Ripping on TS

I have a 25 year old Craftsman contractor saw that I have done much to improve including machined pulleys, leg stabilizers and even upgraded to a very nice rip fence called Align-A-Rip. It still has the 1 hp motor. My problem with ripping is that the board always seems to wander from the fence beyond the blade. Is my hand position at fault? Using a push stick for the last part of ripping makes it even worse. What techniques do you use?
Thanks,
Rocky
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much to

upgraded
1 hp

to
fault?
worse.
Not to belabor the obvious...but are you using a feather board to keep the work piece from moving away from the fence??
Len
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Generally, I don't use a featherboard. I've done about the best I can with blade alignment with this saw. I do find that pushing from the corner farthest from the fence helps but maybe I'll try the featherboard approach too. Which brand do you find to be good? I also think that maybe the low power of the saw make me push with more force to make the cut and that contributes to the wandering too. Any thoughts on that?
Rocky
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I had already suggested Board Buddies: <http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?offerings_id 262&cookietest=1>
Upgrade the motor. Use a narrow kerf blade Make sure the blade is sharp.
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DanG
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Brand? You can make one in a couple of minutes out of scrap.
But for immediate gratification, you could try what I do- when ripping, I feed the stock with my right hand while I press it into the fence with my left. Hand placement is about 8-12" in front of the leading edge of the blade, and acts as an impromptu featherboard. Only real downside is that it can lead to splinters as the wood slides against your finger, but that doesn't actually happen that often.

On that? I think you need to let the saw make the cut, and not try to jam the wood into the blade- it's a cutting tool, not a splitting wedge. 1hp should be fine for cutting most things.
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Rocky wrote:

You can't put a featherboard behind the blade. It'll push the kerf shut. Take a look at these. I've used them for many years.
http://www.woodworker.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM 974
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Do you have an outfeed table? That helps support the wood as it leaves the saw itself. For long pieces, there are rollers and other types of supports.
I also use a magnetic featherboard. Keeping the board in line before the blade certainly helps keep it aligned after the blade. My pushstick is a good sized one with a grip like a hand saw handle (I traced it from a saw) so it can be held down firmly over the board.
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Magnetic featherboard may not work on his 25-yo Craftsman contractor saw -- a lot of those had cast-aluminum tops.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I suspect you have a saw alignment problem
Is the blade parallel to the miter slot in the saw table? Parallel within .009" or less!
Is the fence parallel to the slot? Again, within thousandths.
If you are sure you have it set up correctly, you might be interested in a set of Board Buddies or learn to pressure the work piece to the fence by the direction and way you push..
--
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DanG
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wrote:

Should be a lot closer than that. I shoot for +/- 0.001.

Doesn't have to be parallel -- just can't have less clearance at the back of the blade than it has at the front. This has been cussed and discussed backward, forward, inside out, and upside down here, and it seems that everybody has a different opinion about aligning the fence. Consensus seems to be that over 1/32" of toe-out is too much. *Any* toe-in is dangerous. Between that, though... some guys advocate dead parallel, some say 1/64" toe-out, some say a few thou. I try to keep mine around two or three thou toe-out.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Have you checked the parallelism of the blade and fence? If the diverge to the outfeed side, the board will wander away. Wood with lots of stress can bend in wierd ways when being ripped. Have you tried a feather board? Do you push mostly from the back corner of the blade on the side away from the fence? That can apply a gentle torque to hold the board against the fence. WL

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Wander away from a diverging fence? That would be into the blade, correct? It will go in the direction it's pushed, regardless divergence after the blade. The lumber must, however, be reasonably straight for the fence to work. Nothing more frustrating than a bowed edge.
I have a featherboard with a handle that I like to use in the left hand. Fits all widths of boards easily, and allows that bit of pressure against the fence in front of the blade which is all you need.
I also favor a shoe type push stick over the sickle types, because it controls lift, too.
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Wouldn't a splitter just past the blade that's parallel to the fence side of the blade be enough to stop this?
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That's what it's supposed to do. It may merely force a broader curve with a bowed edge, though. The vintage of the saw probably means no splitter, though a nail-type ad-hoc splitter in a plywood insert works well.
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"Rocky" wrote in message

The pertinent question that has yet to be asked, or answered:
How does the resultant cut _measure_ up?
IOW, when measuring your workpiece after the rip, is it at the CORRECT dimension/width throughout its entire length that you set the fence for?
Answering that question will more than likely lead to some solutions for you.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 1/27/07
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There are some scary suggeations and some good one so far and then there is Swingman's suggestion. First of all, regardless of what appears to be going on, are the results what you want?
If the board comes out straight and parallel and the width you want, the fence could be bowed away from the blade on the far end.
1. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT use any kind of feather board on the side of the board past the front cutting edge of the blade.
2. Make sure your fence is straight. 3. Make sure your saw is properly set up with your miter slot and fence parallel to the blade. 4. Because a lot of wood will move or bend after it has been cut use a splitter to prevent the wood from being sawed again by the back side of the blade. 5. Be sure that your wood has a STRAIGHT edge against the fence and remains against the front end of the fence through out the cut.
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If you have a splitter or riving knife behind your blade make sure that's not the problem. My table saw was driving me nuts because I was having the same kind of problem, the durn saw couldn't rip straight. The longer the board, the worse it was. It turned out that the splitter was slightly out of alignment, forcing the wood to move away from the fence on rips. I had installed the guard per the mfgrs instruction, with a straightedge, but it wasn't good enough. When I got the splitter in better alignment the rip problem went away.
I discovered the problem by accident, using a lightweight sliding cutoff table. If anyone wants it, I'll write up how to make a couple jigs to test for this problem.
-- Mark
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Thanks to all who have given their views. Much to consider and try.
Rocky
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