Watching Junk Brothers last night, and I noticed they were doing some
crosscuts on the tablesaw just using the fence. The boards looked like 1x4s
about 18" long. Is this a safe?
I would have used a sled or at least the mitre gauge.
It's a television show on DIY network. They pick up furniture people set out
on the curb and fix it up, and then return it to the people who were
throwing it away. I think its an pretty entertaining show.
Thats what I was thinking. I think I will stick to safer methods. I was
suprised that they would do this on a woodworking related program.
I am new to the tablesaw, and I asked because I couldn't specifically
remember reading anywhere that this should not be done, but rather just
implied by omission. So I thought it might be possible that this type of
cutting is OK in certain situations.
Cutting a 1x4 to width on a table saw requires use of the fence to keep the
Cutting a 1x4 to length on a table saw is usually done with the miter gauge.
If you try to cut it to length by using the fence, you are very likely to
get the board cross ways with the blade. Very very serious accidents happen
when the work gets bound on the blade. I may have misunderstood what you
said because I can't believe that anyone would attempt to cut a board to
length by using a fence (especially on TV where an accident would not be a
good thing to show).
Yep. A good rule of thumb is to always control the longest side the board.
If you're ripping, the longest side goes against the fence. If you're
crosscutting, the longest side goes against the sled/mitre gauge.
That said, I've done rectangular pieces with the shorter side against
the fence, but it was with sheet goods and I still had about 15" of
registration along the fence.
I don't watch TV at all but I imagine that this one slipped by whatever
"filter" they have to the content. Maybe writing a letter to the
producer would avert another showing of this sort of thing. I have
never had a kickback on the tablesaw, but I am always doing things the
safe and slow way, taking the time to set up my guard or featherboards,
or go and get the sled. It is a drag, yes, but it is even more of a
drag learning how to use a finger again after it has been re-attached
by a surgeon (although that accident happened far from the woodshop
and did not involve any power tool).
I am certain that many people have succesfully crosscut wood using the
rip fence many times, and would expect that most of those people would
not expect that anything will happen outside of their control, unless
something does happen... And from then on, they become careful.
It is much better to be careful without learning things the hard way.
The last thing that we need is the wrong thing being taught by the
"sacred box with pictures". But I suspect that there is plenty of
If it was on the DIY channel, the slips happen regularly. On the Ultimate
Workshop the tall guy cross cut a dado on a 1x4 with the standard guard in
place, hit the guard, and proceded to back the board back through dado with
the saw running. I sent them an e-mail and they sent me a different e-mail
address to sent to. I think they should have handled it from there IMHO.
They don't care.
If the length is less than about 1.5 times the width then it's pretty
safe. That would be 5x the width and nowhere near safe. I would
personally only use that approach in a trimming fashion, ie only
removing a blade's width or slightly more so there isn't any material
on the waste side. I did that recently when I needed to take an 1/8th
off both ends of a small panel (about 6"x8").
A sled will work. Otherwise clamp a piece of 1x onto the fence just
short of the blade. Measure the size of the crosscut, make adjustments
to the width of the cut, and move the board with the mitre. This way
you can make repeated cuts without too much danger of kickback.
My friend is an editor on the show, and I watched a couple of episodes to
see what it was like. The film editing is great. That's the only good thing
I can say. Every time they used a tablesaw or router, I had to cover my eyes
and scream at the TV, "Don't do that, you idiot".
Bad and dangerous practice.
Proper method is to use a miter gage. For multiple cuts clamp a block
on your fence to repeat the length (or pull the fence back to the
front of the blade in the case of the Unifence) but it should not be
in contact with the fence or block when the piece enters the blade.
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