August 2, 2009

Cutting thin strips on tablesaw

The best way to safely cut thin strips on a tablesaw is to set up a gauge on the side of the blade opposite the fence. The gauge must be in front of the saw blade not in the cutting area of the blade where it would create a dangerous pinch and kickback situation. Note that I am using a push stick for safety as I have the blade guard removed. The saw shown in these photos is a Jet 10" cabinet saw.

The wood you are going to cut is set against the gauge and then the fence is moved over to the wood to be locked in position against it.

I have used a magnetic block on my steel table top as my gauge in these photos. It is just short enough not to bind the wood as I am cutting. I have it slightly angled so only a point is making contact with the wood. Another way of doing this is to have a gauge located onto a piece that is a snug fit in the miter slot. Set the wood against it, locate and lock the fence, then remove the gauge before you make your cut.

Rockler makes a jig for thin strip cutting. It is OK but I think there is a little too much play in the slide and it needs shimming. You can make something adjustable for yourself that fits into the miter slot. If you have only a small point of contact you don't have to remove the gauge.

I will be using the strips I am cutting today for making close studding on a timber framed dollhouse. The strips will be cut to width on a band saw and they will be textured before I glue them to the structure. You can see close studding on the real half timber structure in the photo below.


Dan C. said...

Hello Karin - I've been working on getting nice thin strips cut on my table saw. Are you using a 10" saw to get that cut, or a mini-table like a proxxon type? I'm starting to wonder if I need to invest money in a mini, or with some practice it is possible to get nice thin cuts on a 10" saw. (in basswood and poplar mostly)
Thanks. Impressive stuff as always!

Karin Corbin said...

I was using my 10 inch Jet table saw in the photo. Mini table saws are very handy for working with small dimensioned strips. But if you are cutting down lumber that is 1.5" or .75" or so thick you start to put a fair amount of work load on the small motors of miniature table saws. If you are cutting hardwood it is more of a load than I care to place upon a mini saw. I generally start using my miniature table saws when I am working on lumber pieces I have reduced to a smaller size with the 10 inch saw.

If I need smoothly finished wood I generally use the table saws to bring wood to fractionally over sized and then to the final dimension required on a planer or thickness drum sander.