Ripping blanks/stringer installs.. techniques

Alot of us here have a fear of taking a skil saw to a new blank. Please share with us photos of the process from start to finish. From cutting the blank into pieces to glueing up multi stringers. I recall blasa sharing his technique a ways back on ripping out a center stringer with was very enlightening. Id love to hear and see more on this topic.

Thanks Bob

It’s no big deal, really. The hardest part is to have somebody lend you a BIG carpenter’s saw with a minimum 4" cutting depth. Also take care to have the blank firmly supported on racks so that it won’t bend too much under the saw’s weight. What kind of photos do you need?

Id really like to see how you set up and clamp the straight(or curved) edge that is your saws guide and how you clamp it down. The dos and donts from mistakes you ve made. I have an 11’3" blank that im going to keep the center stringer and run some blasa or redwood stringers 5" to 6" parrallel to the center stringer. Just trying to get a better visual before I disect this beutiful blank. I need to do some searching online for a big carpenders saw to get a deep clean cut. I have alot of respect for the stringer work you do and would like to get a better understanding of this process as a whole. This is one topic that is not done to death in the archives.

Thanks for the reply,


I’ve sliced a few blanks… polyurethane and EPS.

I’ve used a beam saw and band saw to cut the polyurethane.

Wood planks clamped to the blank were used as a guide in the case of the beam saw. In the center I placed a cinder block to hold it down. I eyeballed the plank edges first to check that they were straight.

A fast spinning blade on EPS can result in melting of foam and I don’t recommend it. I ended up with gobs of molten styrene that dripped and gummed up the blade. Maybe someone else has experience with slowing the saw down or using a specific type of blade? I would recommend a long hot wire to slice an EPS blank lengthwise.

A bandsaw will work on polyurethane or EPS - to minimize drift, the wider the blade the better. I’ve drawn a line and followed it by eye on both types of foam.

All methods I’ve tried required some block sanding to clean up the cut.

Sorry - I had my hands full and took no pics.

Hey John,

I’d like to jump in on mudybech’s question too.

So, when you are going to clamp down the guide poles, how do you account for the rocker in the blank?

Does that question make sense? I mean, do you just have to find wood flexible enough to to take on the curve of the rocker?

I am interested because I got a few MDI blanks w/o stringers and it will be my first time cutting.

I did one of the shorter ones already. I started off with a jigsaw and just finished it up with a hand saw.

I figured there HAD TO BE a better way! :slight_smile:

the wire




I use either an aluminum or plywood ruler. 6 to 9 mm plywood works fine. Lay your ruler on the bottom-side of the blank. Clamps at the nose and tail, and it’s a good idea to lay a piece of wood perpendicular to the ruler, in the middle, clamped on the side of the blank, to prevent the ruler from flexing sideaways. Anyway, try to keep the saw’s shoe in contact with the ruler but without pulling too strong against it either.

John, I admire those (like you) who have the skill to bandsaw such lengths without wobbles… I would not attempt it…

Thanks balsa

Of course the simplest solution is the one I never think of.

And I’m with you on the bandsaw statement…no way…no how

With me it would just be a recipe for destroying a perfectly good blank.

Hotwire is the way to IMHO. Set up a simple “table”, stretch a piece of wire across the length of your board right across your line. Attach a sping to one (or both) ends of your wire to allow it to stretch over the bottom of your board (which is bottom up on the table) flip the switch on your hotwire power supply and the wire will heat up and start slicing through your board and the springs will “pull” it through. Cheaper and cleaner than a saw, perfect strait cut every time. This is how Greg L. cuts his boards for stringers in his shaping video. Simple, clean, easy.

My .02


Hey! Please correct me if I’m wrong…but hotwire only works on polystyrene foam.

Greg is using a hotwire on EPS in his video.

I have always thought(and been told)it doesn’t work on MDI or TDI Foam. Right?

Hell…if I’m wrong I’m setting up a hotwire TODAY! LOL

Hey mudybech!

Exactly what kind of foam are we talking about here?

you need to get the Genius in on this thread!!

saw him rip stringers on a bandsaw then clean up on a jointer looked real easy.

