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Sometimes, Only a Table Saw Will Do…

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Here’s an example one of those unexpected chores that seem to come up on every remodeling job … In this case, I had to fabricate a replica of a partial window sill. The original sill had rotted into a spongy material to the point that I suspect the wood may never have been pressure-treated. The water absorbed by the sill had also leaked down and rotted the wall, requiring new siding as well. But the sill was the tricky part — a funky shape with two different sized rabbets (grooves) and bevels on each edge. The front bevel of the window sill served as a drip edge, and the rear was cut at a bevel to interface with the remaining sill that was still attached to the window — which was pitched to shed water.

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Because only the front of the sill was rotted, with the area of contact between the sill and the window pane still solidly intact, I decided to leave the good wood in place and surgically cut away the bad wood with an oscillating multi-tool. Doing this ensured that I did not compromise the weather seal at the pane-and-sill junction. However, to create the replacement piece required some tricky cuts to mimic the profile. And, if you can accomplish the multiple rip-cuts at varying angles and depths while using a handheld circ saw with a rip gauge — well, then hats off to you, because you’re a much more talented carpenter than myself.

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For most of us only a table saw will do, utilizing the saw’s rip fence in conjunction with the blade’s ability to adjust depth and cutting angle. Without this tool, I would never have been able to fab up the replacement sill. So, if you’re a DIY’er who has been weighing the benefits of investing in one of these highly versatile tools, a task like this is the exact kind of situation where the right equipment can save the day.

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Note: If surgically repairing a window like this, be sure to use adhesive flashing, siliconized construction adhesive, adequate shims and exterior-grade caulking. Look for the full rot-repair article in an upcoming issue of EHT, where we’ll cover everything from trim removal to siding rehab and more.

— M. Weber

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