Gang Rips Saws and Glue-Ready Edges

A gang ripsaw or straight-line ripsaw should yield a glue-joint ready edge, but only with proper blade sharpening and maintenance. January 12, 2012

Does anyone go from a gang rip to cutoff to glue-up in processing solid wood panels? I guess what I am asking is, will the gang rip allow me to bypass a joiner operation? I understand about case-hardened wood (another matter altogether). I am talking under most conditions with kiln dried hardwood stock, will it work?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
I don't have any experience with a gang rip but our SL rip does a great job of that. Better than jointing, (and a lot faster)! Be sure to buy good glue joint blades and use a sharpening service that knows what they are doing. It's the edge of the blade that preps the glue surface.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I agree and would add one more thought. What part of a saw blade actually touches the part of the wood that you will be gluing? Answer: The sides of the teeth and not the top. So, you need a rip saw that has been side dressed and has sharp teeth on the sides as well as the top. Side dressing is done at many saw shops; you will find that some shops do a much, much better job than others, so try several shops until you find a good one.

Along with this goes the requirement that you have the proper saw blade design for sawing a glue-able edge. Note that the rip saw needs to be stable, as wobble will create gaps that will not glue well. It must also be sharp to avoid heating the wood and destroying part of the wood's glue-ability.

From contributor M:
We use a Cosmec gang rip saw for all of our ripping needs. The saw has a 60hp motor and we use 4/4 material, mostly alder. I took my guy's word that they need to join for panel glue-up and I took their word for it. It may be true, but Gene's point about side dressing the blade is something I will look into, as well as taking a closer look at our current procedure. Is anyone using a gang rip saw and gluing panels without joining?

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
To contributor M: In my travels and consultations, I seldom see jointing before gluing. Most glue off a ripped edge with a properly sharpened saw.

From contributor M:
Thanks Gene. If this information does not get me on fire to find out what needs to be done to eliminate the joining, I need to hang it up. We make our doors and I cringe at the thought of all the wasted money over the years doing the joining. My guys are old school and I got into this business with zero background in woodworking. I just became too used to relaying on their experience.

From contributor L:
Don't feel too bad about all your wasted time and money. It appears from reading many of the posts that a very large percentage of the people posting on this site do the same thing. They are usually claiming it's because they are doing "high end" work.

Actually what they are doing is wasting their lives on things that don't matter to the end user. It's a mental condition! How many operators on here pay their employees fewer than $40/year? That's kind of bottom level wages in most parts of the country these days. How many pay themselves less than $60K? If this hits you, is what you are doing a hobby or a business?