Mark asked the question twice: " ... what constitutes "crosscut" on a piece
of plywood?", but was ignored by all.
I believe that the point Mark was getting at is that the question is not
whether it is a "crosscut" or a "rip", but safety with regard to the
orientation on the saw of a board that is longer than it is wide, whether it
be sheet stock or wood.
In the case of the OP, if what he said was true about the final dimension
(16" x 16"), and the size of the "cutoff" (2"), then whether it was a
crosscut or rip is likely moot with regard to the safety of the operation
that caused the particular incident, and therefore the incident was more
likely caused by technique, or lack thereof.
IOW, cutting 2" off 16" x 18" a piece of sheet good with the 16" side
against the fence is not an inherently unsafe thing to do for someone
experienced with a table saw.
That said, everyone has their comfort level on various table saw cuts, so
that might not hold true for someone who feels that type of cut is unsafe
I have no issue with this statement with respect to the type or configuration of
the blade used to make the cut - rip sharpened for cuts parallel to the grain
and crosscut sharpened for cuts across the grain. But, with respect to the
technique used to make the cut using a tablesaw, I'm more comfortable with
"crosscut" = cutting across the shorter dimension and "ripping" = cutting along
the longer dimension of the piece.
With that said, I confess that I don't remember ever consciously thinking "Now
this is a (rip)(cross) cut, so I should (....)" I just look at what I'm trying
to do and do it whatever way keeps my anatomy as far as possible any spinning
Sorry if this is off-point with the OP. Swingman's post was the first I saw in
Wichita, KS USA
No argument at all ... your's is a convenient, conventional, and logical way
to describe the orientation of various cuts in sheet goods, but that was not
When you cut a 10" long, 12" wide solid wood board to 10" X 10" on the table
saw, a newbie would be rightfully confused.
You aparently need to read Mark's post re: plywood as the "first" post in
the "subthread" ... mine was the third in context.
That's usually the case, but it doesn't make it safe to ignore the
direction of the grain.
You might want to start... or not, if you prefer- but it sure does
hurt if you get a hunk of wood spit at you because you crosscut with
the fence. And I've got a chunk of maple that says it can kick back
at your head even if you're standing well off to the side!
Keep in mind, the ply was square *after* he cut it. if it was already
16" wide who knows how long it was. Could have been the full 8' for
all we know. IMHO, cross cutting isn't defined by the size after the
cut but by before.
No, I was not using the miter gauge (I'm not THAT stupid!). Just pushing it
through. And no splitter - but, I only had about a 2" cutoff, so the lack
of a splitter wouldn't have caused this. Based on the postings here, I need
to do a little tuneup on my saw.
? Unless I misunderstand your OP, something doesn't add up with your
original statement of a 16" x 16" workpiece?
The rotation of the piece into the back teeth of the blade is undoubtedly
what caused your missile ... a splitter would almost certainly have
prevented this with a workpiece that size, regardless of how small the
You state "Just pushing it through". Without being there, One can surmise
that 'act' could have been the root of the problem.
Maintaining "control" over the piece being cut, _throughout_ the cut, is as
equally important, if not more so, than safety devices like "push" sticks,
splitters and guards.
I've seen "push" sticks/devices get folks into trouble, particularly with
ill setup equipment, because the act of 'pushing" is not necessarily the
same as "controlling" the piece throughout the cut either by hand, or with a
properly designed "push" device.
A properly designed push device that allows you to push, exert downward
pressure on the table, and lateral pressure against the fence, all at the
same time and _all the way through the cut_, along with a splitter, will
almost guarantee your chances of a safe cut on a piece of that particular
Don't mean to preach, but the risk of sounding that way may prevent a future
mishaps due to not fully understanding the causes of same.
Bob, the key to preventing a recurrence is understanding exactly what caused
your accident. It may have been a blade or fence misalignment as has been
suggested. If you find that is not the case, however, there are other
You didn't say which part was against the fence, the 16" workpiece or the 2"
offcut. You didn't say which piece was kicked back. You didn't say whether
you were pushing/guiding with both hands or one hand only.
When you say you were "crosscutting" a piece of plywood, that leads me to
suspect you may have had the 16" workpiece on the left side of the blade and
the 2" offcut against the fence. If you were pushing with your left hand,
the workpiece may have skewed on the table as it separated from the offcut,
moving it into the back teeth of the blade.
It probably *was* that fast, actually.
Consider: a 10" saw blade has a circumference of 31.4 inches. Spinning at,
say, 3600 rpm, the tips of the teeth are moving at (31.4 / 12 * 3600 ) = 9420
feet per minute = 565,200 feet per hour = 107 mph.
Yeeeowch! Sorry to hear about that...
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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For the record can someone cite where the proper position to stand is
when doing crosscuts vs ripping. If there a difference? New to
woodworking and table saw use and this sounds like a very important
thing to have cleared up.
of an 8 foot sheet of quarter inch luan. (to me, I'd call that cross
cutting). I had just finished cutting some dados and didn't bother to
replace the splitter. Near the end of the cut, wham!! the 2'X4' sheet
sailed by me and stuck into the half inch plywood wall behind me; a very
nice M&T joint right into the wall. Cause: primarily cutting with no
splitter, secondarily I failed to hold down the piece.
Second time, I was "cross cutting" a piece of 3/4 plywood, cutting a 6"X6"
square off a 6"X ~14" piece. Splitter and blade guard were in place, using
the fence. The piece on the left side turned as I was completing the cut, a
corner wedged between the blade and splitter, wham!! The block hit me about
the same place as Bob, although no broken skin or torn jeans. But I did
have a real nice 6"X6" bruise to explain to my wife. Cause primarily,
cutting too small of a piece with the table saw, I should have used my miter
saw. I since learned from the wreck that you should not cut anything
smaller than the width of the blade using the fence. Secondarily, pushing
material through on both sides of the blade is not a good thing to do.
My 2 cents.
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