Table saw question

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by straycat posted 04-15-2014 07:29 PM 1470 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View straycat's profile


3 posts in 1898 days

04-15-2014 07:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw safety thin slats

I need to cut 1/4” thick slats for a baby cradle. How can I do this safely on a table saw with no splitter or riving knife? The last time I tried it, I felt like I was a target at skeet range.

14 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4419 days

#1 posted 04-15-2014 07:35 PM

Sounds like you need to use a thin rip jig, where your 1/4” slat will be cut to the outside of the blade, rather than between the blade and the fence.

If you are not familiar with thin rip jigs, just plug that term into the LJ search box and you’ll get lots of ideas for how to make one.

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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3171 days

#2 posted 04-15-2014 08:30 PM

You ripping 1/4” narrow strips off of thick material?
Or are you ripping wide strips in 1/4” thick material?

If it’s the first one, it might help to rip long pieces and then cut them to length later.

If it’s the second one, I’d use a plywood blade, or any fine tooth blade, and drop the height to just clear the stock thickness plus about 1/8”.

A Gripper type push block might help as well.

View straycat's profile


3 posts in 1898 days

#3 posted 04-15-2014 08:47 PM

It looks like the rip jig is the answer to my question. I am cutting the 3/4” x 10” x 1/4” slats from a 3/4” x 10” x 12” piece, so the long rips are not an option. Thanks so much for the answer, you might have saved me from a table saw accident.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5285 posts in 1921 days

#4 posted 04-15-2014 09:01 PM

You can capture the thin piece between the blade and the fence if using a proper push block that will allow you to not only keep your hands a safe distance from the blade, but also push the strip and large cutoff together past the blade. I just made one to fit over the extrusion for my saw fence and am very happy with the results. Good alignment between the blade and fence is also critical as you can create a dangerous or inaccurate (or both) situation if the fence is pushing the material into or away from the blade.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3778 days

#5 posted 04-15-2014 09:02 PM

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1777 days

#6 posted 04-15-2014 09:19 PM

microjig griper? Been looking at videos from them lately because i think I’m going to get one, but on the videos they rip some pretty small stuff

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2777 days

#7 posted 04-16-2014 01:01 AM

You need a splitter. It’s a necessity. Once you have one in place, setting the fence to 1/4” and using a thin pusher is very safe.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 2099 days

#8 posted 04-16-2014 01:04 AM

CharlieM1958 has the right answer. DO NOT use the thin push stick method. (Sorry, Nite Walker)

-- --Dale Page

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2777 days

#9 posted 04-16-2014 07:18 AM

With a splitter, the thin push shoe method is plenty safe.
A thin push shoe isn’t a necessity; a regular thickness (typically 3/4”) one will work too, but the bottom will get a bit chewed where the blade comes through.

Charlie’s method works fine too, but even with a thin rip jig, there can still be some inconsistencies because of the constant setting and resetting of the fence. Also, without a splitter, it’s not safe either.

I speak from experience; I learned the trick from kelly mehler’s table saw book and dvd. Kelly is a very strong proponent of table saw safety.

It deserves repeating; a splitter/riving knife is an absolute necessity. No table saw operation is safe without one.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier is use of a zero clearance insert. When ripping thin strips, that’s also pretty much a necessity.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View doitforfun's profile


199 posts in 1808 days

#10 posted 04-16-2014 10:45 AM

I recently made this thing. I call it the finger saver. The actual pusher is 1/4” thick but I can rip it narrower if I need to.

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3122 days

#11 posted 04-16-2014 03:06 PM

I cut 1/4” strips,using my table saw, often. I put the fence on the left side of the blade and reach over the fence to push the wood using a push stick. I am not standing in line with the saw blade. Any kick back that may occur will not hit me this way.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2246 days

#12 posted 04-16-2014 03:14 PM

Grr Rippers are great, and I use it to do thin rips. However I do not consider them to be a no substitute for a splitter/riving knife. All you’d be doing is “applying brute force” to intentionally hold down a piece to prevent kickback or any other problem. Not to say that it wouldn’t work, but if you’re doing a lot of cuts, I see it as only a matter of time before your fancy and expensive Grr Ripper meets some carbide. The idea a1Jim shared with a wedge at the tail end of the cut sound to serve as a splitter sounds like possible idea take and adapt.

doitforfun – Neat looking push block design. I’m curious how it can be adapted to add some form of downward pressure during a thin rip cut?

-- paxorion

View doitforfun's profile


199 posts in 1808 days

#13 posted 04-16-2014 04:23 PM

Paxorion , Interesting concept. I would imagine a feather board mounted over the blade from the left side so that the pusher can still get by Either that or bridge it from the fence side upright part and make the push stick long enough to pass the outward end of the blade. I think that would be more difficult to control. I’m already considering adding some kind of track to keep the pusher perfectly straight. I haven’t had a problem with the little use its gotten so far but there’s nothing holding it to the fence but my own direction. I think I’ll make one and find out how to do it. ;-)

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2246 days

#14 posted 04-16-2014 05:09 PM

doitforfun – sounds like you may have an interesting project to post (someday)

-- paxorion

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics