Or a power feeder, or indeed a pushblock.
The only one I would use is a power feeder. Simply because it's the
only one that feeds the stock past it, rather than attaching to the
stock and passing along past the saw. This is particularly beneficial
when it avoids the problems of getting your push stick / block / cat
past a closely-fitting crown guard over the blade.
I'm not a fan of pushblocks. Compared to a push stick they have the
disadvantage of a shorter reach over a sawblade. The temptation is thus
to lower the blade when ripping thinner stock with a pushblock to gain
clearance and IMHO this is worse than any advantage gained from the
block. Kickback happens when a horizontal force is generated by the
sawblade and transmitted to the workpiece. One of the best ways to
avoid that is by using the section of blade where the teeth are
travelling vertically, not the uppermost chord where they're moving
I certainly use a shallow pushblock for rebating and certainly for
short pieces that get less control from the fence. I don't use them for
through rips though.
Personally I wouldn't do this idea at all. At most it doubles saw
throughput rather than tripling it (you can only make three at once if
the stock's already sawn to width). I can also saw another rip in thin
softwood nearly as quickly as I can stack the pieces coming off. It's
certainly quicker than single rips, but unless I was doing a huge
production run it's not enough to notice. If I were doing this on that
scale, then I'd have power feeders and assistants.
Agreed 100%- no reason why a stick has to be used. If I had a reason
to do something like this, I'd put a rabbet in the edge of a hunk of
2x4 that was as deep as the thickness of the wood and put a good
handle on it. If it still seemed a little squirrely, I'd toss a
featherboard on saw as well.
When I volunteered for the sawmill at the local thresheree a couple
years ago they had a two-bladed saw with one of the blades adjustable
side-to-side, that they used to saw slabs into boards with one pass.
Nifty little thing. Scary as hell, but it had its own power feed.
I don't see why you couldn't do the same thing with the table saw if
you set your blade height just a little higher than the board, and made
a sacrificial wooden pushpad with a nice high handle and grabby rubber
for a bottom, like an old mousepad or something like that. Or someone
else's mousepad. That would accomplish the same thing as a power feed,
You could put it on top of the board and just push it all the way
through the cut and all it would do is run some grooves into your
sacrificial push pad thingee.
I'd wonder if there was a way I could put splitters behind each blade
but I don't know if that would be mandatory of the pushpad was firmly
holding the wood as it went through the blades.
You could use this jig
to put 2 splitters in a zero clearance insert. Just be sure they are
parallel, or make the splitter farthest from the fence a single point,
like a small dowel. I'd add fingers on the back of the push block set
to push both pieces and the waste when the push block was against the fence.
While you can safely get away with this setup for non-through cuts ... i.e.
doing both sides of a tenon at once with a table saw tenoning jig ... you
are going for a rip, (a through cut) with four parts/pieces that need to be
continuously controlled, one in the front, and three on the back side of the
Despite the well meaning "maybe if you did this" advice, this is really
nothing to play around with on a stock table saw in a home shop.
Either make safety your first concern, which it should always be (and
attempting this operation with "pushsticks" alone is NOT doing that), or buy
a tool made for the job.
You may get away with it on a few rips, but with nothing else in your favor
it has the real potential to eventually bite, big time.
> You may get away with it on a few rips, but with nothing else in
> it has the real potential to eventually bite, big time.
Precisely why I made the 20 ft pole comment.
It is not a matter of "If", it's a matter of "When", it is going to
Boy! I am glad you said that. Considering that they sell aluminum magnetic
push sticks, I always thought I was just weird about being wary of using
anything metal near the spinning blade. Someone gave me one and I use it to
hold notes on he bulletin board. I understand that generally the push stick
is not supposed to contact the blade BUT in case it does, you now have a
metal projectile hurtling at you rather than a wooden one.
No thank you!
I dunno, Vic. ISTM that at that speed (approx 110mph) it doesn't make that
much difference whether it's aluminum or wood being hurled at you; it's going
to do damage and cause pain, regardless. Either way, it's not a Good Thing.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I was sawing thin strips one day. I forget why, but these were _really_
thin strips, in light pine. No more than 1/2" by 1/8"-maybe 1/4"
I knew they were going to kick back. Couldn't think how to avoid it, so
I decided to live with it. Just made sure I was well out of the firing
A few feet behind my saw (in my impossibly cluttered workshop) is a set
of steel shelves, on which was sitting a plastic toolbox. When one of
these strips decided it was time to take up the olympic javelin event,
it went straight for the toolbox -- and punched a hole clean through
the side. This wasn't some huge flying plank, it was a strip like a
long pencil and probably lighter, yet it had that much energy in it.
Concentrates the mind wonderfully, a lesson like that.
How long are the boards you're ripping? I routinely rip long boards
halfway, flip them end for end, and then finish the rip the other way.
Kick back is minimized, and control maximized since only half of the board
is past the blade and you don't need to release the board at any time.
The same technique might be used for your arrangement, although extracting
the piece between the blades without blade marks might be a challenge.
What you are making is a gang saw.
I think the extra safety setup required would defeat the benefits of
the extra cut.
You can make a holddown easily enough , and pull the work through from
the back is almost essential to avoid the middle stip getting thrown.
I built a jig to help rip 2 x 1 and 3 x 1 furring strips into 1/2"
strips , it was just a matter of pushing the wood through the jig and
pulling it out the back .
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