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In this video, ( I think I link to the correct time, ~8:30) the guys starts to cut a piece of plywood on edge with the table saw. I'm looking at different options to make some rabbets in plywood. But standing plywood one edge like that would make me a little nervous. Do I just need a little practice and experience? Or is this just not safe?
 

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Cutting the plywood on the edge was fine. What I didn't think was safe was him using a stick for a push stick. If you ever get a kickback from a little stick like that you won't do it anymore. It will tear a chunk of skin out of the palm of your hand. It would have been better if he had made a notch in the bigger board he was brushing the panel with.
 

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In this video, ( I think I link to the correct time, ~8:30) the guys starts to cut a piece of plywood on edge with the table saw. I'm looking at different options to make some rabbets in plywood. But standing plywood one edge like that would make me a little nervous. Do I just need a little practice and experience? Or is this just not safe?
I do that all the time however I use a self made double feather board with a "riser" .

 

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Connecting two cuts to create a rabbet isn't the best way to go about it. You lose a lot of control with a large piece up on end and the results can be inconsistent. Maybe get lucky with one or two but not with a bunch. It's so much easier with either a router bit or dado blades that make the cut in one pass and set up. You can do the rabbet in a more controlled fashion and safer position. No worries that the two cuts match perfectly and you aren't limited by length of the work piece. You can also make stopped rabbets this way. Try that technique on a 12' long board or a board that is narrow, it doesn't make sense.

Some of us in the business make so many end and edge rabbets, we have dedicated hand held routers with a fence that is always set up just for this task. One 3/8" x 3/8" for cabinet back rabbets and one 1/4" x 3/4"+- for cabinet ends. Standard router base plates are often replaced with square or rectangular wood/plywood ones that a fence can easily be clamped or screwed to. Much cleaner cut with a router bit and you don't get the tearout you can cutting face down for the cheek cut or add the danger of scratching the work sliding across the saw table. The router fence can be shaped to follow curves and shapes, which can't be done with a straight cutting saw.

If anything makes you nervous, listen to your common sense. The technique isn't necessarily unsafe, just takes extra steps, extra care to get just right and any wiggle will show up on the work. Too many ifs for me.
 

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With a large piece of plywood like that it only takes a very small movement at the top to cause an error at the bottom.

If I just had to make that cut in that manner, I would use a universal jig that would hold the board steady. This would also eliminate the need for the tiny push stick.

However, as stated above I would prefer to use another technique for that cut.

George
 

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I watched the video, and what impressed me was that some people should not be making videos and posting them on YouTube. It seems that there must be some kind of excitement by seeing your own production. Must be the Norm wannabee weekend warrior syndrome.

Experience tells me what is safe, and the most efficient method for doing shop work. I agree with Hammer that routers set up for specific procedures could be the best, safest, and fastest way.

So, watching the guy make his first cut with the panel flat, he, IMO had his hand too close to the fence to afford the best control. He also removed his hand in the middle of the cut. There are many times that on long cuts, or inordinate size panels, you have to take a step or two to keep into the movement, and possibly changing hand positions. I think in this situation, his hand near the fence should have been a bit farther away.

He cut on the right side of the fence because he wasn't set up for cutting it on the left side. If you aren't comfortable with that arrangement, by all means take the time to create a support table for doing the work. Working with unfamiliar handling, can be a source of creating a hazardous situation.

When he completed the rabbet on the left side of the fence, he tried to control the standing piece with one hand. During that cut, you could hear the blade responding to the panel tipping even so slightly. And, as Steve pointed out, using a push stick like he did is asking for a hole in your hand.

I've done cuts like that but I control the panel with two hands. If necessary, configure a taller side to the fence to maintain its orientation throughout the cut. I rabbet drawer sides on the table saw, on the RAS, on the router table. Whichever method I use, I take the time to make sure that my procedure will be as safe as I can make it and produce the best joint.

If my response isn't to someone's liking, all I can say is that some explanations are better when they are very simply stated, in simple terms, minimizing how it can be misconstrued.






