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Old 02-19-2008, 10:22 PM   #1
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ripping safely with a circular saw


Gang -

I am interested in proper circular saw ripping techniques. I know a lot of the basics such as using a sharp blade, keeping both hands on the tool, setting the blade depth correctly, wearing eye protection, not standing directly behind the saw in case of kickback.

Here is my situation: say I want to trim 1" off an 8' pine board. I have the board well supported and a guide clamped to it. What should I do about the waste stock that I have just cut and is now starting to hang down? Assuming I have no one to help me should I just let it hang or stop the cut part way through and rig some support to hold it up? I want to minimize the risk of kickback but I also don't want the piece to snap off under its own weight before I finish the cut.

Any other ripping safety techniques/tips would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Bob

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Old 02-20-2008, 06:22 AM   #2
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ripping safely with a circular saw


Just set something up before you start cutting that will catch the waste piece. It should be a couple inches lower than the workpiece, so the blade doesn't hit it.

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Old 02-20-2008, 08:14 AM   #3
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ripping safely with a circular saw


Thanks. What would you say is the minimum width that I could expect to successfully rip/trim with a circular saw? Would a blade with a high # of teeth allow me to trim narrower pieces?
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:23 AM   #4
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ripping safely with a circular saw


generally for ripping you use fewer teeth, as fine-tooth blades are VERY slow in ripping operations. Save those for cross-cuts. The limiting factor for ripping narrow pieces is going to be how safely and accurately you can balance the saw. If you're ripping a narrow piece of a wide piece and can set up a fence, then you should be able to shave off as small a bit as you want. You just need a place to run the saw. You can rip narrower workpieces by making a sled that holds the workpiece, and that you rip the workpiece on top off. It would be a long piece of 3/4" ply, perhaps 12" wide, with a 6" wide strip screwed to the top of it.
Put the workpiece next to the 6" strip, and run your saw on top of the 6" strip, setting the blade to just cut through the workpiece.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:49 AM   #5
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ripping safely with a circular saw


Quote:
Originally Posted by NateHanson View Post
You can rip narrower workpieces by making a sled that holds the workpiece, and that you rip the workpiece on top off. It would be a long piece of 3/4" ply, perhaps 12" wide, with a 6" wide strip screwed to the top of it.
Put the workpiece next to the 6" strip, and run your saw on top of the 6" strip, setting the blade to just cut through the workpiece.
Nate, thanks for the 'sled' idea. I read the description slowly & carefully and think I get it. Just to be sure ....

- when you say "rip narrower pieces" are you talking about the entire piece being narrow or the portion to be removed being narrow?
- I would still use a fence/guide clamped on top of the 6" piece
- This allows cutting narrower pieces that could not easily be clamped by themselves?
- but wouldn't this narrow piece still have to be clamped to keep it from moving and wouldn't these clamps get in the way of the blade path on a narrow piece?
- the saw blade would cut into the base plywood just a little, right?
- the base would keep the cut portion from falling

Do I have most of this right?

I think maybe I have seen pictures of these sleds somewhere on this site so I will see if I can dig them up.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:08 AM   #6
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ripping safely with a circular saw


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyC777 View Post
Nate, thanks for the 'sled' idea. I read the description slowly & carefully and think I get it. Just to be sure ....

- when you say "rip narrower pieces" are you talking about the entire piece being narrow or the portion to be removed being narrow?
I'm talking about narrow workpieces. Ripping a tiny strip off a wide workpiece is easy since you have a lot of board to rest the saw on, and you con clamp a fence to the side of the board that the motor is on. But when the workpiece is narrower than the base of the saw, you'll need an extension to clamp your fence to, and also better support for the saw, so it's not teetering on a narrow workpiece.
Quote:
- I would still use a fence/guide clamped on top of the 6" piece
yes
Quote:
- This allows cutting narrower pieces that could not easily be clamped by themselves?
yes
Quote:
- but wouldn't this narrow piece still have to be clamped to keep it from moving and wouldn't these clamps get in the way of the blade path on a narrow piece?
just depends on your comfort level. I'd put a stop at the end of the sled, so the workpiece can't ride off the end of the sled (glue this on, because you'll be cutting through it). If you want more security you could put a couple nails through the bottom of the sled, and clip them so that only 1/8" protrudes. Then you'd press your workpiece onto those nails (make sure your blade won't hit them). Combined with the end-stop, your workpiece will be plenty secure.
Quote:
- the saw blade would cut into the base plywood just a little, right?
yes
Quote:
- the base would keep the cut portion from falling
yes
Quote:

Do I have most of this right?

I think maybe I have seen pictures of these sleds somewhere on this site so I will see if I can dig them up.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:16 AM   #7
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ripping safely with a circular saw


I get it! I like the stop idea.

Great answers - I appreciate it. Thanks for your time & patience. Nice site.

Bob

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