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TABLE SAW BASIC CUTS
Introduction
Setup and Features
Saw Blades
Special Table Inserts
Table Saw Safety
Blade Projection
Table Saw Speeds
Crosscutting
Ripping

 

Crosscutting

Crosscutting, cutting a board perpendicular to or across the grain, is one of the most common wood-working operations. It's also known as a “cutoff” operation, or cutting a board to length.

Basic Crosscutting Techniques
To make a crosscut, first mount the proper saw blade. Make sure both the upper and lower saw guards are in place and that the splitter on Model 500 or the riving knife on the Model 510 is directly in line with the saw blade.

Adjust the table height so that the saw blade will protrude about 1/4" above the stock. When the table height is properly adjusted, make a five-point check. All five locks--power plant, carriage, table height, table tilt, and quill--should be secure.

Check that the miter gauge is square to the blade, and adjust the safety grip to the thickness of the stock. Warning: Always use the miter gauge to guide the stock as you saw it.

Decide on which side--right or left--of the blade is the most comfortable for you to stand when you saw. Warning: Do not stand directly in line with the blade. Place the miter gauge in the slot on the same side of the blade that you're standing.

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Figure 2-17. Mark the stock where you want to cut it, using a square and a sharp pencil. An "X" will help you remember which is the waste side of the stock.

Mark the stock where you want to cut it, using a square and a sharp pencil (Figure 2-17). Remember that the saw usually makes a 1/8" kerf as it cuts. If you cut straight down in the middle of your line, your stock will be 1/16" short. Instead, cut on the outside of the line.

Squeeze the safety grip to clamp the stock in the miter gauge. Push the stock forward until it touches the saw teeth so that you can see if the cutline is properly aligned with the blade.

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Figure 2-18. Use your free hand to help support the board and keep it flat against the miter gauge.

Pull the stock away from the blade. Turn on the Mark V, turn the speed dial to the proper speed, and let the machine come up to speed. Then carefully guide the stock past the blade. Use your free hand to help support the stock and keep it flat against the face of the miter gauge (Figure 2-18).

When crosscutting narrow stock or cutting off a thin piece, use a special insert (Figure 2-11) or move the blade close to the table saw insert on the side of the blade where the stock is being cut. This will help keep small pieces of stock from falling through the insert.

Don't feed the stock any faster than the blade will cut. If the machine bogs down, slow your feed rate and let the saw get back up to running speed.

Warning: Never use your free hand to push against the free end of the stock. This binds the blade and can result in a dangerous kickback. Use your free hand for additional support only. After the cut is complete, turn the speed dial to “Slow” and turn off the machine. Warning: Never pick up a cutoff while the blade is still running. Your hand holding the miter gauge could slip Into the blade; your free hand might nudge the cutoff into the blade, causing a kickback; or the action of the blade on the cutoff might pull your free hand into the blade. It takes only a few seconds for the blade to stop after the switch has been turned off.

Crosscutting Long Boards
Chances are that when you start cutting boards to length, you'll start out with boards 8' long or longer. Crosscutting a long board can be awkward on a table saw, but here are a few simple techniques to help make this task easier.

If possible, don't start by cutting. little pieces off the end of the long board. This is hard to do accurately. Instead, start cutting long boards in the middle. This gets them down to a manageable length quickly.

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Figure 2-19. When crosscutting long stock on the Model 510, use the extension table system.

Use an extension table mounted in either the power mount or the base mount-whichever end of the board needs the most support. If you crosscut a lot of long boards, you will want to invest in a second extension table so that you can support the stock at both ends. The Model 510 has the extension table system that provides additional support for cross-cutting operations (Figure 2-19).

A miter gauge extension will also provide extra work support because it increases the surface area of the miter gauge. Actually, it's good practice to use an extension on all crosscut work, especially if the workpiece is long.

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Figure 2-20. The standard miter gauge extension provides extra support when crosscutting.

The extension that is available for the Mark V, shown mounted in Figure 2-20, comes with attachment hardware and is easily mounted because of the pair of slots that are part of the miter gauge design. The position of the extension can be reversed so it can be placed in the miter gauge for use on either side of the saw blade.

It's a good idea to have several extensions on hand, each one for a specific purpose. Should you wish to make your own, the standard extension can be used as a pattern or use the dimensions and hole locations in Figure 2-21.

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Figure 2-21. Dimensions and hole locations for a homemade miter gauge extension.

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Figure 2-22. Construction details of an adjustable miter gauge extension.

Figure 2-22 shows an adjustable miter gauge extension that is ideal for crosscutting and mitering. Use a router to form the 1/4" slot that positions the extension on the miter gauge. In the same way, form a 5/8" wide counterbored slot centered on the 1/4" slot to accept the two carriage bolt heads. Glue fine sandpaper to the face, as mentioned later, for more holding power.

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Figure 2-23. Use a long miter gauge extension when crosscutting long stock.

Miter gauge extensions do not have to be a specific length. When crosscutting extra-long pieces, the extension can span across the table and beyond it (Figure 2-23). When necessary, the extension can rest on the extension table. When you use a long extension, the saw blade will cut through it. This will not harm the extension, and the kerf that is formed can be used as a guide. The cut line can be marked on the stock with a square and then aligned with the kerf in the extension. Thus you know beforehand the line that the saw blade will follow. When you mark the stock, be sure to place the head of the square against the edge that will bear against the extension. Check the miter gauge adjustment if the kerf doesn't follow the line. You can use the miter gauge safety grip with an extension.

