I'm trying to get a 20° bevel the length of the board (36"). I'm working on a scrap wood project. I've been on an "unplugged" kick lately & finding the extra physical effort of "by hand" to be cathartic & sanity saving. However, I do have access to a decent miter saw but in this case it's sitting there mocking me. And, unfortunately, the table saw is currently in a zombie-apocolypse hot-spot. So I've settled on my pencil & trusty square, handsaw, lots of sand-products, & possibly pocket plane,(if I can figure that out.😔)

Anyway any tips, suggestions, how-to's , no matter how basic & obvious,or complex for that matter, are welcome!

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    I admire you desire to go back to the roots of carpentry. To fill in a bit, to rip a board such as it sounds like you may be doing, back in the day a rip saw was used. The teeth were sharpened so the cutting was much more efficient. Cross cutting, is done with a saw sharpened also to maximize the cutting effort. But but will work interchangeably. The real joy of cutting by hand is using a well sharpened tool. Over time you will learn to feel and hear the difference between the sharp and the dull. When using a tool that is well tuned up and sharp, will bring a smile to your face.
    – Jack
    Apr 26, 2020 at 16:08
  • Is there a home improvement reason for this question to be asked here instead of the woodworking stack ?
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 26, 2020 at 17:52
  • I'm making stuff up here, but I'd try cutting a tiny kerf on both sides of the board with a utility knife and a straightedge, in order to guide the sawblade a tiny bit. Apr 26, 2020 at 18:22
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate you should look at marking gauges (knife blade flavor rather than pencil or scratch point flavor) which happen to make this really easy if the board has a straight edge.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 27, 2020 at 1:26

2 Answers 2


I did something similar to this in my younger years when I needed a board cut with a 45 degree angle. I marked the cut line on the edges and face of the board. Then positioned the saw to the cut line and clamped furring strips on the top and bottom of the board up against the positioned saw the length of the cut. the two furring strips acted as a double fence for the saw and the angle turned out pretty good. If your miter saw ever quite mocking you, I'd use it but I totally understand your desire to use hand tools...


Do enough work with hand tools and you'll come to appreciate the main handtool - a bench with several clamping/vise options. Something modern like a workmate is a start, but a bit light for the job.

The Trick (well, other than actually using a ripsaw [preferably a SHARP ripsaw] as Jack mentioned) you MAY not have thought of which makes this cut MUCH easier is to clamp the board vertically.

The saw is now "straight up and down" and the angle with respect to the board can be guided by both marking lines on the face of the board (and checking both sides) but also by placing objects or making pencil or chalk lines on the workbench it's clamped to that you can sight the saw in line with. Start with not too much board sticking up, so it does not vibrate too badly. As you cut more, pause and move the board up in the clamp/vise. When you get to the end you can either cut from the other end to meet the first cut, or do the last bit clamped differently, with the existing cut helping to keep you on track for that last little bit.

This sort of thing is such a handy trick that some workshops had little trapdoors under the vise position to permit dropping longer boards through the floor while clamped this way.

If you want a more accurate result, mark the initial sawcut away from the final position (note - handy hand tool here is the marking gauge - you can make one yourself) and then plane to different marks for the final line. Check both sides of the board as you approach the marks.

The main "trick" with hand planes is that they do not work at all if dull. They will force you to learn to sharpen them well - after which they are a joy to use.

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