Q from The Joint Book by Terrie Noll

If you happen to have this book, maybe you can help me. If you don't and are interested, you can also see the whole page by clicking on the follow link to amazon.com and then searching inside the book for the phrase "End Lap on the Table Saw", (Amazon.com product link shortened)62854848&sr=1-1
If you've never done that before, searching inside books this way is a nice way to find useful information.
In "End Lap on the Table Saw", page 46, Step #3, the author writes
Lock the fence and clamp the scrap in front of the blade. Butt the stock against the block and push the cut through with the gauge.
After considering it over in my head for 3 days, I may have the jist of it, but I think it may be important so I'll post anyway. It beats reading the political thread. : ) First off, what the author is doing here is making a cut one side of which will form the shoulder. I had to wonder why he is working so hard at it (as a beginner, it would not have occurred to me to make it so difficult). And that is the reason I am asking. I have decided that it should probably say, "butt the stock against the FRONT side of the block and against the fence and push...". Yet the author still does not explain his rationale.
I can see how using the block and fence help ensure a square cut, but I'm curious why that should be expected to do better than the gauge and fence alone assuming the mitre guage is square. I saw a similar technique used on NYW online tonight (free online episode, 1 per month here), though I don't recall Norm clamping the block. http://www.newyankee.com/online.php
So it all boils down to: Why is it worth using/clamping an extra block in place? The idea of putting a clamps on an expensive TS fence seems counter-intuitive to me. I hope I haven't beat a dead horse...
Bill
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Bill wrote:

The block serves only as a gauge to set the cut location; as you push with the miter gauge, the stock being cut moves past the block and into the saw blade. There is no possibility of trapping the free end of the stock against the fence which would result in very bad things you don't want to experience.
IOW, following the instructions helps keep your body intact.
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I should also say that if you are cutting a half lap in only one piece, there is no purpose to the block...using a block allows you to make the shoulder cut at the same location on many pieces.
If you are only cutting one, shove the fence out of he way and use only the miter gauge.
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There is no possibility of trapping the free end of the stock

Ah. Thank you.

By permitting you to use the fence and the mitre gauge at the same time, right?
J. Clarke wrote:

Thank you. Safety is paramount. So having the block on the side of the blade you are standing on (not sure if this is the front or the rear) provides an exemption to this rule?
I just happend to have Mehler's book within arms reach. I looked at it several few years ago (while I was an apartment dweller). I'm sure I will get more out of it now if I read it again.
Thank you, Bill
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Bill wrote:
...

Technically, yes, but...you only want the block to be in front of the blade sufficiently far that the stock has cleared it _completely_ _BEFORE_ engaging the front of the blade .

Absolutely not. See above.
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Bill wrote:

You use the block to set the position of the piece in the miter gage, but before the stock engages the blade it should be clear of the block and supported only by the miter gage.

No. The block doesn't go between the fence and the blade, it is in front of the blade. You set the stock on the saw so that it is touching the block, you then secure it to the miter gage using either finger pressure or a clamp as you deem appropriate, then start moving the miter gage and secured stock toward the blade. It should slide past the block before it goes into the blade.

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Bill wrote:

Table saw safety 101--stock should never touch the miter gage and fence at the same time during a cut--doing so risks getting a piece of stock wedged between the blade and fence which results in the stock being thrown at you violently.
The block allows you to align the stock without having it be in contact with the fence during the actual cut.
If you find "The Table Saw Book" by Kelly Mehler and look on page 65 there is demonstration of kickback.
You might want to get a copy of that book and read it through--a table saw can hurt you in some non-obvious ways.

The fence is not fragile in that way. At least it shouldn't be--if putting clamps on it damages it it was a piece of crap to begin with. "Table Saw Magic" by Jim Tolpin shows a wide variety of useful accessories that attach to the fence.

Safety is never a dead horse.

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Snip

Actually you need to ammend that comment. That is true only if you are making a through cut resulting in 2 pieces. If you are cutting a rabbet on the end of the piece and use the fence as as index to establish the length of the rabbit you will be fine using the fence and miter gauge at the same time.
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Leon wrote:

No, I don't.

