ripping technique on a table saw?

Obviously I'm a newbie but I've looked in a bunch of books and online and haven't been able to find an answer to this.
When ripping a board, I usually have the rip fence to the left of the blade with the item I want to use coming off the right side of the blade. In other words the waste is between the fence on the left and the blade on the right.
I've noticed most pictures in books/magazines seem to have the fence on the right side of the blade. Is this better and is the waste then between the blade and fence or to the left of the blade.
Or doesn't it really matter?
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The fence is to the right (exceptions can happen) and the piece you want is between the fence and blade. With a good fence, there is a ruler on the rails. You move the cursor to the measurement you want, lock the fence, then rip. Properly set up, the good piece will be cut to the accurate dimension and the waste is cut free.
If you happen to have an 18" wide piece of plywood and want to cut off a 1/2" strip, you will do better measuring the setup and having the 1" piece as the cutoff.
I'm not as experienced as others here, but I've yet to put my fence left of the blade. I may do that if I have to cut some bevels though. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Which side of the blade the fence is on is largely irrelevant - if the fence is set correctly. Typically the waste side of what you are cutting should be on the side of the blade away from the fence for measurement purposes as Ed noted. Another reason is that usually you are holding on to the piece you want to keep, and you ALWAYS want to hold on to the piece between the fence and the blade.
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fence
This is true if you use an alternative method to set the distance of the fence from the blade. If you want to use the rule on the front rail, you need to keep the fence on the right side of the blade.
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snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net says...

Aren't you assuming a great deal? My rule on the front rail is to the left (homemade), and I seem to remember that some of the aftermarket fences give you a choice. Maybe some of the manufacturers do too?
BTW, mine is on the left because my blade tilts right - and I'm lefthanded :-).
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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Yeah well Larry there is always one in the crowd... ;~) I'll have to look at my set up via a mirror to see what that looks like in real life... LOL
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On a decently accurate table saw, the fence establishes the width of the desired cut. Your keeper piece is between the fence and the blade. This way you can repeat this cut over and over with varying width boards and end up with your keeper pieces being all the same width with out ever having readjust the fence with each cut. Normally all your keeper pieces are on the right side of the blade. This allows you to use the rip fence scale.

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Howdy Jim
Actually, irregardless of which side of the blade the fence is on the stock between the fence and the blade may or may not be the waste side
It really doesn't matter. You see the fence mostly on the right because that's where the biggest work area is. In theory, and if you are as hung up on safety as some are, the widest part of the stock to be ripped should be between the blade and the fence irregardless of whether it is the piece you want or "waste".
In practice, IE. you want to rip two inch strips off a bunch of eight inch stock and don't feel like dicking around all day measuring and resetting the fence to two inches, you'd, or at least I, would just set the fence to two inches and have at it.
As long as there is enough room for a push stick in there it's a safe enough operation. Of course if you are shaving off just enough to true the edge that would be a different story.
--
Mike G.
Heirloom Woods
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Mike G wrote:

regardless
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You want the fence on the right of the blade and the waste or off fall to be to the left of the blade. You want to control the material against the fence to prevent kick back and this is the piece you are interested in keeping.

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Although the "keeper" piece is sometimes on the non fence side of the blade for me, almost always you want it on the fence side. The cut is supposed to be more accurate because the fence is a straight edge. For people like me that is important because I don't have a jointer to straighten things out. The other side because it has no straight edge sort of "flaps in the breeze" eliminating the possibility of a flat, well sawn edge.
--
Young Carpenter

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