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How to safely rip long, plywood strips with a beveled edge.

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Forum topic by clin posted 01-10-2016 04:05 AM 1673 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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clin

513 posts in 460 days


01-10-2016 04:05 AM

I’ve been ripping pre-finished plywood to make french cleats. But I’m not satisfied with the control or safety.

I’m starting by ripping 6.5” wide strips, then I’m cutting these in half, but with the blade tilted 45 deg. The issue I have is making this beveled cut. With a typical 90 deg cut, it doesn’t matter that much if the wood rises a bit off the table. For example, if there is a bit of a bow. It doesn’t matter much because the wood stays the same distance from the fence.

But with the blade tilted, if the wood rises up at all, it widens the cut. I do have a feather board on the fence, to push the wood down, and that works pretty well, but the wood can still raise up a bit out at the blade.

So how do you hold the wood down near the blade AND still push it through. Even my Grrrper push blocks don’t stick to the wood very well once the cut has gone very far because the dust on the pre-finished surface is very slick. These are 8 foot long piece, so for most of the cut, I can’t catch a shoe and the trialing edge to push.

The best I seem to be able to do, is grab the wood with both hands out in front of the table and feed it through. Then, once the wood clears the back of the blade, reach around and help hold it down flat. Even then I have to stop pushing to re-position my hand to grab and feed the wood in more and therefore not maintaining a smooth feed rate.

Reaching around is not considered safe, and the technique is not very effective.

Maybe clamp a block of wood between the feather board and fence to position the feather board closer to the blade. Obviously not so close that it would push down on the tilted blade.

This type of cut is no big deal with a relatively short cut where you can hook a push block on the back edge to apply forward pressure and perhaps use a second push stick in the other hand to held hold the wood down, but an 8 ft long cut is a different story.

Any ideas?

-- Clin


32 replies so far

View Reaperwoodworks's profile

Reaperwoodworks

94 posts in 398 days


#1 posted 01-10-2016 04:25 AM

Can you just clamp something along your fence to hold the piece down just before the blade, in conjunction with the feather board? then maybe use some sort of sacrificial push block to finish the cut when you get to the end?

-- Website: www.reaperwoodworks.com, Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ognomZyK6V0VwdokBcixw

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2853 posts in 2695 days


#2 posted 01-10-2016 04:28 AM

Are you using infeed and out feed support?

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4225 posts in 1663 days


#3 posted 01-10-2016 04:30 AM

In the absence of something like board buddies, I’d use some wood (or even a thin rip jig with a bearing) and a c-clamp on the fence to hold the stock down (along with your usual fingerboards), and a couple of roller stands for infeed and outfeed support.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View HapHazzard's profile

HapHazzard

92 posts in 332 days


#4 posted 01-10-2016 05:20 AM

I think MT_Stringer has your answer. You need an adjustable roller stand or two, unless you have a buddy to stand on the other side of the table to receive the cut strips and hold them up.

Sometimes it helps to stack two or three strips at once, but they need to be offset by just the right amount, and if the pieces are really long, the added weight will catch up with you eventually.

Another trick is to use short pieces of scrap lumber to hold the work piece down while it goes over the blade and removing them so they don’t weight it down down beyond the table.

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View mandatory66's profile

mandatory66

201 posts in 1594 days


#5 posted 01-10-2016 06:15 AM

If I had to do that job I would be using a track saw. Laying the sheet on a 4×8 piece of solid insulation for full support. set the 45 & make the cut safely and easily. I usually set the solid insulation on 3 horses to make it easy.

View clin's profile

clin

513 posts in 460 days


#6 posted 01-10-2016 06:52 AM



Can you just clamp something along your fence to hold the piece down just before the blade, in conjunction with the feather board? then maybe use some sort of sacrificial push block to finish the cut when you get to the end?

- Reaperwoodworks

The feather board is on the fence pushing the board down now. It is actually a bit in front and along side the blade. Since it is pushing down, it’s not pushing into the blade. You can see a second feather board further back on the fence as well as one on the table top pushing into the fence.


