Rip Fence Tips–Choosing the right Rip Fence for your Table Saw

Table saw with professional Fence

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to complete a cut on a table without a rip fence. It is a table saw accessory that helps you to align and guide your workpiece when cutting correctly.  

When using the table saw, having a rip fence could solve a lot of potential hazards. Furthermore, it will eliminate any chance for wood movement or kickbacks to occur, which is dangerous. 

Therefore, paying keen attention to choosing the best rip fence is a must. In succeeding paragraphs, you would learn the necessary tips to choose a rip fence that best suits your needs.

Figure 1: Table saw with professional Fence

Table saw with professional Fence

Section 1: Why do we need the table saw Rip Fence Tips?

1.1What exactly is a rip fence?

A fact is that a table saw allows the cutting of large and complex workpieces. However, during cutting, many things could go wrong, and a rip fence prevents them. A table saw rip fence is a tool or accessory added to a table saw to help guide your workpiece. For smooth, accurate, and straight cuts, you can always count on the help from a table saw rip fence.   

1.2 Why do you need a table saw fence?

Whether you are a beginner, amateur, or professional, you must keep a table saw rip fence handy. Firstly, it guarantees better accuracy, allows you to work faster, thereby saving you time and allowing you to do more. Secondly, with a table saw rip fence, you are 100% sure nothing can go wrong. It ensures that you are safe when working and do not get injured unnecessarily. 

Many things could go wrong when a table saw rip fence is missing from your table saw. To start with, you could get injuries from kickbacks. Also, without a table saw rip fence, you might not find it easy to use a push stick. Its absence would cause the workpiece to dabble as it comes into the circular saw blade. It implies that you could lose a finger or more when your hand comes too close to the circular blade. 

Finally, the possibility of racking is high when a table saw rip fence not install.  

Figure 2: A rip fence guiding a rip cutting process. 

A rip fence guiding a rip cutting process.

Section 2: Rip Fence TipsHow to make a home-made table saw fence?

Asides from the factory-made table saw rip fence out there; you could decide to make one for yourself. On the other hand, you might desire some added feature that only you can customize. Thus, it would help if you understood how to make a table saw rip fence in your workshop. Below are three simple steps required to make yourself a table saw rip fence:

2.1 Making plywood strips

First, gather tools needed for the entire exercise: threaded pipe, clamp kit, and plywood pieces. Furthermore, measure the width of your table saw. Again, get a couple of four-inch-wide plywood strips; you would need them for a square tube. Besides, you would also need some 2-inch strips of plywood. Most importantly, trim these strips of plywood to fit the measurement of the table saw. 

By now, the plywood strips should be ready, and you can cut them into two equal squares. Nonetheless, bear in mind that the two squares must have a width of ½-inch and satisfactory length. Finally, you should end up with two pieces of each for the 2-inch and 4-inch plywood strip. Also, you must drill a hole at the center of each strip.

2.2 Building square tube and pipe clamp

Table saw tearing fence shaped like a square tube. It consists of two 4-inch strips on opposite sides and 2-inch strips at the top and bottom. Go further by fastening these pieces of strips together into a one-piece. 

Now, at one end of the square tube, position a square plywood piece to flush with an extended edge. Follow up with wood screws to lock the plywood in place.  

Inside your 4ft pipe, thread one end of the clamp and slide into the tube. Ideally, the pipe should run from end to end of the square tube, and you should fasten the clamp’s end. 

2.3 Placing the saw and using it.

The table saw rip fence should be ready for use. Remember that the cracking end of the pipe’s clamp should face your direction. The pipe’s clamp jaw should also point downwards, and the saw should touch both ends. 

With this positioning correctly done and clamp removed, the table saw rip fence is ready to guide your workpiece. The full assembly should slide back and forth effortlessly and adjustable depending on the size of the workpiece. 

For accuracy, always measure the distance between the table saw rip fence and the circular blade. Accordingly, tighten the pipe clamp. Generally, the measured distance should be such that it allows the workpiece to pass through during cutting. 

Figure 3: A home-made rip fence in action. 

A home-made rip fence in action.

Section 3: How to choose the right Rip Fence Tips for your table saw?

