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Forum topic by Michael James posted 03-25-2010 07:06 PM 1624 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael James

89 posts in 2516 days


03-25-2010 07:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

Hi there,

I have real trouble ripping plywood on my table saw. i can’t really justify a track saw and don’t have room to build a panel saw.

The trouble I have is binding and getting a good cut. Can anyone point me in the direction of some technique artiicles or videos that might help me get better at it? It really sucks when you ruin a $60 sheet of plywood.

I’m also open to any pointers people can give me.

-- Michael James - www.michaeljames.ca


21 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3196 days


#1 posted 03-25-2010 07:22 PM

do you have infeed/outfeed tables. I don’t, but from what I can tell, it makes a world of difference. Instead, I just use a circular saw.

View JimmyNate's profile

JimmyNate

124 posts in 2818 days


#2 posted 03-25-2010 07:33 PM

Infeed/outfeed support is important. Long rails for the fence help you fit it on. Use a splitter to help with the binding. Check the squareness of the fence to ensure it isn’t tapering toward the blade near the back. Be sure to feed it through with support in 3 directions: against the blade, down agains the table and right against the fence. You shouldn’t have true binding with plywood so my guess is that either the fence is out of square or you arent’ keeping the piece seated squarely agains the fence. Also, plywood often does not have perfect edges. Consider cleaning up an edge before making your cuts. You can also pre cut to dimensions close to your final size using a circular saw and then clean up the edges on the table saw once the piece is a more managable size if that’s a problem.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3116 days


#3 posted 03-25-2010 07:33 PM

I also use a circular saw for cutting sheet goods. using a good (can be shop made) straight line cutting jig can also eliminate any need to ‘finish up’ the cuts on a table saw, and have ready to use panels.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View JimmyNate's profile

JimmyNate

124 posts in 2818 days


#4 posted 03-25-2010 07:35 PM

The type of blade could play a role but I haven’t tried enough different blades to help you there.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View JJohnston's profile

JJohnston

1614 posts in 2759 days


#5 posted 03-25-2010 07:35 PM

In my experience, it’s very difficult to get a good cut on a big piece – it’s just too hard to handle. However, you don’t need a tracksaw to break a sheet down into manageable size. Just rip off a piece 8 to 12” wide from the factory edge, and use that as a straightedge to guide a circular saw. You measure the distance from the edge of the shoe on your saw to the blade, and offset the straightedge the same distance from the cut line. Use a couple of small C clamps to hold the straightedge to the sheet being cut. If you want more convenience, glue another straightedge to the top of the first one a little farther than the offset distance you already measured, and cut it – then you have an edge that represents exactly where the cut will be, so you won’t have to do any measuring.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

452 posts in 2473 days


#6 posted 03-25-2010 07:40 PM

You don’t mention the quality or size of the saw you are using so it’s hard to evaluate what might be happening. The bigger the panel the harder it is to control. You could use a circular saw to rip it into suitable rough size pices first, like rip in half then trim to final width on the T saw.

Binding could be the result of an out of adjustment fence or other saw alignment issues like the blade not being parallel to the miter slots and fence. Make sure the saw is adjusted properly according to the instructions in the owners manual. The fence should be a few thousands of an inch farther away from the blade a the far end than the near end. It needs to be tightened in such a way to prevent movement of course, and needs to be long enough to be able to keep the edge of the panel against it easily.

Adequate support for the infeed and outfeed is necessary for bigger panels. If you are using in or outfeed rollers to support the panels make sure they are lined up properly so they dont pull the panel away from the fence as they roll, and adjust them to the right height. Make sure the table and fence are clean. I generally use paste wax on mine to make things slide better, on the table, insert, and face of the fence.

