"Shortening" 3/4" plywood cabinets

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I have two plywood "boxes" I built a long time ago. They have moveable shelves in them) They are maybe 22" wide by 20" deep by 27" high. All 5 sides (top, bottom, 2 sides, back) are 3/4" birch ply and all the joints were glued.
I need to "shorten" the boxes; removing 3-4" from their height.
I had originally planned to use a circular saw and a clamped-on fence. I may still do that, although it would require six setups (for the two sides and back of each unit).
However, a table saw has recently entered my orbit. I had originally thought to set the saw's fence 3" from the blade, thus having the "waste" piece between the blade and the fence. Further thought tells me that this could be dangerous, especially on the third cut.
But the cabinets are too big for a standard miter gauge, and in fact too big for the table. (I believe there is an auxiliary table I could use that is the same height as the table saw, so that might not be a problem.) But I suppose I'd need to build a sled with a stop. If I end up using the saw a lot, a crosscut sled might be a useful thing, but my time seems more and more limited.
Decisions, decisions.
I'm sorry for thinking out loud, without asking a clear-cut question. But that hasn't gotten in the way of useful advice before, so have at it. :)
Thanks in advance.
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On 2/14/2012 2:58 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Assuming your reference edge against the rip fence is even all the way around on both ends I would cut the 3" off with the TS but have the 3" on the waste side. The box is too tall/wide to be a particularly vulnerable kick back hazard. Just make sure the work remains against the fence during the entire cut.
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I agree with Leon re the reference edge. However, I've done this before with the waste against the fence. My TS has a 50" fence so I put the fence on the left side of the blade to allow use of the wider right side table. After the second cut I tacked a couple of pieces of 1/4 ply over the cuts (inside the box) to stabilize the remaining cuts. Art
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On 2/14/2012 2:58 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

I think I'd use a circular saw cutting just proud of the line and then use the clamped on fence and a router to trim to the line.
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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"Nova" wrote:

I'm with Jack.
I've even done it with my Bosch 1587 and a router.
Neat, clean & safe.
BTDT.
Lew .
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I have one of these and it's very useful. That's what I'd use and a circular saw with just enough blade to cut through the wood. http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?pe694&cat=1,240,45313
Now, if you're really concerned about safety, then go with a hand saw.
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I have a clamp-on "ruler" like that, and it is worth the investment. A careful measurement of the extra distance so the saw cuts where you want it is fairly easy. Mine is about 5".
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Best regards
Han
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Mine frequently doubles as a router guide. It really is a handy tool.
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wrote:

I bought that accessory but haven't yet used it.
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Han
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On 2/14/2012 4:27 PM, Dave wrote:

I've got a couple of saw guides, but cheaper ones that require clamps. That's fine most of the time, but in this case there'd be no exposed edge to clamp to. The guides you suggest would solve that problem.
Of course, screwing a straight edge into the "waste" part of the box would work as well. In that case I'd probably have to run the "narrow" part of the saw plate against the fence though, as the amount I'm taking off is probably less than the width of the "wide" part of the saw plate plus the width of the guide.
Still thinking. Thanks for the tip.
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I finally got around to measuring the maximum distance between the rip fence and the blade. It's about 24". But the intended height of the cabinets is more like 27". So I took your advice and ordered one of those self-clamping guides, at what looks like an attractive price:
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=25134
I can only assume that no one was buying the 50" model.
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I wouldn't be surprised to hear that is the most popular size... cross cutting sheet goods is a common use for this type of clamp. Though I have a 50" fence on my cabinet saw I find that it helps to break down sheet goods by making an initial rough dimension cross-cut with a clamp straight edge and a PC trim saw. This as no matter how many times I've done it, sliding an 8 foot sheet across the table saw for a cross cut doesn't always give perfect cuts. This is especially true if the sheet good is relatively rough as it doesn't slide smoothly.
Out of curiosity I looked at the reviews to see why it got a 4 rather than a 5 star rating. I saw an obvious (well it's obvious now) solution to one of my major issues with the clamp I have... use spring clamps to keep the bar from moving while setting it up. Duh! LOL
John
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On 2/19/12 11:27 AM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

Those rod style clamps also develop a "memory." I took a few back to Woodcraft because of this. After clamping in the same place several times... like at 48" for cutting a sheet of plywood in half... the rod will get an indent at that spot that makes it very difficult for it to hold adjacent to that point without slipping into the indent.
So if you've just cut a bunch of 4' shelves using the 50" clamp, then you try to clamp it at a little more or less than 48" exactly, it slips back to 48" or doesn't hold tight enough at the new position. This can be frustrating and renders to tool useless in my book.
I don't know if it's just a problem with the Woodcraft clamps and all clamps made by E. Emerson Tool Co., or if it happens with any rod style clamp. But it happened enough to me that I just started buying the ones from Harbor Freight so I could just swap them at store when it happened, or consider it a disposable tool at that price.
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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I haven't had a problem with the one I got at Woodworker's Warehouse. I've had it for quite a while (they went out of business in January 2004).
It differs in design from the Rockler item in that the dumb end is fixed and the clamp mechanism end slides. There is a cam lever that releases and locks the clutch plates.
The only problem I've had is a spot of rust formed at about the mid-point of the rod that I had to polish off. I typically wipe my tools down with WD-40 after use but I apparently either forgot or missed a spot...
Mine was made in Taiwan.
John
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On 2/19/2012 12:14 PM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

Do these these look familiar? IIRC, that's where I bought these back about ten years ago:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopJustStuff#5710923255064598562
Very handy for using an adjustable reference edge/guide for lots of things.
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https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopJustStuff#5710923255064598562
The ones in the last photo look like mine... they've been perfectly serviceable though I suspect the Festool gizmo is a finer tool!
John
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On 2/19/2012 3:11 PM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

Festool gizmo?
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Think he's referring to Festool guide rails. To me, the best comparison might be 'distant' cousins.
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wrote:

Yeah.... that thing. ;~)
John
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On 2/19/2012 3:23 PM, Dave wrote:

Ahhh ... posted a link to the picture, forgot the entire album was "public".
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