Are you using infeed and out feed support?

- MTStringer

Yes I have a full outfeed table and roller stand infeed support.


In the absence of something like board buddies, I d use some wood (or even a thin rip jig with a bearing) and a c-clamp on the fence to hold the stock down (along with your usual fingerboards), and a couple of roller stands for infeed and outfeed support.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

As mentioned, I already have a feather board holding it down. It’s just that that is up against the fence while the blade is about 3” away. That’s why I mentioned perhaps I should try putting a spacer between the feather board and fence to position the feather board closer to the blade. But not over the tilted blade.

I had seen Board Buddies and was doubtful that they would apply enough downward pressure. And they are a bit expensive just to experiment with.

It does seem like something that could hold it down nearer the blade is the answer. Board Buddies or similar.


I think MT_Stringer has your answer. You need an adjustable roller stand or two, unless you have a buddy to stand on the other side of the table to receive the cut strips and hold them up.

- HapHazzard

As mentioned, I have infeed and outfeed support.


Sometimes it helps to stack two or three strips at once, but they need to be offset by just the right amount, and if the pieces are really long, the added weight will catch up with you eventually.

- HapHazzard

I understand what you are saying, but I think that would be pretty complicated. I probably could only get a stack of three and still have the blade make a thru cut. I’m not sure there is enough weight to really help.


Another trick is to use short pieces of scrap lumber to hold the work piece down while it goes over the blade and removing them so they don t weight it down down beyond the table.

- HapHazzard

I’m having trouble understanding what you mean. Are you say to have a sacrificial piece that the blade does cut through and that I can apply pressure with this. Just not sure how this work making an 8 foot long cut.

By the way, I have to make about 30 of these cuts.

Thanks for the input. Seems that providing downward force closer to the blade is the answer. Perhaps the Board Buddies, but I think I’ll try moving the feather board out from the fence to apply that pressure nearer the blade. Just to see how that works.

-- Clin

View clin's profile

clin

513 posts in 460 days


#7 posted 01-10-2016 07:09 AM



If I had to do that job I would be using a track saw. Laying the sheet on a 4×8 piece of solid insulation for full support. set the 45 & make the cut safely and easily. I usually set the solid insulation on 3 horses to make it easy.

- mandatory66

I breakdown sheet stock that way. Though I just lay it down on my driveway or garage floor on foam sheets. Even in this job, I rip the sheets more or less in half lengthwise. A full 4×8 is a bit much for me to handle.

I just have an 8 ft, clamp on fence, not a track saw. But it works pretty well for me.

I’m going to think about this approach. Especially if I can come up with some easy way to reset the fence to make repeated cuts. I can think of some ways I might be able to do this with some spacer blocks. More like a setup that allows my to just clamp the 6/5” wide strip up against a stop referenced to the clamp on fence.

I’d still want to make the initial 6.5” cut and I guess there’s no reason not to continue doing that on the table saw. Then use the circular saw to make the bevel cut that splits these two. It is a little more involved in that after I make the bevel cut, I run the cutoff back through to size it the same. It’s really hard to exactly split a piece with a 45 deg cut.

I really prefer standing up and pushing the work through the table saw. But maybe for this task I could setup something on saw horses so I don’t have to crawl on the floor/driveway while making the cut.

I’m liking this idea more and more.

-- Clin

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1489 days


#8 posted 01-10-2016 08:05 AM

I agree with Clin. You just need a straight edge. Use a circular saw with it. No need to set the blade very deep, just cut through. With the circular saw’s short base, a bit of sag or arching of the plywood won’t be a big deal.

Anyhow, French cleats aren’t fine woodworking. Don’t over think this.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1760 days


#9 posted 01-10-2016 02:32 PM

Put a second fence on the left side of the blade out a little bit from the edge of the wood and put another feather board on that. Just screw some scrap into an L shape and use clamps to hold it in place.

