Why put fence on the right side on table saw? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 31Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 31
View Yamster's Photo Album My Photos
Why put fence on the right side on table saw?

Hello~

A simple question, why do we always put the rip fence on the right side of the saw blade?

I've watched hundreds of YouTube videos, and I have not seen any video in which the guy's cutting wood with the rip fence on the left side of the blade! Well, there actually were a couple of videos, but those were not type of cuts where the saw blade was protruding through the wood, i.e. dado cuts or rabbit cuts.

I think using the table saw with the rip fence left side of the blade will be a little bit safer. Since I try not to stay directly behind the space between the blade and the fence (unless I have to, like cutting a wide plywood sheet) I usually keep my body left side of the blade. Being right handed, it's a bit awkward to keep my body on the right side of the blade and fence because that way, I would really have to reach in to use my dominant arm.

If I keep the fence on left side of the blade, I can keep my body along with the fence. I can use my right arm to push the wood through, while keeping it tight against the fence, without having to reach over the spinning blade(!) to complete the cut like I normally have to with conventional rip fence and my body orientation.

Is there actually a reason that we MUST keep the rip fence right side of the blade?? The only situation when this can be unsafe I can think of is when making a cut with the blade tilted. As the most of modern table saws tilt the blade to left, if we put the fence on the left then I can cause some jam. However, other than that, what would be a problem?

There's an added benefit for doing this for me; with this new fence location I would be able to use my magnetic jointer finger board on my cast iron table saw top! :smile3:

If I had enough guts, I would've actually tried it out to see how it worked out. But since I am always intimidated by these power tools, especially likes of table saw, I thought I should ask around first.

Have a nice day!

Last edited by Yamster; 02-05-2016 at 11:56 AM.
Yamster is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 12:06 PM
Senior Member
 
Jig_saw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 857
View Jig_saw's Photo Album My Photos
my simple answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamster View Post
Hello~

A simple question, why do we always put the rip fence on the right side of the saw blade?


Because most people are right handed and it is easier to guide the workpiece against the fence with the right hand.


Be safe!
Gatordust likes this.
Jig_saw is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Jig_saw For This Useful Post:
MT Stringer (02-05-2016)
post #3 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 12:18 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,986
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
There is no reason the fence can't be put on the left side. It might take some bit of work to get the fence system and table extension on the left side but if it would feel more comfortable to you it would be safer. If others are using your saw though you better leave it alone.
Steve Neul is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Steve Neul For This Useful Post:
OnealWoodworking (02-05-2016)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 12:26 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Pensacola, Fl
Posts: 1
View oldbaldy's Photo Album My Photos
like a lot of things in life it is just how you started doing it or were taught by others -- Do what feels most natural to you within the guidelines of shop safety
sawdust703 likes this.
oldbaldy is offline  
post #5 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 12:36 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 4,984
View FrankC's Photo Album My Photos
Depends if you have a left or right hand tilting blade.

When you make a angled cut with a left tilting blade with the fence on the right the cut off part is above the blade so is not trapped, with a right tilt saw and a fence on the right side the cut off piece will be trapped under the blade and against the fence which could result in a kickback.
sawdust703 likes this.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius
FrankC
http://sawdustmaking.com
FrankC is online now  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to FrankC For This Useful Post:
mdntrdr (02-14-2016), sawdust703 (02-14-2016)
post #6 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 01:23 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,449
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
You can put the fence wherever .....

You can, as you have proposed, locate the fence on the left side of the blade, just don't tilt the blade.

What concerned me is this statement:

If I keep the fence on left side of the blade, I can keep my body along with the fence. I can use my right arm to push the wood through, while keeping it tight against the fence, without having to reach over the spinning blade(!) to complete the cut like I normally have to with conventional rip fence and my body orientation.

You should never reach over a spinning blade. Period.

If you normally use a splitter, it will help keep the wood registered against the fence. If you don't you may have a problem, just using your right hand trying to push forward and in toward the fence simultaneously. It's easier to push away than in. The human factor becomes important here. If you allow the work to come off the fence, just one time, for an instant, you will have a kickback. With your body positioned to the left and behind you may avoid any injury, BUT I wouldn't do it for those reasons.

