6 Tips for Cutting Redwood Lumber

Redwood lumber, in addition to being an extremely attractive softwood, is renowned for many of its characteristics. Redwood is prized among landscapers and woodworkers for being lightweight, easy to cut and resistant to decay. Builders like it because it is fire resistant, a property that makes it desirable as siding, roofing shingles and other external uses. Like all wood in its natural or freshly cut state, redwood possesses a particular moisture content. As it dries over a long time period, the shape or quality of redwood may change. When cutting redwood, it is important to keep a few tips in mind to achieve the best results. 

Tip 1 - Let Wood Dry

Remember, when cutting redwood or any wood for that matter, it must be allowed to dry thoroughly before cutting. Even redwood sold in pre-cut planks at the lumber yard may have quite a high moisture content. If cut and/or used too quickly, the wood could end up warping, leaving you with a misshaped piece that is virtually unusable.

Tip 2 - Cut into Manageable Sizes

If you are cutting rough redwood into smaller pieces in order to mill it into planks, don't try to cut the wood to size from the rough section. Instead, cut down the rough redwood into manageable pieces larger than the final result, but small enough to provide for easy milling.

Tip 3 - Use the Right Blade for the Task

Don't use a crosscut blade when ripping redwood or a rip blade when making crosscuts. Depending on if you are cutting against the grain or with it, be sure to use the proper blade for the task. This applies when using a table saw, handheld power saw or a handsaw. 

Tip 4 - Sharp Blades

Very important when cutting redwood is to use a blade that is adequately sharpened. Although it seems counterintuitive, when cutting redwood or other softwoods, it is actually more important that the blade be appropriately sharp. The reason being is that, because of the softness of redwood, if the blade is too dull, the wood is more likely to tear or split along the cutting line. While this may not ruin the piece of wood, it doesn't look good, especially if the redwood plank is to be used in a visible location. 

Tip 5 - Sharp Router Bits

When routing the edges of redwood for furniture or other decorative purposes, as with saw blades, it is vital that the router bit be very sharp, or else the same dull splitting may occur. However, should splitting or shredding occur when routing, it could damage the piece of redwood beyond repair. 

Tip 6 - Go Slow

Don't rush through any type of cut with redwood. Just as saw blades and router bits must be very sharp when cutting into redwood, pushing through a cut too fast could end up damaging the edges of the wood. 

    Redwood is one of the most beautiful varieties of wood available. Its resistance to fire and decay make it highly desirable for many uses. When cutting it, take the time to do it right to end up with the best-looking results.