View jbay's profile

jbay

814 posts in 363 days


#10 posted 01-10-2016 02:54 PM

Just keep cutting them the way you are, a little deflection, which I gather is not much seeing how you are using featherboards, is not going to affect anything. You will have more negative affect from the bows in your wall than your cuts.
If you are still worried about it, cut your boards in half like you are doing, but run each half through again just taking off a little bit, and it will be easier to make the final cut that way.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#11 posted 01-10-2016 03:24 PM

Since you seem to have feather boards in place I don’t know home you’re getting rise on your material? If you don’t have a problem ripping at 90 degrees just rip them at 90 degrees first and then go back a cut the individual pieces at 45 degrees.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View HapHazzard's profile

HapHazzard

92 posts in 332 days


#12 posted 01-10-2016 04:24 PM

Another trick is to use short pieces of scrap lumber to hold the work piece down while it goes over the blade and removing them so they don t weight it down down beyond the table.

- HapHazzard

I m having trouble understanding what you mean. Are you say to have a sacrificial piece that the blade does cut through and that I can apply pressure with this. Just not sure how this work making an 8 foot long cut.

- clin

I’m suggesting you use a couple of sacrificial pieces about four feet long that the blade cuts into but not through laid end to end. As the first one clears the blade you can just push it aside so the weight won’t bow the plywood.

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View clin's profile

clin

513 posts in 460 days


#13 posted 01-10-2016 04:33 PM



Since you seem to have feather boards in place I don t know home you re getting rise on your material? If you don t have a problem ripping at 90 degrees just rip them at 90 degrees first and then go back a cut the individual pieces at 45 degrees.

- a1Jim

Because holding a board down at one edge is no assurance it is flat on the other side. Even if just 3” away. You lose a lot of mechanical advantage holding something down at about 1/2” from one edge, and the area of interest being 3” away. Meaning if it took 5 lbs of force to hold it flat where you want, you would need about 30 lbs at the fence from the feather board.

What I have been doing, as shown in the photo, is working pretty good. I’m just think there may be something better and safer, since I still need to apply some downward force with a push block.


Put a second fence on the left side of the blade out a little bit from the edge of the wood and put another feather board on that. Just screw some scrap into an L shape and use clamps to hold it in place.

- dhazelton

That would no doubt help. With downward force applied on both sides of the 6.5” board I would think it would hold it down. I don’t have another TS fence, or any other devices that I can do this with. But this may be the reason to get something.

Just keep cutting them the way you are, a little deflection, which I gather is not much seeing how you are using featherboards, is not going to affect anything. You will have more negative affect from the bows in your wall than your cuts.
If you are still worried about it, cut your boards in half like you are doing, but run each half through again just taking off a little bit, and it will be easier to make the final cut that way.

- jbay

It can still rise up about 1/16 th if I don’t apply pressure by hand in some way. Then it is very awkward to push the board through without stopping and re positioning my pushing hand.

I get that this is not fine wood working, but I still prefer to do things the best way reasonably possible.

In terms of safety, I really think the circular saw is probably the best way to go. It also allows for a nice continuous movement. I just need to see if there is some relatively simple way to set this up. Some way to have the straight edge secured and then place the stock on something and clamp it, without interfering with the saw.

The material itself isn’t wide enough to clamp my straight edge into it and still have the minimum needed between the fence and blade. There’s a way I’m sure, just need to think it through and the decide if it is worth the trouble.

Thanks again to all for their inputs.

-- Clin

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

978 posts in 917 days


#14 posted 01-10-2016 04:38 PM

Rip to 6”, then crosscut, you don’t actually NEED a single 8’ cleat do you? Then bevel the shorter pieces …

Also, a little spread in the bevel won’t be seen nor will it weaken the cleat.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View clin's profile

clin

513 posts in 460 days


#15 posted 01-10-2016 04:52 PM



Rip to 6”, then crosscut, you don t actually NEED a single 8 cleat do you? Then bevel the shorter pieces …

Also, a little spread in the bevel won t be seen nor will it weaken the cleat.

M

- MadMark

I’m covering an entire wall with french cleats. Some runs are 24 ft long. So yes, while I could work with shorter pieces, it makes the rest of the job harder.

-- Clin

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