How Do You Cut a Rip on a Table Saw?


Table saws are one of the most versatile tools in a woodworker’s arsenal. A table saw is best suited for rip cuts because it offers the most control when cutting long boards. A rip cut is a sawing motion that runs along the wood grain.

To cut a rip on a table saw, ensure that your table saw blade is at the correct depth. Measure where you want your board to be cut and then mark it with a pencil or chalk line. Place your board on the table saw so it lines up with your marks and the saw fence before you can begin cutting.

A table saw leaves a straight edge on the board that is easy to work with and can be used for other projects like making crosscuts and miters. Read on to find out how to make the best rip cut on a table saw.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Rip-Cutting With a Table Saw

Here’s the step-by-step procedure to safely cut a rip on a table saw.

Adjust Your Blade Depth

Blade depth is an essential factor when cutting a rip on a table saw because if you set the blade too high, you may splinter and damage the board or injure yourself. However, you may need to set your blade higher for a better cut for a thinner workpiece.

Tip

It’s generally recommended that the blade extends at least an ⅛ inch (3 mm) above the surface of your workpiece or has between 3 to 5 teeth into the wood. Higher saw blades may also lead to better cuts in certain situations, so make sure you’re adjusting your blade correctly.

Measure and Mark Your Work Piece

It’s essential to take the time to measure and mark your workpiece for cutting a rip on a table saw to ensure that you have the most accurate cut possible. The first step is to measure the length of the workpiece you need to cut.

The easiest way to do this is by using a tape measure, but you can also do it with a yardstick or any other long, straight object. Use a pencil or chalk line to mark where you should place your blade on the other end of your workpiece.

Tip

A table saw allows you to adjust the table fence to the required measurement, so you can mark the front end of your workpiece and adjust the saw fence accordingly. It would be best to keep your workpiece tight against the rip fence to get a straight cut. It’s important to note that the saw will eat a considerable chunk of the wood, so keep this in mind while measuring.

Adjust Your Table Saw Rip Fence

The table saw fence is a guide for the wood being cut. It helps to keep the wood from moving and slipping out of place. The fence is usually set at 90 degrees to the blade, but you can set it at other angles depending on the cut you want.

There are many types of fences that can be used for table saws. Some are designed for cutting cross-grain or ripping, while others are intended for resawing or mitering.

Tip

Lock the table saw fence tightly to ensure it doesn’t move during the cutting process. You can use a featherboard to keep your workpiece tightly aligned to the saw fence. Always use a rip fence parallel with the saw blade when cutting a rip on a table saw.

Align Your Outfeed Support

An outfeed table is a necessity for cutting long pieces of wood. It provides stability for the workpiece and prevents it from tipping over and potentially damaging the saw blade or causing injuries. If your table saw has a large extension, you may not need to use outfeed support.

Tip

You can create outfeed support using stacked pieces of wood or a table which is the same height or slightly lower than your saw’s table. You can also purchase an HTC Adjustable Roller Table Stand (available on Amazon.com) to work as an outfeed support. This stand is super durable and is versatile enough for lots of different projects.

Cut the Rip on Your Workpiece

Before rip-cutting your workpiece, you must consider some safety measures to avoid injuries, including hearing protection and safety glasses. Have a push stick nearby and ensure that the safety guard on your table saw is down.

Turn on the saw’s power switch and let the motor run to full speed before you can begin cutting. Gently push your workpiece through the saw blade and keep it firmly against the rip fence. Do not stop midway or slow down, as this could destroy your straight line.

Ensure that your workpiece settles smoothly on the outfeed support as you finish the cutting process.

Use a Push Stick To Finish the Cut

A push stick is a tool used to push the wood through a table saw. It provides the user safety and security while cutting wood to avoid injuries. Insert the push stick on the edge of the workpiece where you will be pushing the piece of wood towards the cutting blade.

Tip

Place the push stick between the saw’s blade and the rip fence, as this is the part that can potentially cause a kickback. If you place it elsewhere you could end up injuring yourself, so make sure you place it in the correct position before cutting.

Unplug Your Table Saw

One of the major safety hazards with table saws is that they have an exposed blade that rotates at high speeds and can come into contact with your body if you don’t use proper techniques when working with it.

It’s essential to keep your table saw unplugged when not in use, as this will prevent any accidents that could cause injury and damage to the tool.

Watch this detailed video showing how to cut a rip on a table saw safely:

Safety Measures While Cutting Rips on a Table Saw

The table saw is a workshop’s most common type of power tool. It’s widely used in carpentry, home improvement, and construction work. The table saw is best for rip cuts because it has a long blade which allows the user to make long straight cuts quickly and easily.

However, it can cause severe injuries if not used properly. Here are some safety precautions to observe while cutting a rip on a table saw:

  • Always keep the table saw unplugged when not in use.
  • Use hearing protection and safety goggles when working with a table saw.
  • Don’t use gloves as they can get caught by the wood drawing your hand to the saw.
  • Always ensure that the blade guard is in place at all times where possible.
  • Never cut rips on curved or severely bowed wood.
  • Keep your fingers away from where you are cutting to reduce injury risk.

Use a Featherboard

A featherboard is an essential safety device for table saws. It helps reduce the kickback that can occur when you cut with your table saw. Kickback is when the workpiece jumps back at you unexpectedly and can be very dangerous.

Watch this video to learn how to use a featherboard when cutting a rip on a table saw:

How To Avoid Blade Marks When Cutting Rips

  • Clean Your Blades Regularly.
  • Use the Right Blades (Blades with fewer teeth are better).
  • Check the blade alignment.
  • Maintain even wood pressure against the lateral fence.
  • Choose wood that is not prone to blade marks.

Final Thoughts

The table saw is a versatile power tool that you can use for all sorts of woodworking projects. It can be used to rip cut wood, crosscut wood, and do other types of cuts. It’s an invaluable tool that can also be dangerous if not handled properly.

When making a rip cut in wood, a table saw is an ideal tool to do the job accurately and safely.

Jedediah Arnold

Jedediah has been working with epoxy resin for a couple of years. When he started, he wanted to share everything he learned as he learned it which continues.

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