I have in fact trimmed boxes of about 18X18 on my table saw simple by
running them against the fence with the waste on the left of the blade. In
your case, if there is no outfeed table I'd skip the table saw... Too much
weight to try to juggle around on a running saw as the cut is completed. Bad
things can happen!
Do you have a rip guide for your circular saw? My two Porter Cable saws (7
1/2" and 4 1/2") cut very nicely with the rip guides... I'd not hesitate to
cut the bottom off cabinet boxes with either.
In your situation yes, set the fence to the desired finished height of 24".
Come to think of it, I think my boxes were 24" too! If you put the waste to
the right of the blade against the fence don't forget to adjust the fence to
take the kerf into account, i.e., if the blade removes 1/8" of material set
the fence to 2 7/8" to remove 3".
Practice is a good idea if you haven't used the rip guide previously. I've
used rip guides on inexpensive saws that were horrible compared to my PC rip
guides... You may find that your guide works great or it may be terrible in
regards to how well it lets you maintain a good cut... test cuts is the best
way to find that out.
As other's have noted, you can do it on a table saw, with a circular
saw, and with a hand saw.
I'm with Leon on the Table Saw. I would not hesitate to make the cut on
the table saw with an outfeed table, BUT, with the keeper part against
On either the circular saw, or with a table saw, if you're worried about
the off cut binding (which can happen with either one), there is a very
simple solution to that which makes it much safer all around:
Span the kerf cut on each side after it's made, with some scraps, hot
glued to the _inside_ of the cabinet ... that will keep the cutoff 3"
part from moving/flopping around on you as you make each subsequent cut.
Using the table saw, this is a safer method I've used a few times on
tall boxes, as well as cutting large recycled plantation shutters down
2 7/8", not 3" -- you forgot to account for the thickness of the kerf.
This is not Not NOT a good idea.
Any time you hear a little voice in the back of your head saying "this could be
You're right, this could be dangerous. Real dangerous.
Is there some reason you can't set the fence at (height of box minus 3") from
the blade, so that the
box is on the fence side of the blade, and the waste on the free side?
As I mentioned elsewhere, that seemd like the kind of job that might
require some "feel", feel I may not have yet.
There are three sides to cut on each of two boxes, so six repetitions of
clamping on a guide, etc.
3" was just an approximate number I threw out for brevity, but thanks
for the reminder anyway; I am capable of any number of silly mistakes.
Thank you for amplifying that "little voice"
The boxes are pretty tall, possibly too tall to fit between the blade
and the furthest possible position of the fence (even at their cut-down,
"finished" height). I'll have to check when I get a chance.
Thanks for the warnings. That's why I post here.
You're right, it does take some "feel" but (a) not a lot, and (b) it's easily
acquired. Practice on a few
pieces of scrap, and you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. The longer the
guide surface, the easier
it is to do.
It sounds as if you have or have access to one of those little direct
drive table saws with a dinky little table. I would not attempt the cut
with one of these. If it is a real table saw with off feed and side
tables, it would be my first choice. It sounds to me that you may be
better served with the circular saw. One of the big problems will be
splintering of the finish cut as the blade teeth come up. You will need
to cut through the finish veneer with a utility knife or similar before
cutting. It would be a prime candidate for making a circular saw edge
guide similar to this:
You don't need an 8 footer, but the concept is the same. Spend your
time on layout, scoring, and clamping or tacking your edge guide.
It's bigger than that; a seventies-era Craftsman, on legs, with wings.
If it is a real table saw with off feed and side
There's a separate table that looks to be exactly the same height. It
could be put to use as either, but not both.
It sounds to me that you may be
I've got an edge guide. It consists of two 4' pieces of aluminum
extrusion. I've used it a fair amount and I'm comfortable with it. But
reclamping the guide 6 times, especially as the box shpe doesn't lend
itself to clamping, sounds like a pain.
I think I will measure the table saw capacity first. If it is too small,
I may buy one of those guides with a built-in clamping system and use it
with my circular saw.
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