Safe Ripping Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-17-2019, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Safe Ripping Question

When watching YouTube videos of woodworkers ripping a piece of wood sometimes the work piece is next to the fence and sometimes it's on the left side of the blade. It doesn't appear to be based on the width of the desired work piece. I always thought you wanted the widest part of the piece of wood you are ripping riding against the fence. What then is the safest way to rip a board? Thanks, BillF

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post #2 of 30 Old 12-17-2019, 08:00 PM
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The cutoff is on the left of the blade......

To control the width of the workpiece, you set the fence over from the blade to the right. The off fall or cutoff, is on the left side of the blade. Once you make that pass or rip, that's it, there's no putting wood back on so your measurement must be accurate. The cutoff is what remains after the pass.

It is really NOT a safety issue, but an accuracy one. By ripping the workpiece between the blade and the fence you are also assured the piece will have parallel edges, also an accuracy issue. I recommend using a splitter or riving knife at all times when ripping, plywood or hardwood, it doesn't matter. You must maintain the workpiece all along the fence during the pass or it will rotate and spin up and over the blade and kick back at you.
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-18-2019, 10:30 AM
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Can you stand off to the side in case of kick-back? Widest part against the fence, as mentioned. Use push sticks, too.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.

Last edited by Pineknot_86; 12-18-2019 at 10:35 AM.
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-18-2019, 10:40 AM
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Agree in general. If the piece I am cutting to get is much smaller than the entire board I may place the widest part of the board against the fence. But, as stated the most accurate cut is that between the fence and blade.


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post #5 of 30 Old 12-18-2019, 11:04 AM
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If:


1. lumber flat and straight
2. saw is aligned correctly
3. saw has a riving knife or splitter
4. you are using push blocks/sticks


Then its not an issue.
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-18-2019, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Once again I know I can get accurate, safety type answers here, thanks to all. BillF

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post #7 of 30 Old 12-18-2019, 04:42 PM
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Ripping narrow piece from a wider one ......

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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
When watching YouTube videos of woodworkers ripping a piece of wood sometimes the work piece is next to the fence and sometimes it's on the left side of the blade. It doesn't appear to be based on the width of the desired work piece. I always thought you wanted the widest part of the piece of wood you are ripping riding against the fence. What then is the safest way to rip a board? Thanks, BillF

It is again, it's about accuracy and repetition. When I need a bunch of narrow strips say 1/4" wide, I set my fence over to 1/4" and using a push shoe, push the stock all the way through behind the blade. The push shoe must be narrow enough to clear between the splitter on my saw and the fence. When there is no splitter sticking up higher than the blade, you can use a "sacrifial" push shoe and saw right through the leg that hangs down on the end, who cares?

Yes, it will eventually get chewed up enough that you'll need to glue a new block on the end, who cares?


On the other hand, there is a device called a "thin rip jig" which I've also used: https://www.rockler.com/thin-rip-tablesaw-jig
This device works opposite from the above method in that the thin strip ends up on the left side of the blade and the wide part of the stock is between the blade and the fence:

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)
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
On the other hand, there is a device called a "thin rip jig" which I've also used: https://www.rockler.com/thin-rip-tablesaw-jig
This device works opposite from the above method in that the thin strip ends up on the left side of the blade and the wide part of the stock is between the blade and the fence:
Hmmm... That looks like a very handy jig, and not too terribly expensive for what it is/does.

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post #9 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 10:33 AM
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I have one of the Rockler Thin Rip jigs. I use it, but it isn't perfect:

It doesn't extend far enough for jobsite table saws. The miter slots on jobsite saws are farther from the blade than contractor or cabinet saws. The result is that the Rockler Thin Rip jig won't extend far enough, so you are limited to "thick" strips about 1/4 or 3/8 inch or wider. I know that this issue applied to my old Bosch REAXX and the old SawStop jobsite saws. I suspect that it also applies to many other jobsite saws as well. I have not seen this issue with the SawStop cabinet saw - the miter slot is closer to the blade.

Setting the pressure consistently can be tricky, and you can get inconsistent results unless you practice a little first. The fence on the SawStop tightens differently than the old Bosch jobsite saw, and it can put too much pressure on the Thin Rip wheel unless I pay attention. When there is too much pressure, the wood feels like it is binding as you push it into the blade.
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post #10 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the comments, Tool Agnostic. I had just placed an order for one at Rockler before reading them, but I think I would have anyway. I have ripped very thin strips on my TS before, and it's always been a scary proposition. Your caveats aside (and I would practice with it, first, in any event): This seems like a wise investment.

Btw: It's on sale at Rockler right now for 30% off. That means tool + economy shipping is less than the tool, itself, normally is.
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post #11 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Wouldn't the Micro Jig feather board work exactly the same and work on all saws that have a cast iron top? I just got one and it seems like it would.

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post #12 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 03:55 PM
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there is some "finesse" required.....

