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pdovy

Ripping Strips - Proper Technique?

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When I was taking some woodworking classes and we were ripping 8/4 material for table legs, the instructor had us set the fence for the desired width, cut a strip, take the larger piece for an edge pass on the jointer, then repeat (newly jointed edge against the fence).  I didn't really think much about the rationale for this at the time, but is this really necessary for safety on a properly tuned TS?

 

In my home shop I don't have fancy DC, so moving between the jointer and the TS requires moving the hose and DC around.  It'd be much easier if I could just face and edge joint the larger piece to start, then rip everything, then move back to the jointer.  Thoughts?  I'm not going to sacrifice safety for convenience, but I'm wondering if this is just overkill.

 

I am getting ready to rip up a lot of material for a bench top, so I'm going to have quite a bit of this to do!

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That does not make any sense to me either. Why would you want a rip an edge on a table saw that does not have at least one square edge to begin with, seems dangerous. Was the 8/4 stock rough?

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pd, I often join and rip each strip if I find that the stock I am using has a tendency to move when it's cut. Check each piece and see if you still have a straight rip, or if your outfall has bowed when the cut relieved pressure in the wood. On table legs especially, I always rip oversized, after joining one side, and then plane to the proper dimensions. It is not a safety issue, but a quality issue. You don't want a bow-legged table.

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I agree with TRBaker. At least from my experience, 8/4" stock has a tendency to bow a little when you cut it. I also try to cut the legs oversized, Face joint, edge joint then run them through the planer to make the legs perfectly square. 

 

If you are worried about switching your dust collector back and forth multiple times, I would face joint, put the newly face jointed edge against the jointer fence and square up both edges. I say this because USUALLY the best stock for table legs are the edges of a board, not the middle. (Usually the edges are quarter sawn, and the center is flat sawn) Once the edges are square, take to the table saw and cut both edges off. Switch the DC one last time to make sure everything is nice and square then head to the planer. At least that is how I would do it.

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You could also go oversized on the band saw first if the wood is really not behaving itself.  Let it mellow for a couple days and then joint/plane and the table saw never enters the picture.  But I have the jointer right next to the table saw because of the importance of having a good edge to go against the fence.  Paying attention to what is happening in the cut you should know when there's some bowing going on.  It's a good habit to get into to make sure that edge is still good, but jointing every single time is overkill.  The exception might be if you know your saw is struggling with the cut and not producing a very good edge, but I would expect a saw in a class setting to not be having such issues.  With something like hard maple you might get some burning even with a good setup and the jointer would get rid of that.  I will note that sometimes it can be faster, or at least about as fast but less bothersome, to do an operation to everything rather than go through a sorting process first of checking for straightness or square.

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Norm (and Marc) showed a technique which was this:

  • Joint one wide face cup down
  • Turn thru 90 degrees and joint one narrow face at 90 to the previously planed wide face
  • Run the piece through the planer until the desired thickness
  • Run the piece thru the table saw to obtain desired width leaving 1/32" on for final running thru the jointer taking one more pass. (I think Marc rips it to exact width on some of his videos)

With this technique you are actually using 3 machines. 

I have used this on 8/4 stock (and other thicknesses too) and find it works fine. Leaving the extra 1/32" on allows for that tendency for stock to move slightly straight after ripping and clean it up on the jointer. Of course it all depends on the stock you are using as to whether it will move a little or a lot. Reaction wood/case hardened wood is one example as you release internal stresses that were developed when the tree was growing.

 

Moving the dust collector around the shop can be cumbersome but it minimizes you breathing in dust. Also remember that wood can and will still move so try to do any joinery on the same day (or are near as you can) after you mill the boards. 

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==> ripping 8/4 material for table legs, the instructor had us set the fence for the desired width, cut a strip, take the larger piece for an edge pass on the jointer, then repeat (newly jointed edge against the fence). 

Many small shops place the jointer next to the table saw back-to-front for exactly this reason...

 

 

==>  8/4" stock has a tendency to bow a little when you cut it. 

The thicker the stock, the more it tends to move...  I ripped 6-sets of table legs last night in 8/4 hard maple...  Two of the sticks had quite a bit of tension and would have bound the blade if not for a riving knife...  Both sticks moved about 1/8"+ over the 30" rip.  These sticks received a few passes on the jointer between rips...  Due to the tension in the stock, these legs were ripped a bit oversize, and will be resurfaced after 24hrs to final dimension...

 

==> No tablesaw fence is perfectly parallel to the blade. 

+1... Some folks (Old-school)  angle the fence 0.003"-0.005" out from parallel at the toe to reduce the risk of toe-in alignment --- I did this on my first saw for exactly this reason...

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This is something I do routinely. Ripping is always a two stage process for me and the first cut is always oversized. If the board bows at all, I have enough stock to fix it at the jointer than then rip to final width. It can be a lot more work, but it can also mean the difference between near-perfect boards and boards that are all whacked out.

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Rough to length (chop saw, circular saw whatever is the safest depending on the board) Dont crosscut warped boards on the table saw.

 

Rip to rough width on the bandsaw. Bandsaw with the right blade will rip many times faster and easier than your table saw.

 

Face and edge joint on the jointer. From here you have a few options depending on your tools, finish last two sides on the table saw, finish off in the planer and my favorite is to finish off on the shaper with a spiral cutter. The tablesaw will leave marks, the planer will leave snipe, the shaper will leave a nearly finish ready cut.

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==> finish off on the shaper with a spiral cutter

 

I hadn't though of that... yet another reason for me to break-down and get that shaper... :)

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Rough to length (chop saw, circular saw whatever is the safest depending on the board) Dont crosscut warped boards on the table saw.

 

Rip to rough width on the bandsaw. Bandsaw with the right blade will rip many times faster and easier than your table saw.

 

Face and edge joint on the jointer. From here you have a few options depending on your tools, finish last two sides on the table saw, finish off in the planer and my favorite is to finish off on the shaper with a spiral cutter. The tablesaw will leave marks, the planer will leave snipe, the shaper will leave a nearly finish ready cut.

 

Slam Dunk  B).

 

I would do what you instructor did if I was making full face mouldings on the shaper and cutting them off a wide board. I would do a couple full face and rips and then shoot the edge to maintain accuracy. 

I think the tough thing for me sometime is that I'm too spoiled with an industrial workshop at hand so perhaps sometimes my advice on this might be a bit ropey if your tools are more limited. 

And the instructor was doing nothing wrong, just being very thorough. Nothing wrong in that.

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