Smallest Safe Rip Cut on Table Saw? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Smallest Safe Rip Cut on Table Saw?

Hi everyone, I'm very new to woodworking, and my in-laws got a Dewalt table saw for me. What is the smallest rip cut I can safely make on this? I wanted to rip 1/16 off of 2x4s in order to make their sides close to flush, then plane the sides. Would this be safe? Should I just plane the 1/16 off and forget about using the table saw for the sides? Thanks
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 01:31 PM
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Safety depends on the length, not the width ...

You can safely rip any width you need as long as the length is well supported against the fence, typically no less than 10" long. The cut off will fall harmlessly to the left of the blade no matter how wide it is from virtually zero to 3" on a 2 x 4.

The issue is ... how far from the blade should you/can you set the fence? For safety, you should never put your hand or fingers between the blade and fence unless there is about 6" of space, anything less requires a "push block".

Push "sticks" are NOT my preferred way of pushing material between the blade and fence UNLESS there is only 1/2" or less. A sacrificial push block is one where you cut right into the stop shoe as it passes over the blade for narrow rips. Make several of these best/easiest push DIY block:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-29-2020 at 01:49 PM.
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 01:38 PM
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Google GRIPPER-RIPPER. It is a real good tool to use when ripping on the table saw. It will keep your hands away from the blade and secure the piece you are ripping.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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I just realized that I totally misspoke in my original post. This isn't a 2x4, it's a 2x8.

Last edited by Jared Opoien; 06-29-2020 at 02:06 PM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:45 PM
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What you're trying to do isn't really a good practice. You need a jointed edge against the fence to safely rip a board. How you get that straight edge varies from straight ripping jigs, to a jointer. I would also mention not only an edge, but a face, reason being if there is a twist in the board, this can cause binding.

But most important, when you're ripping a board if it starts to bind or the motor slows down, STOP the cut, turn off the motor and look at your lumber. Never try to force a board through a cut this is a good way to get hurt.

It is a good practice is to examine a board for straightness, twist and knots before making the cut.

Robert

Last edited by DrRobert; 06-29-2020 at 02:50 PM.
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 03:11 PM
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No difference in the safety of the operation ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared Opoien View Post
I just realized that I totally misspoke in my original post. This isn't a 2x4, it's a 2x8.



Many folks have done this to get rid of the rounded corners on construction lumber 2 x 4's, 2 X 6's 2 X 8's etc ... for a glue up on a workbench top.


With longer pieces, 3 to 8 ft, the safety issue is minimized, but the potential for binding is still possible UNLESS you have a splitter or riving knife. That will very much reduce the possibility, BUT wood still has hidden tension within it it, so be cautious. For years I did NOT use my splitters, and then I found out what they did to prevent kickback and I've used them ever since! Here's why..... The splitter is a thin plate mounted behind the blade and does not permit the workpiece to move away from the fence, except a tiny amount, not enough for it to jump over on top of the blade and be thrown back at you. Riving knives are more modern splitters that will adjust for height as you raise or lower the blade.


For some rip cuts it's best to make your pass half way down the length, then flip the board end for end keeping the same edge against the fence and make a second complete pass. Wood with internal stresses benefit from this approach and won't bind nearly as easily. It's also safer since your hands are much further from the blade. Any offset can be hand planed or jointed off afterwards.

For very curved boards, a table saw rip jig is much faster than a jointer. I made this 8 ft jig and another 5 ft long for putting a straight edge on some really curved boards, and I had a bunch of them to do. It would have taken forever using my jointer:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/s...ig-used-29290/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-29-2020 at 03:27 PM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! Very helpful
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-30-2020, 07:24 AM
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Always have the wider part of the board against the fence. The reverse many times has the narrow offcut being launched like an arrow. Also go practice to never stand in line with the fence, so that the arrow misses you if it does happen.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-30-2020, 07:33 AM
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I regularly take just a shaving off an edge when I'm creeping up on a snug fit for some project. A 'shaving' being anywhere from just the faintest of a cut - a few thousandths - to a blade width. It's safe and the easiest way to take a measured amount off. Sometimes I use my jointer for the same task but more often it's the table saw that gets used for this.

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post #10 of 14 Old 06-30-2020, 08:57 AM
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You can't always does this......

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducbsa View Post
Always have the wider part of the board against the fence. The reverse many times has the narrow offcut being launched like an arrow. Also go practice to never stand in line with the fence, so that the arrow misses you if it does happen.

For making repetitive narrow rips it's just not always possible.

I just ripped 24 pieces 1/2" wide from some PT 1" X 6"s for tomato stakes. Not a single one fired back at me. When that happens, it may be that the fence is not parallel with blade and may be angled inward at the rear causing friction which grabs the piece and propels it back at you. It may also be "reaction" wood where it warps out and away from the fence, to cause the same issue....

Yes, I have a thin rip guide, but I don't like moving the fence each time when I don't have to. When making multiples, I use the workpiece to push the narrow piece all the way past the blade and they end up falling off the off feed table on to the shop floor as I make several passes. But that's OK, I just go around and pick them all up when I'm done. For the very last piece, I do use a thin push stick, 1/4" or so, to get them past the blade and the splitter plate, which is perfectly safe in my experience.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-30-2020 at 09:44 AM.
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-30-2020, 01:19 PM
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For certain cuts where the fence is closer to the blade, I use this push block:
https://www.rockler.com/bench-dog-push-loc

The reasons I like it are:

* The offset handle keeps my hand away from the blade and allows me to position my body away from the "kickback zone."
* It is a mere 3/8 inch wide.
* It presses down on the workpiece.
* It has a rubberized bottom for better control.
* It has a "tail."
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post #12 of 14 Old 06-30-2020, 01:39 PM
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my one bad experience with plastic push sticks / plastic anything near the blade convinced me to throw them all away.
the plastic is much much tougher than wood - a saw blade will throw a plastic stick 5-10 times harder than wood. when the un-intended happens, at least the wood absorbs a lot of the kickback energy. popular is my fav for the job.

for thin strips between the blade and fence, make a sacrificial push shoe. when the end block gets too chewed up, just slice it off and glue a new one on.
same with the sole plate. methinks every shop has sufficient scraps about to make a couple....
Smallest Safe Rip Cut on Table Saw?-img_0916.jpg
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-30-2020, 09:03 PM
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For thin rips you should have a zero clearance face plate
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-01-2020, 05:28 AM
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You are correct, but I would still stand to the side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
For making repetitive narrow rips it's just not always possible.

I just ripped 24 pieces 1/2" wide from some PT 1" X 6"s for tomato stakes. Not a single one fired back at me. When that happens, it may be that the fence is not parallel with blade and may be angled inward at the rear causing friction which grabs the piece and propels it back at you. It may also be "reaction" wood where it warps out and away from the fence, to cause the same issue....

Yes, I have a thin rip guide, but I don't like moving the fence each time when I don't have to. When making multiples, I use the workpiece to push the narrow piece all the way past the blade and they end up falling off the off feed table on to the shop floor as I make several passes. But that's OK, I just go around and pick them all up when I'm done. For the very last piece, I do use a thin push stick, 1/4" or so, to get them past the blade and the splitter plate, which is perfectly safe in my experience.

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