No, you won't. The piece can still get crossed up and instead of just getting a cut-off end tossed at you you get the whole workpiece tossed at you. If you look on page 65 in "The Table Saw Book" you will find a demonstration of just this occurring.
The one cut where it's safe to work with the fence and miter gage at the same time cutting a rabbet in one pass where there is no stock between the blade and the fence. One can stretch that a tiny bit if the piece between blade and fence is thin enough to reliably break off rather than tossing the whole lump of stock at you.
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SNIP
Yeah, that was what I was saying. The stock can touch the fence and the miter gauge and in one pass create a rabbit with no danger of anything getting caught between the blade and the fence. If you need a rabbet that is longer than the thickness of the dado set you simply start with the stock being cut at the end and work your way towards the fence. I was simply pointing out that it is not always trouble as you had inferred for the stock to touch the miter gauge and the fence. And you basically repeated my comment in the above paragraph.
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I'm pretty sure I've got it now. So in the situation I described at first, the block will keeps the stock furthest from the fence from being thrown back at the sawyer. And since a rabbet is being cut, there is not problem of using both a mitre gauge and the fence at the same time. Whew!!! Please correct me if necessary. I may never make an "End lap on the table saw", but these principles/lessons are (obviously) very valuable!
Thank you! Bill
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Snip

Yeah Bill, the "block" is used as a stop block attached to the fence. You absolutely do not want a loose piece of wood to become trapped between the blade and the fence. The block off sets the fence so that there is clearance between the fence and the blade equal to the size of the block. You still have to be careful as the loose piece could spin around so if practicle the block should be larger than the cut off piece, width and length, between the fence and the blade.
When cutting a rabbet or half lap you really don't have any loose pieces so a block is not necessary if done correctly. You should always start on the end of the stock and work it towards the fence when cutting these type joints.
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It suddenly occurred to me that I Own a copy of that book. If you look at the diagram in Step 2, you'll see what everyone else has been talking about - the cut portion of the stock cannot get wedged between the blade and the fence.
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In Step 2, they are just positioning the fence. I believe Step 3 is the one that has been under discussion. I think the author should have provided a top view instead.
One of the things I like about the book is that it makes me think, but it left me with too many unanswered questions in this example. The book includes a lot of interesting "asides". It's a nice little book. I picked it up for less than the price of a copy of FWW at the newstand. I'm expecting a little more from (Taunton's) Complete Illustrated Guide To Joinery. I had a chance to buy it at my local used book store, and they had 3 copies, but when I went back to get one they were all gone, so I picked up this book instead. It has advanced my knowledge of joinery quite a bit--for any folks that may at this point know less about it than I do, the central theme is that glueing end grain doesn't work, and cross-glueing long grain surfaces does not produce the same strength as glueing parallel long grain surfaces. One should also try to take into account the direction of the rings (since wood is not stable). It's interesting stuff.
Bill
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Look at step 2 as a top view. Slide something over the fence in the diagram.

Been a while since I've looked at and it has now made it to my night stand again!

Bummer!
Everybody knows less than they think they do.

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Yes, that diagram makes good sense in retrospect... I still feel that the author "pulled a fast one" in Step 3 (as evidenced by this thread).
Best, Bill
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http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/KickBack/KickBack2A.html
Might want to start here and go thru the following pages about that thing you don't want to experience.
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/KickBack/KickBack1.html
What you don't know CAN hurt you.
charlie b
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Actually, the second page illustrated the answer to my question... that I didn't ask. A splitter is just a straight piece of metal, while a riving knife moves up and down with the blade, following its contour.
Puckdropper
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wrote:

Might want to check the table saw, fence ect. Yes I do belive I will.
Thanks Charlie.
Mark
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No problem. Glad you found the info potentially useful. And if there's something that's not clear, or that I've overlooked PLEASE let me know so I can improve what's there now and fill any gaps I might have left. That way the next guy may benefit.
charlie b
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