Do-it-yourself Siding

I’m milling up the siding for our new house from roughly 1-inch thick Douglas fir that we harvested from our property. Each board goes through the saw several times:
Rip the board in half
Rip to width x 2
First tongue cut x 2
Finish cut to create the tongue x 2

That’s seven cuts, if you’re keeping track. I cut all the shorter pieces by myself, but when it came to the 300 or so nine-foot boards, it was nice to have someone on the other side to grab each piece and hand back to me for the second cut, then add to a pile while I started on the next.

One issue I was confronted with was keeping the longer board against the fence. I came up with a system for the task using an old spring hinge that I found in the barn and a production artist’s burnisher that hopefully my wife won’t miss.

I started off with the set-up pretty close to the blade, but found that it worked better to move it further away. Close in, it sometimes it trapped the cut-off from the tongue and the blade wanted to grab it and throw it backwards. This only happened when a knot or void caused the piece to break early.

The system is working pretty well, though the spring is not as tight as I’d like it to be. I’ll go search around the barn for something that might work better. Or maybe, head for Jerry’s.

Be sure to check out my new book, Building a Small Cable Suspension Bridge. There is a link to purchase it here: There is also a link there to contact me.

Images, diagrams, and text copyright 2013 by Marvin Denmark unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy and post my content anywhere without my permission. Thank you.