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Making cuts to the inside of the angle on a Table Saw - fence to the left.

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Forum topic by chase posted 02-20-2021 02:03 PM 1086 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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chase

10 posts in 92 days


02-20-2021 02:03 PM

I’ve got a question for you guys here at Lumber Jocks.

I was always taught when using the table saw to cut angles you make the cut with the fence to the outside of the angle. To be clear, if the blade tilts to the left for angle cuts< which most do, then you would have your fence to the right of the blade and make the cut. And the reason I was told to do this was due to binding issues if done the other way with the fence to the left, or inside of the angle.

And this is the rule I’ve gone by without questioning it.

I stumbled on this video in which the guy is making a bowling ball from plywood. Which you can watch at the below link:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bovwMvNZ8yg

It’s a pretty cool project indeed. And you’ll see in the first couple minutes what I’m referencing and has me questioning what I was taught in woodworking let alone table saw safety.

If you watch it you’ll notice he makes all cuts on the table saw to the left or inside of the angles. Fence to the left of the blade. No binding. No kickback…

Is this common practice now a days? Obviously this guy makes cuts this way as the norm. Having kick back or binding all the time I would think would change which side of the blade to make these cuts on. Apparently that hasn’t happened.

Do you guys make angle cuts to the inside of the angle, fence to the left as he is doing? Was I taught wrong all along?

You all here at Lumber Jocks are far more seasoned woodworkers than I am… what say you?

cheers…


13 replies so far

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Jim2020

72 posts in 321 days


#1 posted 02-20-2021 02:56 PM

First, a better way to describe your question would be to refer to the cuts as bevels rather than angles.

People do all sorts of things while woodworking. Doing it one way or another doesn’t really make it right or wrong. There is a logical reason for how you were taught to cut bevels. There might be a logical reason for the Youtuber to cut the bevel the way he’s cutting it. I don’t know.

Just because kickback is possible when cutting, doesn’t make that technique unsafe. It just means there is some risk to doing it that way. For instance, I don’t have a riving knife, and don’t use a splitter on my table saw. Is that wrong? Well that depends. To me the risk I take of kickback is off set by the convenience and other safety benefits of cutting without those safety devices.

The long and short of it is; understand what you’re doing. Consider the risks (after all woodworking itself involves a bit of risk) and the benefits, and follow the procedure you’re most comfortable with. BTW, the material you’re working with may dictate one approach over another. Keep thinking, and good luck. Jim

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Aaron312

49 posts in 482 days


#2 posted 02-20-2021 04:28 PM

If you are using a miter gauge, its ok for the miter gauge to be on the left (on a left tilt saw) because the cutoff piece has someplace to go on the right side without binding. At least according to this Stumpy Nubs video. That is how I have always done it.

If you are doing a rip cut using your fence (left tilt saw), then the saved piece and your fence must be on the right

https://youtu.be/7aZCdt8Cs8M?t=481

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SMP

3981 posts in 988 days


#3 posted 02-20-2021 04:29 PM

I’ve done it without issues, just don’t tell the safety police. Also some things that are unsafe with say sugar pine, are safer with plywood. Sugar pine tends to have a mind of its own as it loses tension from ripping, where plywood is super stable however you cut it.

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tmasondarnell

152 posts in 2872 days


#4 posted 02-20-2021 04:56 PM

I don’t feel comfortable doing it and I do not do it.

That is my decision.

For 45 bevels, I do have a sled that I use and will often use a stop block to the left of the blade. My understanding is that because the piece is not moving, but riding on the sled, it is far less likely to twist and kick back.

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DBwoods

32 posts in 482 days


#5 posted 02-21-2021 01:56 AM

My feeling would be with the blade tilting into the fence you have less space to hold the wood. I’ve always done my rips with the blade tilted away, but I have used a miter gauge and pushed on the left.

-- At some point in your life you will use everyone of your tools as a hammer.

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Madmark2

2658 posts in 1670 days


#6 posted 02-21-2021 04:12 AM

If the blade is tilted towards the fence while ripping the main piece can easily force a kickback by pressing down on the infeed. This is why its considered “unsafe” vs the mirror operation (blade tilt away from fence).

Under the general rule of risk minimization this type of cut should not be “standard practice”, there are occasional instances it may be used IF the operator is experienced and is fully aware of the risks.

Myself I plan my cut sequences to avoid lefthanded rips.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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chase

10 posts in 92 days


#7 posted 02-21-2021 02:25 PM

Some interesting takes on the subject.

Thanks for pointing out the correct term to use. I’m not up on my woodworking terminology. It’s been a while.

I hope I didn’t come off as a safety cop. I was really curious as to whether I was taught wrong or if things were different now a days.

As far as I know, table saws with out riving knives the fence is set up differently than those with riving knives to help prevent kick back. Or at least they use to. Perhaps that’s were not making ripped bevels with the fence on the on the side to the blade angle comes from.

There have been times I have wanted to cut the bevel with the fence to the left but didn’t. I’ll stick to what I was taught for now.

