I need to take about the width of my kerf from a 3' 1x4" piece of maple. I
don't have a jointer, so I thought the TS was my next best option. I had
the fence all lined up and a featherboard in place, but then remembered
reading that ripping very thin slices with a TS is unsafe. A friend that
does woodwork thought it would be ok.
Another thought was to just sand it off, but I think it would take a while
to get an accurate, straight edge. I just bought a router also, but I have
very little experience with it.
What would be a reasonably safe way to cut the wood accurately?
There's probably all sorts of theoretical reasons why loading the blade in
an asymmetric way (i.e. not burried in wood on both sides) is a bad thing.
That being said, I do it all the time and never have any problem.
Since there's only going to be 4" between the blade and the fence, you
won't have room to push it through by hand. Use a push stick.
I have a jointer, but I prefer to use the TS for such fine "adjustments".
I believe the unsafe aspect is when the blade is close to the fence, such
that the slice can be caught. In your case you have almost 3in of wood
between the blade and fence. Using a push stick this should not be a
Having a shape blade is highly recommended otherwise the blade could flex
slightly and not leave the smooth edge you desire.
I use my TS to remove cuts much smaller that the kerf when I am making final
adjustments to get pieces to fit.
I take off small widths using a table saw. A three-foot square piece
should not be a safety concern. Asking if this procedure is safe is
a very good part of overall safety. I think a table saw is safer
than a router, although personally I have much more experience with a
You're fine using the tablesaw.
Anyone remember the Delta Uniplane? Now, that's a machine designed
specifically for such an operation... just wish I could buy a new one,
as Delta hasn't made that machine in about 20-years! :)
Steve W wrote:
I agree that you're OK using the TS and I simply don't see a problem.
Set the fence so the wide part of the board is against it and positioned
so the blade will rip off just what you want. Set the blade height to
just a bit above the surface of the board and use a good push stick.
Maintain full control of the board all the way thru the rip. I do it
all the time and have been for years. It's never even occurred to me
that there might even be a problem doing this.
That all said, however, I am VERY leery of making narrow rips when the
narrow piece would be next to the fence. That is something I avoid as I
see potential for the piece binding, breaking, splintering, or whatever
and coming back my way.
A need for multiple narrow slabs of wood equal thicknesses led to my
making a "pushing jig" about 18" long using 1/4" Baltic birch that
rides the rip fence. Small scrap glued to the trailing edge pushes
the wood through. A handle glued to the top makes pushing both
forward and down on the leading edge effective.
It's done all the time. Just stay out of the line of the blade. thin
shavings have a tendency to drop down the insert opening and then get
thrown back out, but always in the line of the blade. Not big enough
to do any damage, but wear (as you always should) your safety glasses.
Also a zero clearance insert helps control that tendency.
The easy alternative is to shave off less then the width of the kerf and cut
several times until the desired amount is removed. All that will be thrown
up is sawdust. It's only when there's a solid slice somewhere adjacent to
the blade that something dangerous can be thrown back.
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