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I need to make lengthwise cuts down the entire length of an 8 foot long 4"x4" fence post like so:

enter image description here

In that diagram the blue lines represent the cuts I need to make, and the purple areas are the areas that will be removed by the cuts.

I (likely) don't have access to a table saw, so I'm hoping there is a solution involving a circular saw or something similar. It needs to be something that can cut 4" thick wood length-wise. In addition to the tool of choice, the larger problem is holding the saw at the correct angle for the duration of the cut. I would imagine some kind of jig/railing needs to be put in place, but I have no idea what.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

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A Minimum 10" circular saw or table saw are the best options either would be $500 w/ the table saw being the best option.

A band saw could also work.

  • Thanks @Ben - what about a smaller circular saw but then achieving each cut by making two cuts, one from each side of the post? Also, more importantly, what about the necessary jig/rails/etc. needed for the cuts. Any ideas there? Thanks again! – smeeb May 23 '15 at 1:59
  • The circ saw has a tilting baseplate to make this easier. Table saw is the way to go if you can - it has a tilting blade. A 10" saw handheld is difficult at best for ripping especially if you've not had experience with smaller versions. – Ben May 23 '15 at 3:44
  • If you use a normal saw, then finish with a hand saw, the cut won't be as smooth or precise. But in a pinch, it could be done. – Ben May 23 '15 at 3:46
  • Thanks @Ben - I ended up going with a circular saw. For any future-comers, I did some further R&D and the real danger with a circular saw seems to be when it "binds" with the wood it is cutting; when this happens it can kick back like a shotgun and potentially cut you and/or your thigh (which is why one should never stand behind the circular saw when operating it). The safest way to avoid binding seems too be to just always ensure that the blade will cut all the way through the wood, not half-way oor even 90% of the way through. – smeeb May 24 '15 at 9:07
  • Kick back is a problem of twisting the saw - especially say, if tying to get back onto a line after a wayward cut. The larger the saw and/or deeper the cut, the bigger the kick. If you think kickback is bad with a 7", try a 10" or 12". Leave this to those bigger saws to those with experience. – Ben May 24 '15 at 18:32
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If you really can't get time on a tablesaw, a handheld circular saw with a normal 7-1/4" blade would do most of the cutting you need. (And the shoe tilts to get you your angle.) That said -- thanks Tester101 for reminding me -- this isn't the simplest cut to make. You need to be good at both following a line and keeping the circular saw blade straight in the cut. The only problem is cleaning up a little bit of waste at the bottom of the cuts. You could do this with a chisel or a hand plane. (Wear gloves, lest you get a massive splinter.) ((edit to reflect comment above: You could conceivably cut from both sides, but it is very unlikely to work well. And if you take your time with the cut, there's no jig/fixture/rails required. Just mark a line and cut to it.))

If you could find a stationary or handheld planer (electric -- even I wouldn't bang away at that much wood with a handplane), you could do it, albeit slowly.

Since you called it a fencepost, and that might mean PT (pressure treated), redwood or cedar, I'll put in a plug for safety: protect your lungs with a proper fitting mask. None of those are great for you.

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    Since the OP is asking this question, I'd have to assume they're not very experienced with using a circular saw. Suggesting a novice make an 8' long, straight, bevel cut, free hand, with a circular saw, is preposterous. They're going to need some sort of jig, if they want the cut to come out remotely decent. Even experienced users would have difficulty making that cut. – Tester101 May 23 '15 at 3:42
  • @tester101, edits above in my answer in bold to reflect your concerns -- thanks for the feedback. (I need to remember that something I'd just do in the blink of an eye might not be appropriate for someone without as much experience.) – Aloysius Defenestrate May 23 '15 at 4:01
  • One more idea: skip the cutting entirely and just bolt 2 posts together with a spacer on one side to create the effect of an angled face. – Aloysius Defenestrate May 23 '15 at 16:58
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or make the angle cut on a 2x4 and attach to the 4x4 post.

  • This answer would probably be best as a comment if it relates to an existing answer. Out of context, it doesn't explain how the OP would use a 2x4 to achieve the desired results. – dslake Oct 3 '16 at 18:55

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