Ripping narrow pieces from wide stock

Page 1 of 3  

I just purchased my first table saw this weekend and I'm trying to get a better handle on how to most effectively (and safely) use it. I need to rip some 2" wide pieces of 3/4" plywood and I'm trying to figure out the best way to do it where I don't end up wasting a bunch of wood. Say the plywood is 4' x 4' and I want to cut (4) 2" x 4' strips from it. It would seem the most accurate way to do this would be to set the rip fence (which is to the right of the blade) 2" from the blade and then run the board with the majority of the board to the left of the blade. My concern is that I'm asking for kickback with the waste side being so much larger than the piece I'm trying to create. On the other hand, I've never heard of someone (but I'm new so this doesn't mean much) putting the waste on the fence side. What's the proper way to make these cuts?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

First, a question - you say you bought a table saw... more information, please. How big is the table? Do you have table extensions? Outfeed table? A basic 27" table is insufficient for cutting sheet goods. You will need support for the width of the piece that supports 2/3 of it, at a minimum. You'll also need some sort of support at the outfeed.
Assuming you have adequate support for sheet goods, then set your rip fence at some distance (arbitrary) greater than the desired 2". Secure a block of wood to the fence nearest you, at the edge of the saw table, that is equal to the "arbitrary" distance you cranked into the fence position. ie: if you put the fence 3 inches from the blade, then secure a 1" block to the fence. Now you can butt your stock up against the block to get a precise 2" position relative to the blade, but your stock will not be binding against the fence. That eliminates your kickback risk, and you can freely cut all the way through. Your block should only be a couple of inches long. You're not trying to run it up to the blade.
Fabricate and use a panel cutter (tons of stuff on the net about these) so that you have adequate support for your piece along it's back side. Don't try to simply use your miter as it came with the saw as it will not provide enough support to keep a 4' piece from rotating. If your sheet stock rotates you'll discover an entire world of high velocity excitement.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One way to help lower the chance kickback is to have sufficient support tables for infeed and outfeed. If that's not possible, then I'd cut the 4'x4' piece down a bit with a circular saw or jigsaw and then cut to exact size on the tablesaw. Typically, if you're right handed, the wood being cut on the tablesaw is passed by the blade on the left side of the fence with your body being further to the left out of the flight path if a kickback occurs. Use a pushstick to run the board past the blade, (which means your hand is not reaching over the blade as you're cutting), the only part of your body that is exposed to the kickback flight path is your arm. Better that than the family jewels or something equally as bad.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Unfortunately, if you experience a real kickback, you're directly in the line of fire. Kelly Mehler ("The Table Saw Book" and strong proponent of table saw safety) calls what I think you're talking about "ejection", where a typically narrow piece is forced straight back. In a true kickback (at least by his definition), a typically larger piece gets pinned between the blade and the fence. The rear of the blade picks up the back and you get free demonstration of the physics of moving bodies as the panel is shot out at approximately a 45 degree angle. Maybe we're just dealing with semantics, but I want to stress that standing to the left of the blade when the fence is on the right is not necessarily a safe location. As someone here said once, the only completely safe place to stand when cutting with a table saw is in the other room.
todd
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sure, I can't argue with that sentiment. Sh*t happens and Murphy's law is always waiting in the wings to make an entrance. All one can do is to take reasonable precautions.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
todd wrote:

Can you give me some more information about the 45-degree angle, Todd? I was always taught to stand to the left of the blade (right-side fence). Which plane is the kickback going to travel 45 degrees in? Is it upwards from the table or rearwards from the blade?
I have a set of Grrripers I use to rip with, and I find the easiest place to stand is often directly on the left side of the saw (legs braced against the cabinet)...that way I can keep the wood pressed down throughout the length of the cut and my hands are (relatively) protected from the blade even though they pass directly over it.
Thanks in advance Todd.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I saw Kelly Mehler demonstrate this once at a woodworking show. Since he didn't want to shoot a piece of plywood to the other side of the room, he used an acoustical tile. As he pushed it through the blade, he let it bind. The rear of the blade picked it up and shot it backwards. It made an approximately 45 degree angle relative to the fence in the plane of the saw top at maybe a 30 degree elevation. The fix for kickback is to have a saw with a riving knife. Unfortunately, almost no saws sold in the US are equipped with riving knives, so Kelly shows how to approximate one in his book by mounting a thin piece of wood directly behind the saw blade. No access to the rear of the blade, no kickback.
todd
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@teksavvy.com says...