Bad cut quality could be just the choice of blade. Just look at some of the other threads about blade choices for table saws. I generally keep a 60 t carbide tipped ATB blade on my Unisaw, works well for everyday stuff. I have a drawer full of other blades from back when I was building cabinets full time that do specialty things like cut melamine without chipping or geared for plam cutting. Whatever blade you use should of course be Sharp and make sure it isn’t bent or out of balance.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Moron's profile

Moron

5032 posts in 3361 days


#7 posted 03-25-2010 07:41 PM

many answers aside from alignment of fence and blade

reduce the friction of bed, fence and material by soaping or dry lubricant.

fixed or portable outfeed tables or at least another set of hands are a “must” otherwise its kinda impossible.

Rip over sized with a circular saw and straight edge into managable sizes, then rip to the right size on the TS.

acquire some cheap crap plywood, the kind most folks throw out. practice ripping again and agian and again cuz as they say,.............practice makes perfect.

What kinda hardware did you use on the Murphy bed?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 2516 days


#8 posted 03-25-2010 07:47 PM

Wow..this is great! Thanks so much for all the feedback. It sounds like I need an outfeed table but I really like the idea of rough cutting first with a circular saw.

What’s the best blade for a circluar saw for hardwood? 40T? I have a framing blade, but that just makes a mess…

-- Michael James - www.michaeljames.ca

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3116 days


#9 posted 03-25-2010 07:51 PM

I’m using a Frued Avanti 40tooth blade in my circular saw and the cuts are unbelievably clean -seriously.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 2516 days


#10 posted 03-25-2010 07:54 PM

Thanks…I’ll pick one up.

For those of you who asked, I have the Rigid combination saw with a cast iron top. It’s a great saw for me and for the limited space I have – I think I’ll check the adjustments and use a circular saw to begin the process. I’ll build an outfeed table too that will assist in this.

Thanks to everyone for your help.

-- Michael James - www.michaeljames.ca

View JimmyNate's profile

JimmyNate

124 posts in 2818 days


#11 posted 03-25-2010 09:23 PM

If you cut alot of long stock, consider building a long outfeed table. I added a 2 ft outfeed table to my saw but I find I still want some kind of support for large/long stock like height adjustable rollers on both the infeed and outfeed ends of things. I haven’t coughed up the money for rollers yet so I just use a sawhorse adjusted to about half an inch to an inch below the outfeed table height and placed a couple feet back from the outfeed table. It’s a decent solution, but skipping the rollers and just having a 4 or 5 foot outfeed table would be nice.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3196 days


#12 posted 03-25-2010 09:30 PM

here is what i use:
Click for details

View Todd Clare's profile

Todd Clare

67 posts in 2453 days


#13 posted 03-25-2010 09:58 PM

I have a Delta left tilt contractor saw and had a heck of a time getting the blade/trunnion aligned properly. Somehow “hit it with a hunk of wood” and “align it to 1000th of an inch” didn’t go together very well for me.

I opted to get a PALS Contractor Saw Alignment System and I can tell you it made a world of difference. Combine that with the cheapest Harbor Freight dial indicator screwed to a scrap of wood and my miter gauge, and I got the saw/slots/fence/miter/etc. aligned wonderfully and am making fantastic cuts ever since.

My next project is an outfeed table for all the reasons listed above.

-- Todd (Denver, CO -- Highlands)

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2466 days


#14 posted 03-26-2010 03:54 AM

I can’t imagine even messing with a table saw for sheet goods. The clamp on saw guides and a circular saw are much nicer to work with, give better cuts and a lot safer.

I do lust after some of the new plunge cutting saws with the aluminum track.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2599 days


#15 posted 03-26-2010 04:46 AM

I have a panel saw for crosscutting, but rip all my 4×8 sheets on my Unisaw. As mentioned, you need a good fence, and an outfeed table. I hold the outside corner of the sheet, diagonal from the fence. That way you can push forward and against the fence at the same time. I slide the sheet up near the blade, and against the fence, and rock it a little to make sure it’s against the fence, and then start pushing. As long as the sheet is against the fence (all along the fence, so it’s parallel), once you start cutting, you shouldn’t have a problem. If you’re getting binding, there’s a good chance you’re starting the cut with the sheet not parallel to the fence.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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