a surprisingly smooth finish. I’m guessing I made about 100 sq. ft. of siding in this trial run. This weekend I’ll get serious about production; winter is fast approaching.
Read more about my barn here.
Milling siding from rough boards is hard, labor-intensive work, but the finished product will be well worth the effort.
Milling this short stack of stock took about 1-1/2 hours. I started by ripping clean edges on the rough boards and then rabbeting the edges with a dado set. I'm betting I made about 100 sq. ft. I figure I only need about 1000 sq. ft. more.
The feather boards, which are made from straight-grained pine offcuts, hold the stock tight to the saw table and prevent kickback. They're positioned so they apply suffcient pressure without making it too difficult to feed the stock.