Purchasing the best table saw rip fence is quite easy, although you need to follow some steps. Primarily, the steps involve checking for some essential qualities and features that will suit your needs. These features will highlight and discuss below.

Figure 4: A professional performing cross-cutting with a rip fence.

A professional performing cross-cutting with a rip fence.

3.1 Manual or Electric?

If you are just a hobbyist, then a manual table saw rip fence should do for you. It is because you do not have to use the table saw frequently but just occasionally. However, if you are a professional in woodworks, you need a table saw rip fence to save you time and energy. Surely, it is more expensive than the manual rip fence. Nevertheless, as a pro, you will reap the return on your initial investment in the long. 

In essence, for continuous and non-stop cutting from time to time, consider getting the electric table saw rip fence. 

3.2 Rip Capacity.

Table saw rip fence comes with its specific rip capacity and it varies according to the table saw size. Thus, the rip capacity of your fence should correspond to the size of the workpiece. Get the maximum rip capacity fence for convenience when working on large projects, especially. The best rip capacity ranges from 18 to 36 inches.   

3.3 Accessories.

It is always exciting to have a table saw rip fence with all the necessary accessories. It surely makes your work easier and faster since you do not have to improvise at all. Hence, in your quest for a new table saw or rip fence only, always pay attention to the accompanying accessories. These accessories will go a long way in determining the ease at which you will operate the fence. Even though you might have to part way with some extra dollars, it will later pay off. 

3.4 Compatibility.

When purchasing a table saw rip fence, getting one fits different table saw is advisable. This is simply because it saves you the stress of finding compatible table saw tracks and guides. Thus, if you have to change your table saw, the rip fence will still fit in seamlessly.

3.5 Choose a Well Reputed Brand.

Just like every other aspect of life, a great table saw rip fence is not free. In exchange for quality, you have to pay handsomely. Nevertheless, the joy is that you get maximum satisfaction from what you bought with your money. So every money spent will turn into an investment only if you purchase a well-reputed brand. Well-reputed brands of a table saw rip fence have an unrivaled quality and durability. Hence, it is not just enough to spend money but to spend wisely by purchasing reputable brands in the market. 

3.6 Warranty.

A warranty is a basic control measure system put in place on new products to cater for problems. It ensures that if problems occur within a specified period, it will be taken care of by the manufacturer. The warranty period varies from brand to brand, and you should consider this when choosing. 

Section 4: Rip Fence TipsWhat is the best way to use a table saw fence?

The design of a table saw rip fence is simple and for one particular goal. It is to make straight rip cuts along the grain of the wood. Nevertheless, to successfully achieve this goal, some steps have to be taken and put in place, as discussed below.

Figure 5: A properly aligned and parallel workpiece and rip fence. 

A properly aligned and parallel workpiece and rip fence.

4.1 Is Your Rip Fence Up to Par?

It means that your table’s parallel alignment saw rip fence to the saw blade by up to par. A good rip fence not meeting this requirement of being up to par is not reliable for any work. With the rip fence’s lock feature, the rip fence must remain perfectly parallel to avoid accidents and errors.

 4.2 Checking for Parallel Alignment.

Judging alignment of the rip fence and the saw blade by eye is not enough; an alignment tool is necessary. 

4.3 Aligning the Table Saw Blade.

With the precision alignment tool and the information from your table saw manual, you can make the necessary adjustment. The tool used here is known as the table saw gauge. It can test several dimensions on your table, such as rip fence alignment, blade alignment, arbor shaft runout, etc. Now to align the table saw, do the following;

Raise your saw’s blade to its highest position once mounted on the arbor. 

Lay the straight edge of the gauge on the table’s surface and tighten against the blade plate. Ensure that when you tighten, the straight edge is not resting on the teeth to avoid damage.

Measure the distance between the straight edge and the miter slot at each end. If the distance measured from each edge does not agree, then there is misalignment. You would need to loosen some bolts that attach the trunnions to the saw to adjust this misalignment. After that, you can perform the necessary alignment and then re-tighten the components. 

4.4 Checking for Parallel Fence Alignment.

With the saw blade properly aligned, you can check the table saw rip fence parallel alignment. You can check this by setting the rip fence at different distances from the blade and measure the distance, respectively. All measurements must correspond when taken from the front and back of the straight edge. 

