8' long rip on TS

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The concept seemed simple enough, and it didn't occur to me that I had never tried cutting anything this long before. I have to cut some 8' sheets of plywood the long way on the TS. A few dry runs with a helper had it weaving and bobbing off the fence and table. We tried it with the helper making like a featherboard. We tried it with the helper making like an infeed support roller, which worked a little better. The lumberyard would have ripped it for me at $1 per cut, if I had been thinking. But now that it's here...
Is there a secret to a long rip on tablesaws? 8' of leverage easily overcomes whatever force I can apply holding it to the fence. I've seen conical feed rollers that hold the work to the fence, but never paid much attention, since I didn't have problems with the size of work I was doing. I can't find them now on online stores. What are those roller-things called?
There's no problem on the outfeed end. I just need to get the first 3' or so to feed straight enough to not kick back. From there, it's a very comfortable rip, just like the ones I'm used to. What's the secret?
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Use a long straight edge and circ saw, with the plywood laying on some styrofoam pieces on the floor.
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wrote:

Yah. I do that for shorter cuts, but don't have an 8' long straightedge. It's unbelievable how much a 2" sheet costs these days. About $30 a 4x8 a few months ago.
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MikeWhy wrote:

Sure ya do. You just made 14 of them, right? :-)
--

-MIKE-

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Or, sacrifice one rip of your next sheet of ply... the factory edge is going to be everything you need. Rip an 8" piece and (combined with a pair of clamps) you have all the straightedge you need.
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Ed Edelenbos wrote:

Is there an echo in here? :-)
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Nah, just someone who replies before reading all the other replies. (grin)
Ed
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Doh! Yeah. Also eyeing the spare 8' long white melamine shelf that's been gathering dust in the corner. A length of cleats down its length, and a simple cut with the saw will turn it into a usable guide. (No matter. I'm just pleased as punch with how easily it cuts on the TS now.)
Anyway, there's not much left of the plywood. There's a little less than a square foot of small bits and pieces in scrap. It was quite an epiphany to discover that there's a bookcase hiding in each 4x8 sheet of plywood. Just add some edge banding and a 1/4" back sheet.
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My experience is to avoid helpers. I use multiple roller stands with swivel wheels on infeed and outfeed to support both sides of the cut and when cutting to press the plywood against the fence. Where material allows, I cut it 1/4 inch oversize, then retrim the cut piece when it is more manageable in size.
I find helpers tend to try to help too much and often move about as they are easing the wood through the saw when walking backwards, which causes binding and a weaving cut.
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EXT wrote:

I agree about the helpers. Inevitably, you end up fighting each other, even if you're not trying to.
--

-MIKE-

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And so I sent her off to start supper. :D
I stacked some stock on the Workmate for a bit of help at the far infeed end, and added a featherboard for hold-down at the fence for insurance. It was a complete non-event. Most of it, I think, was a mental block that said it would be a difficult cut. One down, 6 more to go. Thanks for the nudge.
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I find 8' plywood rips aren't possible (with a full 4' sheet.) It's one of those times where a straightedge and the wormdrive circular saw is the right tool (for me).
Ed
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MikeWhy wrote:

For important stuff, I always use a table on the outfeed side of the saw, and a rolling work table on the infeed. I roll the sheet (on the table) up to the saw and the table stops rolling when it gets to the saw, but the top is slick enough that the sheet keeps going. The surface of both in and out feed tables are slightly lower than the saw top.
Without tables, I'd suggest making rough cuts, then final cuts on the smaller, more manageable pieces.
--

-MIKE-

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MikeWhy wrote:

Get/make outfeed support for both the cut and offcut. Infeed support is good as well.
Hold the plywood at the back left corner. I like to have one hand on the back and one on the left side. Start the cut, applying pressure towards the front right corner to keep the board against the fence. Once you get fast the first few feet, move directly behind the sheet and push it through.
Chris
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I envy you that. It just wouldn't start straight for me. The long leverage made it especially easy to over correct. (It turned out to be pretty manageable just by adding some support at the far end, behind me. I just stoood at the table and fed it, just like any other rip. Maybe some day in the far future, I'll try it again... but I suspect I'll just happily pay the $1/cut.)
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Keep your eye on the edge riding the fence, make sure it stays tight to the fence. Don't watch the blade.
Safer, surer - use a circular saw and guide.
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2008 18:37:46 -0600, "MikeWhy"

What Chris says works for me, too...but, really, what it's all about is practice. One more thing, though, try real hard to get your footwork good enough to keep the sheet (or board, if you will) to move through without stopping. Do some dry runs...plug in your hands...keeping your eyes on the fence connection. I find the hardest part to be getting the sheet set up to *start* the cut...the cut itself is no longer an issue due to repetition. Now, all that said, depending on the widths of my rips, I'll most always get at least *one* done where I purchase the stock (at HD they'll do one cut free...most yards out here will do that) and that cut just a smidge over the dimension I'm after...this gets the sheet size much more managable. Then the procedure described above...practice, baby, practice...
cg
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RE: Subject
Unless you set up infeed, out feed and side support tables, the mechanics of the process are not in your favor.
If you are trying to only break down one or two sheets, having all those tables set up take up a lot of space for what is basically a short time project.
An edge guide, a couple of C-Clamps and a 4'x8'x2" foam sheet, and a hand held circular saw simplifies life a great deal.
Have fun.
Lew
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I hope you're not cutting through the foam with your blade. :-)
--

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"-MIKE-" wrote:

As a matter of fact, yes.
About 1/4-1/2".
That's why a 2" thick sheet.
Lew
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