Milling Cedar Strips for a Bookmatched Petrel

Cutting strips is always a little tedious. It is primarily a matter of feeding the wood through the saw. When you intend to bookmatch the strips on the boat you also need to keep the strips in order.

The process starts by planing the boards smooth. I'm using western red cedar siding that is rough on one side. I run the boards through my planer removing just enough wood to get it smooth. I run a few test boards through the planer and then run all my boards through to be sure they are all the same thickness.

The strips are cut on the tablesaw set up with a zero tolerance insert. This assures that the strips don't get caught in the gap around the blade.

I wax the table top to make it more slippery then buff off the excess. I use a power stock feeder which power-feeds the wood through the blade. This results in more consistent results than pushing by hand and is safer, but it is a luxury and not required to successfully mill your own strips.

I set up the cut a little larger than 3/16" thick and check the results with dial calipers. I'll plane it down to final thickness later.

I mark up each board with diagonal lines so I can get everything back in the same order if I should get the shuffled. As I cut the strips I lay them out on a large table in order and then carefully bundle the results toegether with stretch wrap so they stay in order as I move them around.

After the strips are all cut I move my plane into place and run a few strips through to dial in the thickness. To save time I'll run several strips through at a time. The results are all numbered and reference lines are drawn on all the strips to help align the grain.