It sounds like you are so concerned with a potential kickback that you are creating an condition where if you used your splitter and the fence on the right side, those potential problems would go away, at least that's what I have experienced. You should never have your hands in direct line with the plane of the blade... if possible .... and when necessary never less than 3" from the blade or where the insert is... it's painted red for a reason! Always use a push stick or shoe when ripping narrow pieces. A push shoe is better because you can also press down as well as forward.

I liked your question and it was very well explained.
sawdust703 likes this.

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; 02-05-2016 at 01:40 PM. Reason: typo
woodnthings is online now  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to woodnthings For This Useful Post:
Gatordust (02-15-2016), mdntrdr (02-14-2016), sawdust703 (02-14-2016)
post #7 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 01:35 PM
Wood machinist
 
difalkner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NW Louisiana
Posts: 3,288
View difalkner's Photo Album My Photos
Another thing comes to mind for me and the way I use my push stick/shoe; with my fence on the right and pushing stock through, my right thumb is toward the blade and I can see everything in good plain sight. If I were to cut on the right side of the fence instead of the left and also keep my body left of the fence, and because I'm right-handed, I would still see my thumb but I would now have 4 knuckles partially hidden from my view and, depending on how small the cut width and stock thickness, riding much closer to the blade than I would like.


I can see where on very rare occasions it might be beneficial to put the fence on the left side of the blade but I'll be keeping mine on the right side.
sawdust703 likes this.

David

Curly Wood Shop on Etsy
David Falkner - Woodworking YouTube channel
Our music at church - current videos Airline Baptist BC Facebook Live
Romans 3:23
difalkner is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to difalkner For This Useful Post:
sawdust703 (02-14-2016)
post #8 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 03:37 PM
Senior Member
 
Jig_saw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 857
View Jig_saw's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jig_saw View Post
Because most people are right handed and it is easier to guide the workpiece against the fence with the right hand.


Be safe!


... Plus I would like to see my fingers and the blade clearly at all times, which is not possible when I am standing on the left of the fence and the blade is on its right.
sawdust703 likes this.
Jig_saw is offline  
post #9 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 04:23 PM
Senior Member
 
Chamfer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Mechanicsville, VA
Posts: 1,448
View Chamfer's Photo Album My Photos
Left tilt saw fence to the right of the blade, right tilt saw fence to the left of the blade. There many reasons why you don't want the blade pointed towards the fence on a bevel cut.

I suppose on a straight cut you put it on either side but I'd wager that most would agree it's more ergonomic to push material against the fence than to try and pull it.
Gatordust likes this.

Last edited by Chamfer; 02-05-2016 at 06:06 PM.
Chamfer is offline  
post #10 of 77 Old 02-05-2016, 05:59 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 4,984
View FrankC's Photo Album My Photos
In any industry there is what are known as common practices, so when you see things habitually being done in a certain way there is often a good reason that has stood the test of time. It is probably the safest and most efficient way of doing it.

As has been mentioned it only really matters when cutting a bevel, but if you have the fence over on the left side with with a left tilt blade chances are that there will come a time when to save a couple minutes you will make a bevel cut and trap the off cut resulting in a kick back. Accidents rarely happen, there is usually a cause.
sawdust703 likes this.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius
FrankC
http://sawdustmaking.com
FrankC is online now  
post #11 of 77 Old 02-09-2016, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 31
View Yamster's Photo Album My Photos
Thank you all for your replies.

While reading the responses, I realized that how to saw the wood - whether the fence on the left or right side - would greatly depend on the shape, thickness, and size of the wood, as well as a type of push stick/gear to use. Well, that really shouldn't be a surprise.

Even though I figured keeping the fence on left would make more sense for the most of the cuts I make, I guess there could be some situation doing so would be less favorable, too, as some of you pointed out.

This got me to think about the safety one more time, so I think it's cool. I saw some tips and advice regarding safety, which I appreciate and will definitely try to remember.