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Originally Posted by SEMIJim View Post
Thanks for the comments, Tool Agnostic. I had just placed an order for one at Rockler before reading them, but I think I would have anyway. I have ripped very thin strips on my TS before, and it's always been a scary proposition. Your caveats aside (and I would practice with it, first, in any event): This seems like a wise investment.

Btw: It's on sale at Rockler right now for 30% off. That means tool + economy shipping is less than the tool, itself, normally is.

Relocating the fence each time you make a pass with just the correct pressure against the wheel is the issue. The strips will come out within a few thou regardless. The other solution is the try to pass the strips between the blade and the left side of the fence as you would making normal rips, but this way has other issues..... the pieces want to shoot back at you, you need a narrow or consumable push shoe. etc.


If you do need a considerable number of narrow strips, why not make as long a rip as possible from one long length of stock, THEN cut the strips to shorter lengths? Back when I was in HS, around 1960, we made 1/4" to the foot scale models of framed houses in Architecture class. The woodshop teacher Mr. Brown, would always have a slew of 2" x 4" studs about 7" long ready to build with. He used the table saw to make them, from a large block of white Pine, but I have no idea how he did it. It was probably dangerous and that's why he did it, not us students.

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)
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post #13 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 04:10 PM
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You can easily make your own thin rip jig. I bought the Rockler one a long time ago, before I had seen one from Woodsmith. I would probably build my own today. FYI, I just did a web search for "woodsmith thin rip jig" to find these links:

https://cdn.woodsmith.com/files/issu...ipping-jig.pdf

I like this one because you don't have to adjust the fence each time:
https://www.woodsmith.com/article/si...r-thin-strips/

This one has a bearing, kinda' like the wheel on the Rockler Thin Rip Jig. I think I could figure this one out on my own, without paying for commercial plans:
https://www.woodsmithplans.com/plan/...w-ripping-jig/

A "micro-adjustable" one. I don't like the photo showing a hand pushing a small block towards a table saw blade. If nothing else, it sets a bad example:
https://www.woodsmith.com/article/mi...t-ripping-jig/

Keep in mind that I searched for "wordsmith" because that's what I remembered seeing before. I bet you can find lots more designs from other sources.
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post #14 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 06:54 PM
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I liked it also!

This one:
I like this one because you don't have to adjust the fence each time:
https://www.woodsmith.com/article/si...r-thin-strips/
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post #15 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 07:23 PM
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Thanks Tool agnostic...I'll check out a couple of those jigs. I always just use a feather board. And rarely cuts much less than 1/2"

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post #16 of 30 Old 12-19-2019, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Relocating the fence each time you make a pass with just the correct pressure against the wheel is the issue. The strips will come out within a few thou regardless.
Which is adequate for my purposes.

I do woodworking, of a sort, but nothing remotely close to fine woodworking such as cabinetry, furniture and the like. So "a few thou" is fine for my purposes.

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post #17 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
Can you stand off to the side in case of kick-back? Widest part against the fence, as mentioned. Use push sticks, too.
If one is overly concerned about kickback, maybe one shouldn't try a complicated procedure. I get all bent out of shape when people say stand to the left....
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post #18 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob A Villal View Post
If one is overly concerned about kickback, maybe one shouldn't try a complicated procedure. I get all bent out of shape when people say stand to the left....
Obviously you have never had a kickback so bad it drew blood. But you want to stand in the line of fire, have at it.

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post #19 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 11:10 PM
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Obviously you have never had a kickback so bad it drew blood. But you want to stand in the line of fire, have at it.
I've given more blood to woodworking than most. I stand where I have the most control. If Im scared then the task isn't worth the chance of injury....learn to avoid problems without creating new ones.....Bob
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post #20 of 30 Old 01-18-2020, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
...........I get all bent out of shape when people say stand to the left....
I'm with this 100%
I can understand the logic in it, but I think it might be flawed.
I stand where I have the best balance, especially with large pieces passing through the blade. Sometimes this puts me in dead center of the blade. I think you are more likely to get kickback from being out of balance than purposely standing to the left.
When pushing the long stock through, especially plywood, it usually takes two hands with pretty much putting a little extra strength on the side that needs it most. Guiding the piece with both hands until just before the last of it passes through the blade. Oftentimes it puts me mostly on the right side of the blade.
In over 35 years of doing A LOT of woodworking, I have only had 3 kickbacks. Two times when I was pretty new and didn't have anyone to mentor me. One of those times, I got hit right dead center of my chest . It scared me when I couldn't breath for what seemed like a minute or so and very painful for about an hour. The last time was about maybe 12 years ago or so. That was when my push block took off to parts unknown. Happened in an instant. Found it later on about 40 feet or so away.
I will admit also that I never use a blade guard with riving knife. Too much trouble to keep putting it on and off when doing a lot of dado work. If I purchase a new saw in the future, that will change. Some of the newer saws have a simple lever to remove blade guard and re-insert it.
Anyway, that's my take on it.

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