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.
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