ideas on working with really small pieces

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Forum topic by rhybeka posted 07-11-2015 12:46 AM 697 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2613 posts in 2546 days

07-11-2015 12:46 AM

Hi all!

I’m in the process of assembling a marking gauge from a kit I bought a few years back (between classes gift for doing a good job in a particularly icky class). I’m waiting on the first glue up to dry and I’m reading through the instructions. Some of these pieces are less than an inch wide and they want them to be ripped. I’m fairly new at this but that just seems risky/dangerous on the TS. I do have a set of grippers so my plan is to use those and manage the best I can. Any tips/tricks for ripping material that’s 2 1/2 inches or less wide?

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

12 replies so far

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1105 days

#1 posted 07-11-2015 01:14 AM

Do you have the video DVD that came with the grippers? I am pretty sure they demo just this sort of cut. If not I think the videos are on their web site to. The Gripper with the stabilizer plate makes this kind of cut pretty easy and very safe.

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13115 posts in 1281 days

#2 posted 07-11-2015 01:33 AM

Is your saw tuned for ripping with the new fence? Want to be sure it’s parallel and don’t get a kickback. As long as the pieces are longer than the saw blade is it’s pretty safe. I would set the depth on the saw just higher than the piece so that you are not reaching down into a narrow space between the fence and blade with. I have a push stick that’s only about 3/8” thick and it works fine. I don’t know much about the gripper, but I assume that will be even safer.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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David Taylor

326 posts in 511 days

#3 posted 07-11-2015 01:37 AM

You don’t mention it as a choice and if you don’t have one I am sorry to propose it as an alternative but I would do that on a band saw myself. Might be just me, though, I don’t like doing small things on a table saw even with my Gripper.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View tyvekboy's profile


1311 posts in 2437 days

#4 posted 07-11-2015 02:09 AM

As Richard mentioned, you could use the GRIPPERS jig to hold the piece being ripped.

If you don’t have that, then having a good push stick will keep you out of trouble. I made a set consisting of 3 thicknesses – 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 inch wide.

I also agree with dyfhid on using a band saw for small pieces … depending how long a piece of wood is that needs to be ripped. If it’s shorter than the exposed blade, use a band saw. If it’s longer, maybe you could safely use a TS.

Keep Safe.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 1851 days

#5 posted 07-11-2015 03:42 AM

Cut a small piece off a big piece. Always.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View rhybeka's profile


2613 posts in 2546 days

#6 posted 07-11-2015 08:29 AM

@Bill not quite yet but I know it’s going to be at least Sunday before I get to trim this piece from 2 1/2 to 2 1/4 in wide :D I just have to add the brake and technically it’s ready to be tested out. Yeah – I know – chomping at the bit. :)

Thanks Dy! The bandsaw is an option but I’m not very good at straight cuts on it and it doesn’t have a fence…one of those things that’s been on my to-do list. I’m always open to alternatives. I should’ve taken a closer look at the grain – I was considering just chucking it up and using a block plane to thin it down since you’re supposed to basically straighten both sides down to make the rectangle 2 1/4 in. That just seems like a lot of material to remove by hand but at least I’d feel safer doing it that way.

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View BadJoints's profile


103 posts in 513 days

#7 posted 07-11-2015 10:24 AM

Since you have a block plane…cut it 1/16 or so wide on the band saw outside the line and then finesse the edge with the plane. This is one of those times a hand tool is actually faster and more capable than a machine.

-- Producing furniture grade firewood since 1984

View rwe2156's profile


2126 posts in 905 days

#8 posted 07-11-2015 11:09 AM

+1 cut the small piece off a big piece.


Why not cut it by hand in a vise and clean up with block plane and avoid the danger?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3642 days

#9 posted 07-11-2015 01:31 PM

I rip very small pieces with my Grr-rippers all the time. Once you try it, you will see how safe and secure it feels. When you are using the Grr-ripper on a piece that small it really doesn’t matter whether the the cutoff or the piece between the blade and the fence is wider. I go with whichever way works best with the size of the piece vs. the width of the Grr-ripper’s feet.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Planeman40's profile


792 posts in 2185 days

#10 posted 07-11-2015 04:17 PM

Exelectrician above has the answer. I have been building stuff for 60 years now and have pretty much done it all so I believe I can weigh in on this. If you have the usual standard size machines, do as Exelectrician says, cut the small piece from a large piece. Or tack glue a small piece of wood to a large piece of scrap, cut the piece to size, and then break the tack glue apart. If you have a disk or floor mounted belt sander, cut the piece slightly oversize and sand it down to the pencil marks. If you use a sander, you can then use a bandsaw or scroll saw as the rough edges can be eliminated with sanding. If you don’t have a power sander, glue some sandpaper to a block of wood and rub the cut part on the sandpaper to smooth it out. This slow going so be patient. Rotate the part every few strokes to avoid uneven sanding due to uneven pressure.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View MrRon's profile


3898 posts in 2668 days

#11 posted 07-11-2015 06:25 PM

I rip small parts regularly on a table saw, but I have much experience doing so. I would not try to explain the way I do it, as it can be very risky if you don’t know what you are doing. In your case, the sanding disk/belt route is the best way for you to go. It is the safest.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1007 posts in 999 days

#12 posted 07-11-2015 08:03 PM

Making a simple fence for your band saw can be a 15 min project, all you need is a couple 1x boards drill pilot hots and a couple screws,then clamp it to your table,sure not LJ pretty but will get you down the road,then later after you get your marking gauge done come back and make a fancy one.

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