How To Rip Long Boards On Table Saw?

How to rip long boards on Table Saw

The ripping process on a table saw can be a part of your daily routine. Alternatively, this can be extremely dangerous if you try to underplay or ignore your safety issues. Accidents can also take place if you become unaware of the potential causes. Through this article, I’ll show you the most natural process of how to rip long boards on table saw.

For a smooth and safe cut, while ripping longboards, you need to be very cautious and make sure to check your board for any irregularity such as loose knots, cutting. Prepare yourself with one straight reference edge so that you can run against a fence with ease.

What are rip-cuts?

“Rip-cut” mainly refers to cutting a workpiece according to its length. In easy words, rip cuts help you divide wood pieces parallel to the grain. For instance, when you are building a door or window frame at your home, or you are installing flooring planks, you might cut the woods lengthwise so that it can fit the layout of a subfloor installation.

Why to use Table Saws for making Rip-Cuts?

Suppose you need cutting a longboard. In such a case, a table saw is a handy tool you can have. Table saws are specially designed for making long cuts with wood grains or shorter cuts. Ripping on table saws can be useful, but they are extremely dangerous. Make sure you employ some proper safety equipment with you.

Starting the ripping

You can get started with feather boards as they are handy for putting pressure ahead of the blade you are using. This will ensure cutting the boards within a straight line, consistently. One easy way is to use your left hand and consciously anchor that hand on the tabletop.

Through this, you can use the piece to slide along your fingers and thumb, so that it doesn’t move forward with the wood into the blade. We recommend using featherboards as they are safer to use, whereas a splinter can easily distract you while ripping.

If you wish to do normal rip cuts, one of the safest methods is to use a half-fence so that your workpiece doesn’t get bound between the fence line and the uplifting back teeth of the blade. You can use half-fences for your convenience as they are simple to use. Also, this decreases the amount of kickback danger as it allows for any contortion in the wood. With a reliable splitter and guard, you can be certain of the work safety.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly set up your table and make the cuts effectively without causing any injury. 

1. Adjust the board against the fence

Once you are prepared to rip a large commission on a table saw, you can use a roller stand for supporting the board. Then you need to adjust the wood against the fence and push the corner of the board so that the board fits tight against the wall throughout the cut.

Always remember, the blade spins from the front towards its back. If you are cutting and getting toward the end of the board, what you can do is you can apply an unequal pressure to your one side, and it will lessen the risk. On the other hand, unplug the saw whenever you perform a blade change or adjustment that puts your fingers close to the blade. Also, unplug the saw when you’re not using it.

2. Adjust the blade properly

Coming to your body positioning, you can stand to the left side of the blade. It is out of the “danger zone” between the blade and the fence. But, at first, make sure the blade is at the correct position at a reachable height for the cut.

blade positions while ripping long board with table saw
The blade should be placed so that it is just one tooth height above the depth of the board.

You should keep in mind that the height of the blade should be set to a tooth only above the depth of the wood that is being cut, and after the cut, wait until the blade comes to a complete stop before leaning over to pick up the wood.

3. Miter Gauge for Crosscutting 

Do not use a fence when you have determined to make a crosscut. If you do so, the wood will be stuck between the blade and the walls. Instead, you can use a miter gauge for crosscutting. Also, you can use a sacrificial fence for your ease and attach it to the miter gauge. This will help in keeping the board adjusted even during the cut.

4. Stay cautious

You never want to get hit by a board if it kicks back. Do you? One best way is to stand to the side of the blade while you’re cutting. This will help you stay away from the danger zone. Also, unplug the saw whenever you perform a blade change or adjustment.

5. Watch out for kickbacks

Kickback is one of the dangerous things that can happen, and it is responsible for injuring people while they perform rip-cutting operations on table saws. Kickback mainly happens when the work-piece gets stuck against the blade while the cutting is done.

The moment you need to be the most cautious is when the spinning blade throws the workpiece back in your direction at high speed. Maybe it can directly strike you in the stomach or chest. That’s why we highly recommend you remaining cautious and watch out for the kickbacks.

6. Make the Cut

A roller stand can help in supporting the board as you move through the ripping process. Set the roller and position it below the level of the wood. Also, make sure you have the roller stand in its proper place so that it can support the board at the time it gets separated. After you are done ripping, you need to wait until the blade comes to a complete stop.

7. Take the help of push sticks

As you are about to end your cutting process, your hands will get closer gradually to the saw blade. Now what you can do is, you can take the help of push sticks that will guide you to the end of the ripping process, but make sure that the push stick does not get slipped off of the work-piece.

If you are an absolute beginner in this task, one push stick isn’t enough. You’ll need more than one. One push stick is for pushing the lumber forward through the blade that you’ve installed, and the other push stick you’ll need to downpress the wood against the fence. To ensure a safe and effective rip cut, you need to put sufficient pressure on every reduction in the following three directions: forward, downward, and inward.

8. Wear safety glasses

For an added layer of security, you can wear safety glasses that will keep your eyes stay protected during the cuts. On the other hand, a dusk mask can support if you are sawing in a confined space.

Final words

The entire task of ripping longboards on a table saw seems to be an easy task, but ultimately it takes skill and useful practice to do the work with utmost perfection. Never be in a rush to perform the ripping process as it can lead you to invite danger. So that was a list of safety tips that will be extremely helpful for you and will save you a few miscut boards – or worse. Keeping in mind these safer rip cut processes will help you get better and smooth cuts. Good luck.

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