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?
There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary and those who
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
special saw operations can vary, and if you're left handed flip
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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