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Thin Strip Cutting Jig for TS

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Forum topic by runswithscissors posted 10-24-2014 01:10 AM 1999 views 4 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


10-24-2014 01:10 AM

From time to time a question comes up concerning the sawing of thin strips on the TS. I have made a jig that simplifies the task, provides a lot of safety, and is very quick—depending, that is, on how hard it is to adjust your featherboard.

Essentially, this is like a sled, but for ripping rather than crosscutting. The “hook,” whichg pushes the stock through, is morticed into the main piece, but not glued, so that it can easily be replaced when it gets too chewed up; because as you can see, the blade cuts into the hook as you finish cutting the strip. I’m still puzzling over how to make this work better. The hook actually shouldbn’t stick out to the left as far as it does, because it runs into the featherboard. As it is, it limits how narrow the stock from which you are cutting the strips can be.

This is very easy to use. Simply move the fence over until the gap equals the thickness of the strip you want to cut. Set the featherboard just in front of the blade. You can cut identical strips as fast as you want, pausing only to remove the strips as they are cut, and to adjust the featherboard.

A couple of things could use improving: first, I would like to be able to push the strips right on through, letting them drop on the other side of the saw; I did this with the first crude prototype, but the hook has to be very long to avoid cutting it off. Second, there should be some sort of hold-down for the stock, but I’m not sure how best to mount a featherboard to do that. With the blade set low, the stock wants to rise both at beginning and end of the cut. I just hold down with a stick with my left hand, but that isn’t really satisfactory. Raising the blade higher might help. Obviously, this works much better with a riving knife, or at least a splitter. You could probably use your blade guard with it also.

To my surprise, it seems to work well to just withdraw (pull back) the jig/sled, and the newly cut strip follows along, without getting scarred up from blade contact. This may have to do with the way my fence is adjusted.

The handle appears to be mounted on the wrong side of the sled, which was not intentional, but due to a blunder on my part. But in fact, it does seem to offer some protection to the fingers that way. I also tried mounting it so it projected over the TS fence, but it seemed too wobbly in that configuration.

I’m sure that anyone who tries this can think of improvements, but as it is, it works very well, and feels really seccure and safe while using it. I’ll certainly be interested in suggestions from the LJ contingent. I’m also wondering why that featherboard has the S curve in it. I can’t think of a single worthwhile function, and it makes it awkward and annoying to adjust it.


1/16”, 1/8” and 1/4” strips.


Midway through cutting a 1/4” strip


Showing the push handle and “hook.”

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


20 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1817 days


#1 posted 10-24-2014 01:17 AM

It is a pretty innovative design, but I think if you could design it so that the off cut falls on the left side of the blade that would solve the problem of not being able to push it all the way through and be safer.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#2 posted 10-24-2014 01:38 AM

If I did that, wouldn’t I have to adjust the fence for every cut? Which would lead to inconsistent thicknesses. I am aware that some people like the Incra Jig for that.

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

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 987 days


#3 posted 10-24-2014 04:42 AM

It looks very workable. If you could devise a way for the featherboard to pivot, say, from the front of the mitre slot and you apply pressure on it with your hand, you wouldn’t have to re-adjust it with each pass. Or, you could do as I do, and hold it with your fingers.

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#4 posted 10-25-2014 10:20 PM

I did at first use my fingers as a hold down, but that becomes a bit scary as the stock gets narrower. Also, I like having a free hand ready to deal with any problems that might come up (none so far).

To reiterate: my goal here was to have a strip cutting jig that did not require moving the fence for every cut. Set the fence once—for the thickness you want—and keep it there until you have cut all you need.

As for following through with the sled to push the strips past the riving knife, that can be done by cutting through the hook. That doesn’t become problematic until you get down to 1/16”, when the remaining hook is barely able to hang on to the stock. Also, when the remaining stock gets too thin, it becomes flexible and may not stay hooked, which complicates things.

I’m thinking about a way to have the hook be able to move in and out, so it can safely follow through for any thickness of strip to let it drop off on the far end of the saw table. Also, I should have mentioned in my original post that a ZCI is needed for this.

This thing feels far safer than any push stick for cutting thin strips. In fact, the hooks on my push sticks all have been sawed very thin from doing that. It always feel like the push stick is going to slip off and create more excitement than I was hoping for.

There is an old post by “Dances with Wood” that shows a jig that uses a similar principle; also one referenced in that thread that is similar.

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

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5181 posts in 2660 days


#5 posted 10-25-2014 11:05 PM

This is the one I use, and have for years…It works for me….

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View amt's profile

amt

49 posts in 1185 days


#6 posted 10-25-2014 11:41 PM

Perhaps you can make the hook much taller, so that it’s taller than the maximum blade height, so you can push all the way through and still keep it attached to the main piece. The main piece also probably needs to be just as tall, but only where it attaches to the hook.

Personally, I would try two g-rripper push blocks, which should give you total control and safety, and no need for a feather board or jig. You would also not be limited on the length of your thin strips by the length of a jig.

-- -Andrew

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#7 posted 10-25-2014 11:45 PM

Using the grrrippers, wouldn’t I have to move the fence for each cut? Or maybe I’m misunderstanding you?

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

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Woodmaster1

738 posts in 2053 days


#8 posted 10-26-2014 12:27 AM


This is the one I made

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Rayne

470 posts in 1005 days


#9 posted 10-26-2014 01:32 AM

I second the use of the Grrripper. Repeatable cuts, safe, and easy to set up.

View Paul's profile

Paul

721 posts in 1031 days


#10 posted 10-26-2014 01:45 AM

I love my Grrrrrrripper.

Paul

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 987 days


#11 posted 10-26-2014 02:13 AM

Again, with the feather boards and similar blocks, they must be re-adjusted for each pass. When you’re cutting dozens of strips that becomes very cumbersome and time consuming. It looks like maybe that Rockler holding block could be pressed with your hand instead of being tightened each time. as long as it doesn’t twist on you while you’re holding it. Are there two pins the guide slot for control perchance ? If you’re wary of using your fingers for holding the strips, maybe you could just hold that Rockler block in your hand without the mitre slot attachment. You could attach an adjustable strip on the top as a hold down.

Regarding the Gripper, the thinnest strip you can make is 1/4”, right ? Most of the time strips are in the 1/16” ~ 1/8” range. Plus, don’t you have to stop, hold the stock, and re-adjust the placement of the gripper midway through each pass, maybe even several times in a pass, depending on how long the stock is ?

The Rockler thin rip jig looks like an auxiliary fence. Is that right ? I can’t figure out how it works. Do you have to re-adjust the main fence with each pass ? If so, do you find it troublesome to get the correct pressure squeezing the wood between the fences, tight enough to get a consistent cut yet loose enough so the stock doesn’t bind ?

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#12 posted 10-26-2014 02:47 AM

If you look at my first photo, the 4 strips at the top are 1/16” thick. I cut these with no problem at all. I actually had use for these, as I was using them for splined miters in framing that was only 1/4” thick. Worked fine.

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

View Paul's profile

Paul

721 posts in 1031 days


#13 posted 10-26-2014 03:47 AM

You can cut narrower than 1/4” with the gripper, you just would want to replace the rubber replaceable pads. I’ve done so without an issue.

“Regarding the Gripper, the thinnest strip you can make is 1/4”, right ? Most of the time strips are in the 1/16” ~ 1/8” range. Plus, don’t you have to stop, hold the stock, and re-adjust the placement of the gripper midway through each pass, maybe even several times in a pass, depending on how long the stock is ?”

How long is the stock your cutting 1/16” strips from?

Paul

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Yonak

979 posts in 987 days


#14 posted 10-26-2014 02:42 PM


How long is the stock your cutting 1/16” strips from?

- Paul

Usually ~ 36” for bent laminations.

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1491 days


#15 posted 10-27-2014 12:16 AM

Amt: I think your suggestion is on the right track. I’ll try a hook tall enough that the blade can pass right through without cutting it off. Thinking about doing that with 1”thick polyethylene, which I can get, sometimes, at Bellingham’s world class Hardware Sales. They sell scraps of it by the pound. I’ll mount it in a vertical configuration, rather than flat, but will continue to mull that over.

I remain resistant to any of the suggestions that require moving the fence for each strip. And I think a featherboard like Rockler’s will be less cumbersome to adjust.

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

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