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EdG57

Crosscut and fence question

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On The  Wood Whisperer video about the end-grain cutting boards he appears to be making the second round of cuts using the fence (at 6:14 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m08XLrcaXWk).

I am a new woodworker and have always been taught that using the fence for cross-cuts was unsafe. I am not writing to be critical. The fact is my project would turn out better if I could use the fence. Are there circumstances in which it would be OK?

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It’s not that it’s a cross cut, it’s that it is a narrow rip off a  board that is wider than long. Remember, it’s a cutting board blank. It does not run far out of frame. Yes, there is risk. He mitigates risk with a riving knife and guard, while maintaining feed pressure with the push stick. If you cannot do this on your saw, I would use a crosscut sled. 

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Building on @Tpt life's comment, the term "cross cut" properly relates to the orientation of the grain, relative to the cutting blade. The safety situation you mention relates to the dimension of the piece being cut. When is through the narrow dimension of the piece, there is an increased risk that the work piece or the off-cut will rotate during the movement, causing it to bind and kick-back. The risk increases with the ratio of length to width of the work piece. In a rectangular workpiece like the cutting board, that ratio, and therefore the risk, is pretty small. I would still only perform that cut using a sacrificial push block with a 'heel' that supported both sides of the cut and a sole that extended fully across the length of the cut to hold downward pressure.

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11 hours ago, EdG57 said:

The fact is my project would turn out better if I could use the fence.

I am not sure that is necessarily true, a kickback will certainly ruin the cut, and your day.  When I make a cut like that I set up a stop block, use a miter gauge on the left side and let the off cut fall free of the blade.  Just set up the stop block so it clears the work piece before the cut is complete.

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