suggestions and/or pieces of advice: (1) set the blade height to just clear the top of the wood being cut (1/4" to 3/8" max); and (2) watch your clothing (sleeve, etc.) to make SURE nothing can get caught in the blade.
A pushstick? - DEFINITELY! I use one with a handle about two inches above the wood surface with a pusher block on the back. It's long enough to be able to get downward pressure on the wood all the way thru the cut as well as making sure all parts of my hand are well above the blade. The long surface in contact with the wood and the downward pressure provides for good control.
Oh!, and keep a healthy respect for that saw FOREVER! It's not fear, exactly, but just remember THAT BLADE AIN'T YOUR FRIEND!
Good luck, be safe, and enjoy! Tex
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was always taught to have the blade 1" above the wood you are cutting, if your blade is just clearing the wood, then the blade is pushing back on the piece, when the blade is higher, it is pushing down on the piece, much less likely to result in a kickback.
Of course I am relatively new to this, so please correct me if this is wrong.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The proper way to make these cuts is the way you described. Set the fence to 2" and cut. Use a push stick to push the right side and "Gently" keep the piece against the fence with your left hand by "Gently" pushing towards the fence. Since the waste side is not trapped between the fence and the blade, kick back is not much of a risk or likely. I seriously doubt that the blade would be able to flip a 4' square piece of 3/4" plywood and throw it back at you. With more practice and experience you will learn to recognize what situations are likely to produce kickback. This is not one of them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Leon" wrote in message

Absolutely agree. Started to post similar sentiments earlier this morning, but got sidetracked, then OE barfed and deleted my carefully worded masterpiece, so said to hell with it.
Simplest solution is to just cut the 4 x 4 sheet of plywood roughly in half based on the number of parts he needs, then proceed with his accurate cuts against the fence.
Or,
... a roller stand to the left of the table to support the width of the cutoff until it gets small enough not to want to tip off the saw table.
Tipping is liable to cause a good deal of harm to the edge of his cutoff, but unlikely to kick back, IME.
... more likely it will just provide an opportunity for an unscheduled change of under drawers.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 5/6/06
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Started to post similar sentiments earlier this morning,

Humm... Actually, ALL of my posts are masterpieceseses'es that my son's English professor would swoon over, but I too use OE and from this point on blame any thing that does not look quite right, any where near right, or just simply totally off base on OE.
That's my excuse and I'm'a sticking with it.
Thanks Swingman for the inspiration. ;~)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Of course. Why put effort into making up an original excuse when you can latch onto someone else's?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

Exactly~~~ LOL My original involved me being part of the problem. :~)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Leon" wrote in message

Ahh, but you see ... mine post was so elegant in its composition, and so piercing in its logic, that, had it not ended up in the OE bit bucket, the thread, and possibly the entire wRec, would have dried up immediately ... words would have even escaped Tom Watson.
The world's loss, without doubt ... but TW's, and Shakespeare's, reputations remain intact.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 6/21/06
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Swingman wrote:
> Ahh, but you see ... mine post was so elegant in its composition, and so > piercing in its logic, that, had it not ended up in the OE bit bucket, the > thread, and possibly the entire wRec, would have dried up immediately ... > words would have even escaped Tom Watson. > > The world's loss, without doubt ... but TW's, and Shakespeare's, reputations > remain intact.
Ah yes, from deep in the heart of Texas.<G>
Lew
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yeah, no inflated ego's down here.. LOL
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sometimes fate humbles us. LOL. I am sure its eloquence would have the been the end to the wRec as we all know it. :~)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree with almost all other the above. Good support is absolutely necessary. Lack of support is essentially the same as trying to saw twisted stock (see below).
I am not, however, a big fan of roller stands. I prefer a saw horse with a waxed top. Roller stands tend to pull you work to one side or the other if they are not perfectly aligned with your fence.... that can actually lead to kickback. I used to have two rollers permanently attached to the back of my saw. That worked pretty well; the alignment was fixed.
Now I have a dedicated outfeed table and one saw horse that I can position for infeed or side support as necessary. I also use it to support the extension table on my band saw. I just find it to be a more flexible shop accessory.
As for kickback, I'll probably get flamed for my technique:
I stand in front of the blade.... yup that's right. From that position I can best place positive pressure both down and to the right (against the fence) in a position to the right of the blade. This puts my hand's "follow through" away from the blade.
IF the TS is set up correctly, AND the reference faces (both table and fence) of the stock are jointed true AND modest pressure is applied both down and toward the fence, kickback is just nearly impossible.
Twisted stock and sloppy feed pressure both recipes for kickback.
-Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Stephen M" wrote in message

That'll work.
Sorry, I should have been more explicit. They don't have to be "rollers" ... the ball bearing type "roller stands" move in any axis (particularly the commercial ones with multiple rows of ball bearings) making it easy to guide in any direction with no pull ... a much better choice for a table saw if you have the room and the need.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 6/21/06
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.