If there is still misalignment, then use the rip fence’s adjustment feature till the alignment is right. With these steps, you should have a perfectly aligned blade and rip fence. 

Section 5: Rip Fence TipsShould you upgrade to a professional fence?

Well, this decision is all up to you; if your job requires frequent usage of a table saw, then you must get a professional rip fence. If otherwise, then stick with a simple/home-made fence. 

Summary

In conclusion, we believe you have got all the key information and extensive knowledge about the rip fence. Thus, selecting the best rip fence should not be a problem for you if you have digested this article’s content. At NCCuttingtools, we offer the best cutting tool products and services. Should you need further guidance or assistance, reach out to us now.

How to Cut Wood – A Beginner’s Friendly Guide

A carpenter cutting wood

Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional carpenter, how to cut wood is an essential step in your project?

While it seems like a simple thing to do, the truth is there are numerous ways to cut wood. You might be unsure about the right way to handle your woodcutting project. 

Therefore, we will discuss the items you require for this action in this article. Our team also mentions different types of cuts and the proper steps to complete the process. Here is what you need to know about cutting wood!

How to Cut Wood– Some Other Needed Tools to Cut Besides a Saw?

As you assumed, the first thing you will need is a saw. Therefore, try to pick the best tool to cut wood the desired way. We will talk more below, but miter, circular, table, and jigsaws could all do the trick. Your task is to choose the right tool based on material thickness.

Wood isn’t a rigid material, so standard-quality blades should do the trick. However, carbide blades are more durable and last longer.

You also want to do the cutting on a smooth and even surface. Make sure the surface is stable, significantly, if you are cutting small pieces of wood. A ruler could also be helpful because it will maximize your accuracy. Therefore, don’t hesitate to use it to mark the desired cutting points. Finally, you can also use a straight edge if you want to maintain a line when cutting.

How to Cut Wood– What Type of Wood Cut Do you Need to Make?

Backsaw working on a white background

Caption: Backsaw working on a white background

Now that we are familiar with what tools we need to cut wood, it’s time to learn different cut types. These will help to ensure optimal results every time you use the tool. So, let’s check out the five basic types of cuts for woodworkers. Once you are familiar with them, it will be easy to pick the desired type.

Crosscuts

People say this is the most frequent way of cutting wood. While you are cross-cutting it, your task is to cut across the board’s width or the wood’s grain. Therefore, the board will be shorter, or you will adjust it anyway it suits you. It’s easy to cut wood this way, and since most people are choosing a crosscut, many refer to it when they say “a cut.”

Rip Cuts

You could describe a rip cut as a total opposite of a crosscut. Therefore, you will need to follow the board length while cutting or make a cut with the wood’s grain. As a result, you should shorten the board’s width. The idea is to make it narrow and adjust the width to your preference. It shouldn’t be challenging to get the desired results and maintain accuracy. 

Miter Cuts

Miter cuts are also among the ways to cut wood. If you ever used a miter saw, you might be familiar that this tool serves to make angled cuts. You want to move it diagonally across the board’s width or the wood’s grain. It has the same goal as the crosscut. Therefore, the result should be shortening the board length and adjusting it to the desired requirements.

Bevel Cuts

If you want to make bevel types of woodcuts, please note this is another angled cut. You make it on the material’s edge. That means you grab the wooden application and cut it to change its shape or profile. Depending on your requirements, it’s possible to change the board’s width and length. It’s imperative to maintain maximum accuracy to ensure a neatly cut material.

Compound Miter Cuts

Here is a variation of the basic miter cut. It includes the elements of both bevel and miter types. Therefore, you can use them for projects like crown molding. The idea is to adjust the board’s length and shorten it to the desired requirements.

How to Cut Wood–What Kind of Saw Do You Need to Cut wood?

How to Cut Wood--A carpenter cutting wooden board with a circular saw

Caption: A carpenter cutting wooden board with a circular saw

Miter Saw

Suitable for: Crosscuts, miter, bevel, and compound miter cuts

The first woodcutter tool we talk about is a miter saw. You can use it for narrow boards, and making cross cuts should be a piece of cake. Although 12-inch blades are the most frequent, you can also use sliding miter saws to increase the length when making crosscuts. The tool might not be 100% accurate, but experienced users will know how to make the most of it. You can use a miter saw to make miter and bevel cuts, too, such as for crown molding.

