Fence left or fence right?

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Well, after reading yet another left tilt vs right tilt thread <g> I thought I'd pose a different question.
When ripping ( blade vertical) - do you put the fence to the left of the blade or to the right? Same with the miter gauge in crosscuts - left or right slot? And why?
Thanx,
Vic
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thought
To the right 99.9%. It would be something very special to go to the left. -- ******** Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com
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Vic Baron wrote:

to the right. I'm right handed so naturally I stand to the left. the fence being on the right is "natural". Make sense???
Dave
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thought
OK - that's the way I do it and for the same reason BUT - standing to the left with the fence on the right puts the blade in line with my arms or belly. Wouldn't that be considered an unsafe practice? FWIW, I've not even had a "near miss" doing it that way in all the years I've been using a TS. Actually, I've had more kickbacks from a router table.
Vic
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Vic Baron wrote:

standing to the left is NOT the unsafe method; standing in line with the cut is. kickbacks to the gut hurt! DAMHIKT.
Dave
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David wrote:

I guess I'm naturally slow. So no, it doesn't make sense. Of course, I still don't know (or really care) if my saw is right or left tilt.
But, I am right handed, very right handed, so I put the fence to the left of the saw blade, I stand to the left, and for safety stand to the left of the fence, then I push with my right hand (because I am right handed). What's wrong?
If I were to put the fence to the right and stand out of way of the board (if it kicks back) I would have to stand to the right of the fence and feed with my left hand (or twist impossibly to feed with my right hand).
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You will find with time that standing anywhere behind the blade makes you vunerable of being hit by a kick back. Kick back absolutely does not go straight back from the blade every time. The best way to prevent kick back is to have a secure hold on the wood all the time. If you are not securely holding the wood the vibration of the saw can cause the board to jam between the fence and blade and then it can go anywhere.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

what's wrong with that picture? Think about the strain of PULLING the board tightly against the fence for one thing. You can't even see the interface between the boards and the fence to insure an even cut. If you have the fence on the right like you are supposed to, you can be sure there's no gap between the board and the fence, PLUS you can easily PUSH the board into it's proper position flush against the fence more easily than you can PULL it. Besides, how on earth can you deal with wide stock like plywood, MDF, etc. You'll have to have "mutant" arms to reach the far side of the stock! :)
Sorry George, what you are suggesting is awkward and can easily result in improperly cut boards. Try the "normal" way; you might like it.
Dave
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David wrote:

I meant "ensure"; I doubt there's an insurance policy for covering improperly ripped boards. :)
Dave
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Or maybe you meant "assure". LOL
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Leon wrote:

Nope. because there are no spectators. :) I only wanted to be "certain", I didn't need to provide confidence to others. Dave
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My fence is to the right of the blade as has been said 99.9% of the time. I have greater fence travel to the right of the blade and that is the reason.
The only reason the fence goes to the left of the blade is when I've got to do wide/long glue ups. In conjunction with my bench behind the saw it makes for a great expance of surface (50" x 50") that is very flat. I have a roll of craft paper on the end of the table on the saw that I can roll out across the working surface. And, I use the fence as a hold down for the paper.
Roy
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Yes, I put it on the left or on the right depending on which way makes the cut easier. Jim
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Vic Baron wrote:

the miter gauge is a different story. It depends on the the cut. I use either side depending on the type of cut. A 45 degree cut at the left end of a board would be cut from the right side (assume you can't just flip the board over because there is a profile on the top side) and an angled (45 or whatever) cut at the right side of a board would be cut using the left slot. think picture frame cuts.
Dave Dave
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for most straightforward ripping operations, you want the blade between your body and the fence so that as you push the wood through you naturally push it against the fence. you want your primary arm closer to in line with the blade, so that the rest of your body is farther from being in line with the blade. so if you are right handed, you want to stand to the left of the blade, with the fence to the right of the blade.
special saw operations can vary, and if you're left handed flip everything...
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I must be dim but I don't understand that. When you rip, you want to push on the part of the wood that is between the fence and the blade, correct? And you do not want to stand behind that part, correct? So if you stick you right hand straight out (like a push), you can push the appropriate part of the only by having the fence to the left of the blade. Otherwise you are reaching across the blade at the end of the cut.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

weeeeell.... now there's a provocative statement. so I googled you. I don't think you are dim, and you clearly are not an asshole, and you post to help people. so I'll see what I can do.

well, you want to keep the part of the wood between the blade and the fence tight against the fence, if that is what you mean.

you want to position your body where it will be out of line of a kickback. that is, not in line with the blade.

not sure I follow you here. your sentence seems to have a word or two missing....
but, think about it like this. you are pushing the wood through the blade. if you have the blade on the other side of the fence from your body, you have to pull the wood against the fence. pushing to feed while pulling against the fence is more awkward than pushing to feed while pushing against the fence. the first is a push/pull operation, while the second is a push/push operation.
if table saws had been invented by classical japanese woodworkers, we'd probably be pulling the wood through. heck, it might be way better that way. but that isn't this thread....

before the blade, you only have one piece of wood. after the blade you have two pieces of wood. the one between the blade and the fence is the one you are controlling. the one away from the fence (cutoff) is left to fall away. do not reach over the blade. if the workpiece is too narrow to handle safely use a push stick.
I am (trying to) describe how _I_ do it. it works for me. I have been cutting up wood on table saws for a while now, and have developed and been taught methods that work for me and generally feel safe to me. if you do it differently, get good results and have a good safety record at it, _I_ sure 'aint gonna be the one to tell you that _you_ are doing it *wrong*...
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Maybe it's easier to say that one single handed push on an angle against the fence is sufficient to cause the wood to feed past the blade. When you're pulling past the blade you need two hands, one to pull and one to hold the wood against the exiting wood against the fence.
My whole problem with pulling wood through is that until the cut is over and I've turned the saw off, I'm much more concerned with controlling the wood as it's feeding through the blade, not what happens to the wood after it passes the blade. Pushing does that. Pulling only partially does that. Fine, pulling the wood through means that you're never going to get hit by a kick back, but that only addresses the symptom, not the underlying cause of a kickback. I think it's more important to address why a kickback is happening and fix whatever it is causing it.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I appreciate you statement, but I just don't understand where a right handed person puts there hands/push sticks if you have the fence to the right of the blade. And yes, I left out "wood," i.e., ". . .push the appropriate part of the wood . . ."
Let's say I'm making a 6" wide rip. I put my left hand forward and my right hand is at the rear of the wood pushing. Both hands actually push the wood against the fence, or if I really worry about a kickback I stand with my body entirely left of the fence so my hand more or less pull the wood by friction toward the fence.
If I had the fence to the right, I would still want to control the movement of the wood into the saw with my right hand which means my left hand would be forward a bit and my right hand at the back. That would be awkward for me. The only non-awkward way would be to have my right hand forward and my left hand back, pushing the wood into the blade. I've been using a table saw a lot for only the past 15 years; but helped may dad with long pieces and sheets starting more than 30 years before that.
So, my question is where specifically do you place your hands. For convenience, assume a 10" board 3 feet long you want an 8" wide by 3' long piece.
Oops, I just thought, maybe we have a left/right designation problem since I've seen that people don't always agree on which end of the saw is the front. Left and right of the saw to me, is determined by facing the saw as you would push wood into the blade.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

I'm right handed and the way I'd deal with this is to set the fence 2" to the right of the blade, stand on the left and push with my right hand while guiding with my left hand. The smaller cut off is going to be between the blade and the fence so if it launches, at least it's the smaller of the two pieces and I'm over to the side out of the line of fire. This also gives me the wider portion of the wood to push against.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

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