Well, at least it seems like there is no inherent danger of using the saw with the fence to the left of the blade, as long as I play it safe (which is something I should do even when I have the fence to the right side anyway). After all, I guess there indeed was a reason that the right of the rip fence was as smooth as the other side; it's meant to be used :)

Have a nice day!
sawdust703 likes this.
Yamster is offline  
post #12 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 12:39 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 4,984
View FrankC's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamster View Post
snip

Well, at least it seems like there is no inherent danger of using the saw with the fence to the left of the blade, as long as I play it safe (which is something I should do even when I have the fence to the right side anyway). After all, I guess there indeed was a reason that the right of the rip fence was as smooth as the other side; it's meant to be used :)

Have a nice day!
If you go back and read the previous posts there are inherent dangers, however if you want to ignore them that is up to you.
sawdust703 likes this.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius
FrankC
http://sawdustmaking.com
FrankC is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to FrankC For This Useful Post:
sawdust703 (02-14-2016)
post #13 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 01:05 PM
Senior Member
 
toolguy1000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: westchester cnty, ny
Posts: 1,302
View toolguy1000's Photo Album My Photos
does the blade tilt to the right or to the left?

there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.
toolguy1000 is offline  
post #14 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 01:11 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,986
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
I think all that really matters is if a person is right handed or left handed. Any way a person can operate a saw right handed could be just reversed for the left handed person. As far as the right or left tilt, I've had both and could care less which way the blade tilts.
sawdust703 likes this.
Steve Neul is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Steve Neul For This Useful Post:
sawdust703 (02-14-2016)
post #15 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 01:18 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,449
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
"handedness" comes into play here

A right handed operator can push the work into the fence on the right side of the blade, as well as pushing it along into the blade while standing to the left of the blade.

A left handed operator standing to the right of the blade with a fence on the left side of the blade can do the same.

A right handed operator can NOT pull the work into the fence when it's on the left, there is no control this way. You would have to stand to the right and push in and forward, crossing over your other arm... not ergonomically easy.

So, right handed operators will have better and safer results by having the fence on the right. When you don't have full control of the work, you will have a kickback eventually.

This is true in all cases and does not address the potential of tilting the saw for a bevel, into the fence, trapping the work:



sawdust703 likes this.

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)
woodnthings is online now  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to woodnthings For This Useful Post:
mdntrdr (02-14-2016), sawdust703 (02-14-2016)
post #16 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 05:07 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southeastern NH
Posts: 38
View hts1965's Photo Album My Photos
I use my saw both ways. Usually if I am cutting a 45 for a miter I put it on the side that cuts with the long point up, because that makes the cleanest finish cut.
sawdust703 likes this.
hts1965 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to hts1965 For This Useful Post:
GROOVY (02-18-2016)
post #17 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 08:44 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Garland, TX
Posts: 4,232
View Toolman50's Photo Album My Photos
Since the majority of us are right handed, most things made for lefties cost more. This includes saws, shotguns, baseball gloves Etc. I know this first hand because my son is left handed and I have two left handed grandkids.
You can buy Skil Saws in either right or left.
Toolman50 is offline  
post #18 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 09:00 PM
Senior Member
 
OnealWoodworking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,128
View OnealWoodworking's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
You can buy Skil Saws in either right or left.
That is NOT because they care about left handed people friend...
sawdust703 likes this.
OnealWoodworking is offline  
post #19 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 09:15 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Garland, TX
Posts: 4,232
View Toolman50's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnealWoodworking View Post
That is NOT because they care about left handed people friend...
Please explain. If not for lefties, why?
Toolman50 is offline  
post #20 of 77 Old 02-11-2016, 09:54 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 25,449
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
I'm a righty, but I like a lefty

When the blade is on the left side of the saw, a right handed person can more easily see the blade and the cut line. Not so with a right bladed saw where you have to lean over the saw and to see the cut line. If you use the marked plate on the shoe and just track the line with that, then it's a lot easier. Two of my battery powered saws have the blade on the left, Dewalt and Milwaukee, but the Rigid is a right blade. The older Porter Cable and Skil corded saws have the blade on the right and as a result I rarely use them any longer, and besides the battery saws are so much handier with no cord to get in the way.

The worm drive saws are left bladed. Go figure....

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; 02-11-2016 at 11:07 PM.
woodnthings is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build Your Own Router Table treewok2512 Power Tools & Machinery 23 09-16-2018 12:47 PM
Missing Craftsman Table Saw Rip Fence Shoe thedaveb Power Tools & Machinery 10 07-11-2018 03:29 PM
Wixey Table Saw Fence DRO epicfail48 Tool Reviews 17 04-11-2017 12:42 PM
Wolfcraft 6157 router table. dbhost Tool Reviews 2 10-02-2015 07:22 PM
Way to attach router fence to Table Saw Fence joe1871 Tips, Tricks, & Homemade Jigs 4 09-24-2015 01:19 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome