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How To Cut Thin Strips On A Table Saw

Table saws are a versatile tool for woodworking, often used for making straight cuts, miters, bevels and dadoes. They can also be used to cut thin strips of wood, which can be useful for a variety of projects. Cutting thin strips on a table saw requires some preparation and the right tools, but can be done safely and efficiently with a few simple steps.

Preparation

Before using a table saw to cut thin strips, it is important to gather the necessary supplies and take safety precautions. You will need a table saw, a push stick, clamps, a straight edge, a measuring tape and the piece of wood you are cutting. It is also important to check the saw blade to make sure it is sharp, properly aligned and secured, and the fence is properly set.

Step by Step Guide

Once you have gathered all the necessary supplies and taken safety precautions, you can begin cutting thin strips on the table saw.

Aligning the Blade

The first step is to align the blade to the miter slot. This will ensure that the blade is square to the table and the miter slot, which is essential for making accurate cuts.

Setting the Fence

The next step is to set the fence. This is the part of the table saw that helps guide the wood as it is being cut. The fence should be set to the desired width of the thin strip you are cutting. It is important to make sure the fence is parallel to the blade and secure it in place with the locking knob.

Making the Cut

Once the blade and fence are set, you can begin making the cut. Start by clamping the wood securely to the table. Then, with one hand on the wood and the other on the push stick, slowly begin feeding the wood through the blade. Make sure to keep your hands away from the blade and keep the wood pressed firmly against the fence as it is being cut.

Tips for Successful Thin Strip Cuts

  • Keep your hands away from the blade
  • Clamp the wood securely to the table
  • Make sure the blade and fence are properly set and aligned
  • Use a push stick to help guide the wood through the blade
  • Make sure the wood is pressed firmly against the fence

Clever Ways to Cut Thin Strips on a Table Saw

Both Stumpy Nubs and The Newbie Woodworker provide excellent tutorials on how to cut thin strips on a table saw. Here are some clever tricks and techniques you can learn from them:

  • Use a shop-made jig: A shop-made jig is a simple tool that can help you make precise, repeatable cuts. To make a jig, you just need a scrap piece of wood that you can clamp to your saw’s fence. Simply adjust the gap between the blade and the jig to the desired strip thickness, and then use the jig to guide your workpiece through the blade.
  • Use a zero-clearance insert: A zero-clearance insert is a specialized insert that you can install in your saw’s table to reduce tearout and splintering. By using a zero-clearance insert, you can achieve cleaner, more accurate cuts, especially when working with thin strips.
  • Use a feather board: A feather board is a device that you can attach to your saw’s fence to help hold your workpiece against the fence. This can help prevent the workpiece from wandering and reduce the risk of kickback. By keeping the workpiece firmly against the fence, you can achieve straighter, more accurate cuts.

Using a Jig to Cut Thin Strips on a Table Saw

A jig is a great tool for cutting thin strips on a table saw, as it ensures accuracy and safety. Here’s how to make and use a jig for cutting thin strips:

  • Make a jig out of scrap wood or purchase one online: You can make a simple jig out of a piece of scrap wood that’s about the same width as your saw’s fence. Attach a stop block to one end of the jig to keep your workpiece from sliding off the end.
  • Adjust the jig so the gap between the blade and the jig is the desired strip thickness: Use a micrometer or a set of calipers to measure the thickness of the strip you want to cut, and then adjust the jig’s position on the fence accordingly.
  • Secure the jig against the fence: Clamp the jig to the fence of your table saw, making sure that it’s straight and flush against the fence.
  • Put the stock against the jig and make sure it’s fully seated in the hook: Hold your workpiece against the jig, making sure that it’s snug and secure against the jig’s hook.
  • Carefully push the stock through the saw: Using a push stick or push block, push the workpiece through the blade, making sure to keep your hands well away from the blade.

Tips for Safe and Accurate Cutting

To ensure safety and accuracy when cutting thin strips on a table saw, follow these tips:

  • Use a push stick or push block to keep your hands away from the blade: Never use your hands to push a workpiece through the blade. Always use a push stick or push block to keep your hands safely away from the blade.
  • Use a feather board to keep the stock against the fence and prevent kickback: A feather board is a simple device that can help you achieve cleaner, more accurate cuts. By holding the workpiece firmly against the fence, a feather board can also help prevent kickback.
  • Use a blade guard to protect your fingers from the blade: A blade guard is a must-have safety device that can help prevent accidental contact with the blade

Conclusion

Cutting thin strips on a table saw is a simple but important skill to master for many woodworking projects. With the right supplies and safety precautions, these cuts can be made safely and accurately with a few easy steps. After aligning the blade and setting the fence, you can begin making the cut. Keep your hands away from the blade and make sure to press the wood firmly against the fence as it is being cut.

FAQs

What is a table saw?

A table saw is a power tool used for making straight, accurate cuts in wood. It is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of projects, including cutting thin strips.

What supplies do I need to cut thin strips on a table saw?

You will need a table saw, a push stick, clamps, a straight edge, a measuring tape and the piece of wood you are cutting.

How do I align the blade to the miter slot?

Aligning the blade to the miter slot is an important step for making accurate cuts. To do this, use a square to make sure the blade is perpendicular to the miter slot. Adjust the blade until it is square and tighten the screws to secure it in place.

What is the best way to secure the wood to the table?

It is important to secure the wood to the table before making the cut. This can be done by clamping the wood to the table or using a sacrificial piece of wood to help hold the wood in place.

How should I press the wood against the fence?

As you are making the cut, it is important to make sure the wood is pressed firmly against the fence. Use the push stick to help guide the wood through the blade and make sure your hands are away from the blade.

James P Alameda
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