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nbo10 said:
In this video, ( I think I link to the correct time, ~8:30) the guys starts to cut a piece of plywood on edge with the table saw. I'm looking at different options to make some rabbets in plywood. But standing plywood one edge like that would make me a little nervous. Do I just need a little practice and experience? Or is this just not safe?
It's just wrong. Ignore the video and use a dado.
 

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There is one correct thing he did. Having the waste piece fall to the left not between the blade and fence. You can get goosed pretty hard if the waste was between the fence and blade, nothing to keep it from firing back.
 

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I agree with "Cabinetman" about adding a tall fence extension to the table saw fence to prevent the panel from tipping. I would use a feather board to keep constant pressure on the panel against the fence. Most panels have some amount of bow to them and the feather board will flatten that out.

I have a saying, "At some point you have to take the tool to the board, rather than taking the board to the tool." Once any piece becomes to big to handle safely or accurately, then it is time to lay it on a work surface and use hand tools to make the cuts.
 

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Let's throw $200 into the safety fray vs. an ER visit.

With a dado blade, that rabbet can be cut in one pass, safely.

If you noticed in the video around 8:00, as the cut was finished the off fall was trapped between the push stick and the blade. The off fall shot backward and the operator made some comments. (Inaudible) One has to wonder if the off fall struck the saw operator.

There are so many things that "CAN" be done in woodworking and someone with extensive experience can accomplish the cut without injury. However safety is an after thought in these types of operations.

I tend to agree with Mike in that some people should never be allowed to make videos.

There are woodworking operations that can be done in a much safer way. All it takes is a few dollars worth of equipment. Asking experienced woodworkers is always a good practice is you don't feel safe.
 

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where's my table saw?
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how about $2.00 ?

For about $2.00 worth of material you can build a tall fence, which is what will take a "questionable" procedure and make it safer.
The off fall issue is not a big deal in my opinion, but you do have to know what "may" happen to it. What is a big deal is keeping the tall panel perfectly vertical.
This is important for 2 reasons, it will insure a uniform cut and it will prevent the panel from tipping and getting kicked back. If tipped, it may bind on the blade, grab and get thrown back toward the operator.
Here's a tall fence proposal for the Biesemeyer style fences, but it will work on any rectangular fence:


Here's a You Tube of the same concept, but I don't like some of his procedures.
There is NO outfeed support and it's still possible for the panel to tip IF he doesn't apply inward pressure toward the fence. I would prefer a long board clamped to the left side of the blade with just a slight clearance for the panel thickness. No point in letting Murphy's Law come into play.

 

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If you were cutting the edge of some MDF or PTCLBD it would most likely be straight enough to cut it on edge like the video but if the material was warped at all, like most plywood is, the edge cut would be difficult to do accurately. A tall fence really would not help that much. You would have to set up a feather board to push the panel against the fence. Time wise you might be better off just putting the dado on.

When joining two panels of plywood together I'll sometimes cut a slot in the edge of each piece and insert a plywood spline and that's about the only time i run plywood on edge like that, and I use a feather board because the spline needs to be very accurate.

Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the opinions. It seems like a large panel would act like a long lever and it would be east to tip. Bret makes a good point that the ply isn't exactly flat, and a tall fence wont help.

Unfortunately, I don't have a dado blade to make these cuts, and the rabbet bit I have only cuts 1/2" deep.:no:
 

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where's my table saw?
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there are some issues but...

A tall fence will help prevent tipping. It won't help make the plywood flat, but is that an issue? There are safety issues and then there are quality issues.

Deal with the safety issues first and IF quality is a problem, just beware. Your situation "demands" that you use the saw as shown, so I would go ahead with it knowing what to watch for. Have an outfeed support, build a tall fence, use a feather board or other left side restraint, and just be cautious. :yes:
 

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Bret brought up a good point. If there is a question about the condition of the panels to be cut, and using a tall fence, don't use them. No matter how a dado or rabbet was machined, if the panel is warped or bowed to the point of not being a good panel to ride on a fence or tall fence, you may wind up with a problem joint. IMO, a tall fence will stabilize a tall panel that's worthwhile using.





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