I have a piece of pine that's 1/2" x 3/4". I want 1/2" x 1/2" and I can't seem to find that at the big box stores. For tools I have a jigsaw, circular saw but that's it. I don't really have money to invest in a bandsaw. What else can I use to make this smaller? Hand planer? I'm using this for an extension jamb on a window

  • A jig saw is really able to make a cut similar to a bandsaw, but this can be a tough cut with the dimensions described. I was taught by a guild master, he would use a block plane , I use power planes. this can be done but takes some math to make the angle but that's how they did it in years past.
    – Ed Beal
    May 5, 2018 at 23:23
  • Does the strip need to be pine? Home Depot sells hardwood and/or basswood ½" x ½" x 36" square dowels.
    – Jasper
    May 6, 2018 at 6:06

3 Answers 3


Your circular saw will do the job, but you should make a jig to guide the saw instead of trying to follow a pencil line. You will need a couple of pieces of straight lumber a little longer than the cut you want to make. Many books and articles say to use scrap wood but I sometimes use good lumber destined for use later.

The technique is to cobble together an assembly with an inside corner that the saw's foot plate can be pressed against, with the piece to be cut positioned in the path of the blade. Sometimes you can clamp the assembly together but I find that the clamps get in the way so I usually use small nails.

The shape of the jig will depend on what material you have on hand to make it. Here is a suggestion:


Please forgive the crude cross section but it should convey the main idea.


Lumber yards and big box stores that sell lumber usually have a trimming saw that they use to cut customers purchases to size. Of course they probably won't cut a piece that you bring in, but if they don't have a 1/2" x 1/2" in stock, you can buy a 1/2" by something else and they will cut it down for you.

  • I went to a home depot and the guy said they can't rip pieces that small. Normally, you'd just use a table saw or band saw, right?
    – user204588
    May 5, 2018 at 16:02
  • You can find 1/2" x 1/2" trim pieces if you go to the correct outlet. Don't just stop at one Home Depot and give up. Also note that for many windows your 1/2" x 3/4" trim piece can be used as an extension for either dimension depending on which way you turn the piece....even if it overhangs the outside edge of the window frame that will then be covered by the casing.
    – Michael Karas
    May 5, 2018 at 18:25
  • Big box stores can "trim" pieces to length. But they do not have the tools to safely "rip" pieces to be narrower, so they have policies against doing so.
    – Jasper
    May 6, 2018 at 14:30

Doing this with power tools safely would probably require building a jig, as mentioned. A hand plane would take quite a while to remove that much material.

A simple miter box with a hand saw could be an easy way to do it. Many of them have mechanisms to clamp a piece of wood in while you cut.

Or if it doesn't need to be perfectly square, you could just draw a line, clamp it to a table, and cut with a hand saw - a nice pull saw would actually let you cut it pretty clean.

  • I think miters are only good for less than 6-8 " for most all DIY/contractors. When creating a taper it is easy with 2, 3 or 4 points to create the parallel from what you have, I have used almost the opposite as you suggest to create tapered legs by spacing b lock/power plane and joiner created tapers. Very old school and can be profitable for hand made products.
    – Ed Beal
    May 5, 2018 at 23:32

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