Many woodworkers face extensions with fine sandpaper to provide a high-friction surface that is an aid on all operations, but especially useful when the miter gauge is adjusted for an angular cut. The sandpaper helps to keep the workpiece from moving or drifting when cutting miters. The sandpaper may be applied to the extension with rubber cement.

Crosscutting to Length

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Figure 2-24. The kerf in a miter gauge extension can be used as a guide when crosscutting to length.

Except for squaring off the end of a board, crosscutting is usually done to cut a piece, or several pieces, to an exact length. When you need only one piece, the simplest method is to cut to a line that you have marked with a square. You can visually align the mark on the workpiece with the saw blade or YOU can use a miter gauge extension that has a kerf through it (Figure 2-24).

Other methods should be used when you need more than one piece of the same length. One method is to work with the miter gauge stop rod (Figure 2-25). By adjusting the two rods, any number of pieces can be cut to any length up to 18". The stop rod can be used at either side of the miter gauge, which allows it to be used whether the miter gauge is on the left or right side of the blade. For short pieces, up to 8" long, secure the short rod in the miter gauge and use the long rod as an adjustable stop. For longer workpieces, up to 18", secure the long rod in the miter gauge and use the short rod as an adjustable stop.

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Figure 2-25. The miter gauge stop rod can be used to gauge the length of long or short workpieces dependir on which rod is secured in the miter gauge.

 

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Figure 2-26. To adjust the miter gauge stop rod for length of cut, measure between the rod and blade. If the blade has set teeth, measure from the tip of a tooth that points toward the rod.

Adjust the stop rod for the length you require (Figure 2-26) by measuring between the end of the rod and the blade. If the blade has set teeth, be sure to measure from the tip of a tooth that points toward the rod. Once the setting is made, any number of pieces can be sawn to the same length by butting the end of the workpiece against the stop rod and making the pass. Warning: Do not position the miter gauge stop rod so that it crosses in front of the blade.

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Figure 2-27. The miter gauge extension has a sliding stop so it can be used to gauge the length of one or more workpieces. Notice how the extension table provides extra support.

A miter gauge extension that you make yourself can be used for cutting duplicate pieces (Figure 2-27). The extension, which can be used whether the miter gauge is on the left or right side of the saw blade, will allow cutting of duplicate pieces as long as 24". To use it, measure between the sliding stop and the saw blade and then do the sawing.

 

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Figure 2-28. Construction details of a miter gauge extension with sliding stop. Click on image for larger view.

Construction details of the extension are shown in Figure 2-28. When you make the stop, allow just a fraction of clearance so it can slide smoothly in the extension's T-shaped slot. Accessories you make, like this one, should be carefully made, smoothly sanded, and given one or two applications of a penetrating sealer. When you treat them right, they become tools that will function for as long as you do woodworking.

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Figure 2-29. The workpiece is placed well ahead of the blade and butted against a spacer that is (A) clamped or (B) screwed to the rip fence. When the pass is complete, there will be ample room between the fence and the blade so the cutoff can't be trapped and kicked back.

Spacers for the Rip Fence--The rip fence can assist in cutting-to-length operations if a spacer is clamped or screwed to the rip fence (Figure 2-29). The spacer must be at least 1-1/2" thick. Figure 2-30 shows how a screw-type spacer is made. Warning: The rip fence alone must never be used as a stop to gauge the length of a cutoff. The cutoff, when the pass is complete, will bind between the fence and the blade and be kicked back.

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Figure 2-30. Construction details of a screw-type spacer.

 

 

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Figure 2-31. Another stop design. Its advantage is that it can be locked at any point along the rip fence. This makes it usable for more than cutoff work.

The distance between the fence and the blade minus the thickness of the spacer determines the length of the cutoff. The workpiece is butted against the spacer and then advanced for cutting. When the pass is completed, there is ample room between the rip fence and the blade so the workpiece can't be trapped.

Another spacer design is shown in Figure 2-31. An advantage of this one, made as shown in Figure 2-32, is that it can be placed anywhere on the rip fence, which makes it usable for other wood-working operations. Warning: The workpiece MUST clear the spacer well before the end of the cut to avoid binding the work-piece between the spacer and the blade.

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Figure 2-32. Construction details of a movable spacer.

Crosscutting Wide Stock

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Figure 2-33. The front table extension, an accessory for Model 500, can line up with either table slot and increases table depth in front of the blade by 7".

Crosscutting wide boards requires maximum support in front of the blade. On the Model 500, actual table length in front of the blade with projection set to cut 3/4" stock is about 7", which is good support for average work. On the Model 510 there is 10" of table in front of the blade.

A front table extension (Figure 2-33) is available as an accessory for the Model 500. This increases the usable table depth in front of the saw blade by 7". A single locking knob makes it easy to attach or remove; its miter gauge slot is compatible with the slots in the worktable.

Crosscutting Extra-Thick Stock

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Figure 2-34. You can cut extra-thick material by working this way. Make one cut a bit more than halfway through the stock. Mark the cutline, invert the stock, and make a second pass. Warning: Work with extreme caution because the upper saw guard Is removed for both passes.

When you are cutting unusually thick material and the machine's maximum depth of cut won't allow you to cut through in a single pass, you can do the job by making two passes. Warning: When cutting part way through stock, it is necessary to remove the upper saw guard. Whenever the upper guard is removed, keep the lower guard in place and work with extreme caution.

Set the blade's projection to a little more than half the stock's thickness and make one pass. Use a square so you can pencil mark the line of the kerf down one side of the stock. Invert the stock and place it so the pencil mark is in line with the saw blade and make a second pass (Figure 2-34).

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