Circular Saw

Suitable for: Crosscuts, miter, bevel, compound miter, and rip cuts

There is no cut type you can’t make with a circular saw. Therefore, these tools are convenient for wider wooden pieces than the ones used with a miter tool. You can use a jig or guide to maximize precision when crosscutting. As for rip cuts, this tool will also deliver decent results when cutting along the grain.

Table Saw

Suitable for: Crosscuts, bevel, miter, and rip cuts

Having a table will secure an even and flat surface when handling the cutting process. Therefore, these tools are excellent for rip cuts and narrowing the boards. It’s possible to handle crosscuts, but make sure that you are careful during the process because you don’t want any kickbacks. If the miter gauge isn’t usable for miter cuts, you can use a special sled for your tool.

Jigsaw

Suitable for: Compound miter cuts, bevel, miter, and crosscuts

If you need to cut specific shapes or angles, you can’t go wrong with a jigsaw. However, it might be hard to maintain accuracy for cutting a straight line. That’s why you need some experience when working with this tool. While it’s suitable for various cut types, it might be tricky to use it with big applications.  

Here is an interesting video that compares circular saws and jigsaws.

How to Cut Wood

How to Cut Wood--Cutting a wooden board with a circular saw

Caption: Cutting a wooden board with a circular saw

It seems that you have everything ready now – you’ve picked the tools, and you know what’s the best way to cut wood for the desired results. The only remaining thing is to perform the actual process. You want to ensure that you take your time when cutting wood. If you rush, you might not get the desired results, and you also increase the risk of injuries.

Here are the steps to take to cut the wood material you picked.

How to Cut Wood–Trim the End of the Board

The initial step is to take a single board’s end and square it. The odds are that the ends are not square, or at least not as square as you might like. That’s why you want to trim the board to ensure it features a flat and even surface. You can quickly check this by using a ruler.

How to Cut Wood–Measure and Mark the Spot with an ”X”

Now, it’s time to check the material’s length. Always begin at the very end and then decide the required length. Once you have the right position, use a pencil to draw an “X” or a dot. Ensure which part of the board you will keep and which to throw away (or keep for upcoming projects). Therefore, the section you save will have the name of being “the good side.”

How to Cut Wood–Position the Blade

Here is what you do next – grab the blade and the cutting wood tool you are using. Make sure you turn off the device and place the blade a bit beyond the spot you marked. Therefore, the edge should be on the blade’s section that you don’t intend to keep for that project. 

It is a nice trick to use because you can always shorten the material, but there is no way to extend it. There, it’s enough to leave about the room’s hair, but make sure there’s some space.

How to Cut Wood–Make the Cut

Here is the crucial part of the process – it’s time to use the saw to cut wood! Now, you want to place the blade properly and activate the tool. Try to keep your hands steady and slowly lower the blade to start cutting. Maintain the direction by following the line you marked and complete the cut.

How to Cut Wood–Adjust the Cut if Necessary

Once you finish cutting, it’s time to see the results. If it seems like the piece is a bit too long, that’s not a problem. Users can use different methods to adjust the cut. The best one is to use the same blade. Therefore, grab the wooden workpiece and slide it into the blade (keep the tool deactivated).

You will notice that the blade’s teeth touch the material’s edge. Raise the blade and activate it, and then lower it to cut to the desired requirement. Do this several times if necessary because you want to get the desired length.

How to Cut Wood– Precautions When Cutting Wood with a Saw

Wear Protective Gear for Your Eyes or Face

How to Cut Wood--Protective goggles

Caption: Protective goggles

  • Don’t Wear Jewelry or Loose Clothing Items
  • Make Sure to Set the Proper Blade Depth
  • Check the Wood
  • Tighten the Clamps Properly

Summary

That rounds up our guide on cutting wood, and we hope you now understand all details. It’s imperative to pick the right tool and establish the desired cut. Once you have all the details sorted out, it should be easy to perform the cut. If you need high-quality tools, don’t hesitate to contact NC Cutting tools. We have modern equipment and skillful experts ready to meet any customized requirements for your order. Feel free to get in touch to discuss the details today!

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