If I need temporary access to professional woodworking tools ...

I need to take some planks and saw them to 1/8" inch thick (by 6"). I don’t have a table saw or a band saw (I do have a compound miter saw but I don’t think that will work). Are there places I can go and rent time on the equipment I need?

How long is the plank and what will you be using it for? You’d probably want to use a planer for something like that. A planer is something which shaves the wood down to a certain thickness. But one problem with that planing it down that thin is it probably won’t be perfect and the wood may warp. I don’t know of anyway you could get access to equipment. Maybe at a community college if you’re taking a woodworking class. You should probably pay someone like a cabinet maker to do it for you if you want good results. You could also go to a hardwood supplier and ask them. They may be able to supply the wood you need or point you to someone who can do it for you.

You could look at buying a 1/8" veneer?

Most tool rental stores will be able to provide those things to you. I’ve rented a table saw for some minimum amount like 4 hours or something. such things will fit in the back of a reasonably sized SUV or truck.

Or you can explore “maker spaces” in your area. THese are places where budding artisans can get access to all sorts of fun tools like looms, 3D printers, drill presses and the like.

Or 1/8" plywood. It would be very difficult for you to do this yourself even with the right tools.

What type of wood do you want to use? Hardwood suppliers will typically plane wood to thickness for a fee. A cabinet maker would do the same for you.

Resawing wood down to 1/8" is difficult so you would typically get a thicker board and plane it down.

Just as a point of information: if I understand what you’re trying to do, you need a band saw equipped with a resaw blade.

I’ve rented tools like that from Home Depot several times.

Search your area for a “community woodshop.” If you’re in or near a large city there should be one or more around. For most, you pay a fee, take a short safety class, and you’re let loose on the floor. Many you don’t even need to bring your own wood.

Googling, there is a woodworkers’ club in Norwalk Connecticut with classes and tools. It’s apparently at a Woodcraft store (a chain of woodworking stores) so the store local to you might also have a club associated with it?

Your post suggests that you already have the wood. If not, places like Home Depot will do the modifications for you if you buy the wood from them. That’s what I did.

You would need a damn good bandsaw with re-saw capabilities to accurately slice 6" wood to anything near 1/8". Then plane to remove the saw marks and run it through a wide belt sander to final dimension.

Re-sawing is a demanding task as you need a wide, high tension blade to track well while cutting 6".

Home Depot does has a section for thin wood in the moulding department. I think maybe they go to 3" wide in 1/8" hardwood and 3 or 4 feet long.


There may also be a place that does this sort of thing for a living. Try searching for ‘wood cutting professional’. These are places that do bulk planing/cutting jobs for contractors, but will usually do a smaller job for a fee.

And Mixdenny is correct. At the woodworking school I attended, they had a bandsaw with a 3’ diameter wheel for doing resaw work. The blade was at least 2". The saw must have weighed a half a ton. If you try to do what you’re describing on a table saw or any other type of saw, you’re going to hurt yourself. Don’t try it.

Woodworking stores carry what they call kraft board, which is clean (no knots) wood cut to the sort of dimension you’re looking for. You might check that.

Maybe I should be more specific
I have some beautiful 5/4 x 6 red cedar* that I want to use for soundboards for aeolean harps. I figure I can get 6 or 7 boards that are 1/8" thick. Even renting equipment will be cheaper than buying wood that thickness and I am entirely open to the idea of giving it to a carpenter and having him do the work if relatively cheap.
*left over from building a fence.

Look for makerspaces near you. many have access to a wide range of tools and even if you dont sign up…members are often willing to do mini projects/tasks.

You’ll be lucky to get get 5 boards out of that, there’s a lot of waste in the cutting and finishing. I think you need to pay a cabinet maker, not sure what they would charge. You can look for wood suppliers in your area, not lumberyards, check for hardwood and cedar suppliers, they’d probably do it for you for a reasonable fee. I doubt you can rent the kind of equipment you need to do this job well.

Now how long are these cut pieces? If no longer than a foot or two you could just buy a veneer saw, cut them yourself and hand sand them. Cedar is soft and the effort wouldn’t be that great. I think doing the hand work may be the only way to save any real money here.

Cutting wood like that is not simple. Someone without experience cutting like that is likely to mess up the wood and you won’t be happy with the results. If it is some special wood that you can’t easily replace, you should have a pro do it.

Given these are leftover fence boards, they don’t sound especially rare and presumably could be easily replaced. So would a planer be the best way to get to the right thickness (even if there’s a lot of waste)?

It would take you forever to plane down 5/4 to 1/8, and you’d likely go through some cutters by the time you’re done with it. For that amount of money and aggravation, I’d use one of the options mentioned above.

You’ll need to resaw to 3/16 - 1/4" thick planks and use a jointer & drum sander (or planer with a little work) to take it down to 1/8".

Resawing with a large bandsaw is tedious and requires a little bit of practice to get right. It’s not brain surgery, but you should probably plan on messing up the first couple of cuts. Spend the majority of the time ensuring the bandsaw is set up as square as possible before starting and use a good resaw jig so you don’t risk losing the tips of your fingers. Use a carbide resaw blade or a new 5/8" - 1" wide conventional blade for ease of cut.

To add any woodworking hobbyist with a decent bandsaw/jointer/planer would be able to do this for you in a half-hour or so, so you might want to ask in a post on NextDoor or some other local community board.