And yeah, I saw that Stumpy video shortly after posting the question. He’s got some good videos. Thanks!

cheers…

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Jim2020

72 posts in 321 days


#8 posted 02-21-2021 08:40 PM

You didn’t come off as a “safety cop”. Your question was a good one. I think MadMark had the best in site to the risk. Understand the risk, and proceed accordingly. Jim

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therealSteveN

7687 posts in 1656 days


#9 posted 02-22-2021 03:31 AM

For both right, and left tilt saws the blade should tilt away from the fence, and this allows the offcut to fall onto the saws top. As with any rip cut a person has greater control using a push stick.

Some are concerned more on a bevel than a rip for kickback, and it isn’t rare to see folks rigging a saw with hold downs, and feather boards. The pic below comes from Wood magazine.

I personally wouldn’t use the feather boards. This is a right tilter.

Left tilt saw.

-- Think safe, be safe

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HokieKen

17547 posts in 2221 days


#10 posted 02-22-2021 01:36 PM

The risk of binding and kickback is certainly a concern. Personally, I usually cut with the blade tilted toward the fence with narrower pieces for the simple reason that the blade tends to hold the work down rather than try to push it up. If I have room to safely hold the board down by hand like SteveN’s second pic above, then I’ll move the fence to the other side. And the setup he shows in the first picture is probably the safer cut than what I would do. But there’s a lot of set up required there and I’m lazy ;-)

It should also be noted that the guy in the YouTube video has a European fence which to some degree lessens the risk of kickback due to relieved stresses in the wood after the cut.

Finally , it should also be noted that very few fences are actually set dead parallel to the blade. I heeled mine out by about .005-.010” when I set it up to avoid binding. So, when I move my fence to the other side of the blade, it’s heeled in by that same amount which would contribute to binding. A sacrificial face on the fence up to the center of the blade (mimicking a European fence) alleviates that.

Basically, I say all that to say: Think it through and use your best judgement for each cut ;-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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chase

10 posts in 92 days


#11 posted 02-22-2021 11:25 PM



...

It should also be noted that the guy in the YouTube video has a European fence which to some degree lessens the risk of kickback due to relieved stresses in the wood after the cut.

Your comment had me go back and look at the video in more detail at his fence.

I see it’s the high/low style fence which I think europe has regulations which require a high/low fence which I’ve seen a couple manufactures pick up on. I thought that was so the blade guard could remain on when making close cuts. Which he’s not using a blade guard, and is using it with the high side up. I didn’t know that had anything to do with kick back other than making sure or allowing the blade guard to stay on. I’ve never used a saw with this style fence so… I don’t know much about them.

I see what you said about the fence not having a second secure point and stopping just past the blade. But I also see his fence moving quite a bit. Just looking at it flex while he’s cutting has me thinking about accuracy. And not liking what I’m seeing. Though it may be great… as mentioned I’ve never used that style fence before… I’m use to something a little more rigid.

Have you tried one of those style fences that stop just past the blade? How can you get an accurate cut if it flexes like his does? Maybe it’s just the camera angle, but it looks like it’s flexing out a fair amount.

Finally , it should also be noted that very few fences are actually set dead parallel to the blade. I heeled mine out by about .005-.010” when I set it up to avoid binding. So, when I move my fence to the other side of the blade, it s heeled in by that same amount which would contribute to binding. A sacrificial face on the fence up to the center of the blade (mimicking a European fence) alleviates that.

- HokieKen

Exactly my point above about table saws with out riving knives and paws. The fence is to be set up heeled out a tad using only the front of the blade with no contact on the back of the blade is the theory. Hence no kick back on the cut piece.

I get the theory, and seen it set up that way in practice with cuts being made but have yet to try it. That is the way I was taught to set the fence up but was also taught to set it up without heeling it out, to make it true to the miter slot/blade so… I don’t know.

As you state, if you heel it out, if you move the fence to the other side, it’s now heeled in, and would have to be reset. I think that is part of what kept me from heeling mine out. Plus I don’t see how the cut remains accurate, and the cut off piece isn’t forced into the rear of the blade when pushing the board through. If the one side is going away from the blade, so is the other.. It may be the correct way… but it just felt off some how so I’ve been setting mine up true through out.

I’ve experienced kick back before on a commercial saw – it’s no fun getting punched in the gut with a sheet of 3/4 hardwood ply. lol

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7687 posts in 1656 days


#12 posted 02-23-2021 04:57 AM


Basically, I say all that to say: Think it through and use your best judgement for each cut ;-)

- HokieKen

That right there is THEE nugget of this entire thread, and it should apply to all saw cuts, not just bevels.

-- Think safe, be safe

View AlanWS's profile

AlanWS

138 posts in 4640 days


#13 posted 02-25-2021 08:12 PM

I once spoke to a guy who had done extensive research on causes of kickback. What he told me was that if you cut a bevel with the blade tilted toward the fence, kickback is not very likely. However, if you get kickback, it likely will be much more severe than other kickback, as in throwing the stock completely through the wall, rather than simply embedding into it.

-- Alan in Wisconsin

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