You’re right, Todd. The wire is fine with EPS but don’t use it on PU: burning PU causes cyanide gaz. Besides, it would not work as good as with EPS: EPS is a thermoplastic, PU a thermosetting material. This means EPS can be melted with heat whereas PU can’t. PU will just burn, not melt.

Pauluk, a few passes on a jointer will true your bandsaw cut all right… assuming you own a jointer… I own one, but not sure about everybody here…


Thanks for the welcomed information. Every thing you suggest seems easy enough to do. You posted some pictures in the past that I cant seem to find in the achives. If you could be so kind as to repost them is you still have them it would be most appreciated.

Thanks to you John for your information as well. Im with Balsa in that im not brave enough to run one through a band saw. Could be a train wreck…for me.I have no experience what so ever with EPS but im sure your information be be helpful to all. Thanks.

Ambrose…Do you only dabble with eps now or do you still work with poly?

Todd i did fail to mention that its a poly blank im workin with so i dont think that hot wiring is an option.( or am i wrong assuming this?)

I look at the “show us your logs thread” at the Jim Phillips boards (that are so amazing) and wonder how they put all those curved stringers and have them come out so perfect and symetrical. nice…

Thanks all,


edit: Just noticed you comment on hotwiring poly which is what I assumed.

Hey Todd, Yeah not a good idea to use hotwire on PU–did it ONE time in my partner’s garage circa 1964, he took in a lungful of smoke and couldn’t breathe right for weeks afterward.

Probably not an option for mudybech, living where he does, but you should take your uncut blanks down to USBlanks in Carson, or one of the other blank manufacturers and have them band-saw them on their cradle. They likely won’t charge you much and it will save you a BIG hassle.

Yeah, didn’t think so.

I only have 4 to do so I’ll probably just take the experience.

The first one wasn’t too bad and I only spent 5 or 10 minutes with the sanding block to get both sides even.

In the future the only MDI we will be getting is from HomeBlown and they will put our stringers in for us.

EPS and XPS we can do ourselves so thats not a problem either.

Good stuff to know though. That’s for sure!


I am so low key,

I do em both eeeeps

and polyurea

with impunity.

the rumor that g.clark

used the wire stuck in my memory

respirators help with fumes as does ventilation

I have used a guide and a router and a cross cut saw

to remove and add stringers in the past with success

free wheelin big ol’ saws are intimidating for one of my

stature,I aint never even used a skilsaw for template cut

out I’m that leary of massive goofs at high speed.

the cross cut saw down the stringer worked jus fine

to remove the stringer then I had it as a template

for additional pieces of wood.

for off sets I took the piece out

and then traced the outline on the wood

cut the wood an glued it.

darn I thought grub e used the wire

old board take aparts are so mary shelly

The Dr. Frankenstein would use the electricity

from a lightning strike I know it.


Hi -

Yes the planks are thin enough to bend with the rocker. The boards I did were 12 footers. For 8 and under, I would have used thin ply.

In a pinch you can just use a handsaw. Try to keep it vertical.

Again, a sanding block will correct all but the worst boo boos.

White pigmented laminating resin (one choice for gluing everything together) disguises minor defects along the glue line. Clear Gorilla Glue foams up, fills gaps, and dries white also.

I have used a skill saw butted up against the factory edge of some masonite clamped down on the blank - works OK. For a longboard, you would need a larger than normal skill saw as already noted…you could use a jigsaw but you would probably get wobbles - maybe a sawz-all with a really wide blade to reduce the wandering blade syndrome commom with the jigsaw - i heard a tip where someone used a jigsaw with a modified sawz-all blade to fit in his jigsaw…

Handsaw can work if you are good…

Bandsaw is the way the manufacturers do it but they put it in some sort of jig to keep it straight.

A 10" table saw would work good! You would need some way to run it through straight though (same as the bandsaw)

But probably the best way is ambrose’s trick - use a router with a one of those long bits in it! just butt it up against a straightedge guide clamped down onto the blank.

Hey John

Where do you get clear GG? All I have ever seen is the brown stuff.;search_string=stringer;#275691