Paperboard (cereal boxes, etc.) ripped into strips works better as it
provides a cushion. The drawback is it does get glued down, especially
if bridging a seam. It is then a real mess to clean off. The paperboard
quickly clogs a plane or sandpaper.
The latest thing is to cover the paperboard strips with carton
sealing / packing tape. This works great! It removes cleanly and the
tape has less friction, which makes sliding a screwdriver underneath the
staple crown easier. Making the strips is one more job for the kids.
Another that has mixed results is the plasticized packing paperboard sheets that
come with Agfa x-ray film. This is nicely cushioned and is by far the easiest for
staple removal, but does stick to the epoxy. Be careful when pulling up
as splinters of mahogany may also pull of with the strips.
Due to the outrageous prices for deck strips, I decided to rip my
own. I had the rough planks planed and then thickness sanded at the
lumber mill. This resulted in 1 3/4 " thick x ~12" wide x 10'
long planks. The smoothly sanded faces will then become the edges
between the strips.
I tried ripping on the band saw, but this was futile. There is just
not enough power and it is very difficult to steer the planks through.
Next was the table saw. It is set up with a Freud Thin Kerf ripping
blade. The ends of the planks are supported on roller stands. The ball
type roller works much better than the long conveyor type roller. I just
got the rollers and wish I had bought them years ago! (Yes, more project
The saw drifted on the floor as the planks were pushed through.
Screwing a stop strip into the concrete floor then held the saw securely
and the cut quality improved dramatically.
Constant feed rate is very important with thin kerf blades. If you
bog down and then release pressure the blade "rings" and you
get a wide kerf at that point.
It proved to be much easier to rip the boards if they are initially
ripped to about
6" wide and then into strips. Remember, the full size planks are
HEAVY. Have small wooden wedges ready to put in the kerf. A small amount
of case hardening or stress in the plank will cause the kerf to close
and bind on the blade. There is tremendous pressure exerted this way and
you cannot hold the cut open.
Ripping of the strips is done with the guard off as the strips are
only 4mm thick (to match the plywood). Be careful!. Use push sticks and
have your helper pull through the thin pieces.
Ripping the 65 strips took ~3 hours. It looked like an orange snow storm
had hit! Even with the dust collector on, there was sawdust everywhere.
This is definitely respirator time.