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Safe to Rip From Both Ends?

#108227 by algale » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:55 pm

I recently saw a video on another website. The guy was using his table saw and rip fence to rip a board about 1 inch thick, 6 inches wide and about 4-5 feet long. He was doing this by himself and without outfeed support. I admit I've done this before when I get lazy and I always end up wrestling with the work piece and the cut off as the board starts to cantilever off the end of the table.

This guy did something completely different, however. He ran the board about half way through the table saw then, without turning off the saw :eek: , pulled the board back very rapidly, flipped the board end for end (so the same edge was against the rip fence) and finished running the board through until the new kerf being cut met the prior kerf.

The thing that immediately struck me was that, in comparison to running the board through in one pass, his cutting from both ends enabled him to maintain far greater control over the board because almost none of the board was being cantilevered over the end of the table. He was also able to keep his hands much further away from the blade than if he had completed the cut in one pass.

About the only down side I could see to this techniques is that by failing to turn off the saw before pulling the board back he risked marring his edge or creating a kickback.

In sum, I am very intrigued by the technique but I would turn off the saw before pulling the piece back. Has anyone seen this done before? Is it a safe technique? Any disadvantages I am missing?

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#108232 by Gene Howe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:12 pm

It's a very common practice in my shop. I will admit to sawing half way, and if the board is long enough, cantilevering the uncut end down to lift the board away from the blade.:eek: Not recommending this practice, however. The safest way is to do as you suspected and cut the motor off before manipulating the work piece.
A safer method is to use an adequate out feed table! I do it because I may not have enough room on the out feed side and I'm too lazy to move the machine.;)

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Gene

'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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#108235 by JPG » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:19 pm

I do not like it!

What does he do with the workpiece that has suddenly become two pieces with one piece trapped between the blade and the fence?

He needs a hand to control each piece and no hand to turn the saw off.

Only makes a "little" sense if the trapped piece can be fed fully fed with minimal 'cantilever' problems and thus controlled with one hand.

You could probably get by with doing it, but it is IMHO an accident waiting it's turn!

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╔═══╗
╟JPG ╢
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Goldie(Bought New SN 377425)/4" jointer/6" beltsander/12" planer/stripsander/bandsaw/powerstation /Scroll saw/Jig saw /Craftsman 10" ras/Craftsman 6" thicknessplaner/ Dayton10"tablesaw(restoredfromneighborstrashpile)/ Mark VII restoration in 'progress'/ 10E(SN E3779) restoration in progress, a 510 on the back burner and a growing pile of items to be eventually returned to useful life. - aka Red Grange

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#108237 by Gene Howe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:32 pm

You are probably correct in your assessment of the safety issues, JPG.
I just let the off cut fall, or slide it left out of the way, then hit the switch with the left hand.
It's not the safest method and, I don't recommend it. As with any saw operation, ya gotta focus.

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Gene



'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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#108239 by trainguytom » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:36 pm

On the occasions that I have needed to cut from both ends (is that a little like burning the candle at both ends?), I've been able to push down on the feed end of the board to allow the cut end to lift & clear the blade, get it out of the way, and then flip & do the other end.
Still, probably not the best practice in general...but then, I'm pretty sure many of us have done some less than safe things with the Smith.
(All those of you who use the upper table saw blade guard please raise their hands...and show us your fingers)

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My dad's 1951 10er, 2 more 10er's, same vintage, a Goldie MK5, a 510 shortie with 34inch tubes, bandsaw, jointer, jigsaw, belt sander, a ton of small SS goodies and still looking...you just can't have enough Shopsmith stuff

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#108240 by algale » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:52 pm

JPG40504 wrote:
Only makes a "little" sense if the trapped piece can be fed fully fed with minimal 'cantilever' problems and thus controlled with one hand.


How do you see this causing a cantilever problem? No matter how long the board is, if you only cut to the mid point of the board -- and just to the front of the blade (where all the cuttting is done), then on both initial cut and the completion cut the weight of the board will either be on the table or equal amounts of the board will be overhanging the back of the table and front of the table (as measured from the front of the blade in both case), thus providing a perfect or nearly perfect counterweight on both the work piece and the cut off. Thus no true cantilever. Or am I missing something?

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Safe to Rip from Both Ends?

#108245 by dusty » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:19 pm

Yes, No, Maybe So.

I believe it all depends on the operators understanding of what he/she is doing and his/her level of concentration.

I must admit that I have done it myself both turning off the saw and removing the half cut piece with the saw still running.

What I would typically do is push down on the infeed end of the stock, thus lifting the board more or less straight up off of the blade.

Why would I do this at all without turning off the saw? Probably for the same reason that I would do it at all. The piece that I am cutting is too large to handle in the normal fashion (feeding the stock all of the way through) and I cannot manage the on/off switch and the stock being cut.

Bottom line: the job cannot be done in this manner without sacrificing some level of safety. It is not wise. Probably the only reason we get away with this maneuver is because the cut off is too large to be thrown across the room. It just lays there (hopefully).

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"Making Sawdust Safely"
Dusty
Sent from my Dell XPS using Firefox.

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#108251 by foxtrapper » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:51 pm

You're freehanding against the fence when cutting this way. Something I don't like to do with long boards. I've found I'm very poor at keeping them tight against the fence when freehanding. The longer the board, the worse my results.

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#108255 by anmius » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:15 pm

I vote for it being not safe. To much opportunity for some kind of mishap. And, for a 1" board, you should be using the saw guard with anti-kickback pauls -- so how do you pull the board back with the saw running?

I also think that if the saw is not aligned exactly (within a couple of thousandths of an inch), there will be a mark left on the cut edge. Removal by a jointer? If the board is that long, it must be one heck of a jointer.

I vote no. Get an outfeed table or some help.

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________________________________________________________________________________________________
1981 Mark V 500, bandsaw, belt sander, jig saw, jointer; contractor's table saw; multiple circular saws and miter saws; and a trailer full of tools.

"It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt"
Abraham Lincoln

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#108256 by algale » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:30 pm

anmius wrote:I vote for it being not safe. To much opportunity for some kind of mishap. And, for a 1" board, you should be using the saw guard with anti-kickback pauls -- so how do you pull the board back with the saw running?

I also think that if the saw is not aligned exactly (within a couple of thousandths of an inch), there will be a mark left on the cut edge. Removal by a jointer? If the board is that long, it must be one heck of a jointer.

I vote no. Get an outfeed table or some help.


I completely agree this is potentially dangerous if the saw is not stopped between cuts. My question is directed to the safety and advantages/disadvantages if you stop the saw between cuts (if the saw is stopped, the upper saw guard can be temporarily raised between cuts to and disengage the anti kickback pawls and then reinstalled before making the second cut).

I take your point about a possible poor result if the rip fence is misaligned, but if the saw is aligned as it should be and the same edge of the board is referenced against he fence, this shouldn't be an issue, I'd think.

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