Advice on how to make a cut

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Forum topic by CH53ECC posted 03-11-2014 06:15 AM 1371 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CH53ECC's profile


16 posts in 2649 days

03-11-2014 06:15 AM

I’m new to this hobby and not sure the safest way to make a cut on the table saw. I was doing a tongue and groove cut to a 6”x6”x3/4” piece. I was running the wood upright along the fence and since it was only 3/4” wide I didn’t feel entirely comfortable having my hand right over the blade. I was using a Kreg featherboard to hold it snug against the fence. What is the safest way to go about making this kind of cut with a narrow piece?

11 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8416 posts in 4450 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 09:11 AM

I’d use a longer work piece, make the tongue and groove along the length, then trim it to the required 6” length. Feed the board so that your hands are never directly over the blade. A feather board is a good idea.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View BilltheDiver's profile


262 posts in 3960 days

#2 posted 03-11-2014 10:38 AM

To start, I assume you have a zero clearance insert for the saw. If not, make one before attempting this cut.

If your concern is for cutting the groove, I would say that it will likely be shallow and the cut completely enclosed, so on a 6 inch board you should be able to keep your hand safely away from the blade. The featherboard is a good idea.

For the tongue, I would use a tenoning jig if possible. It will stabilize the wood, keep your hand away from the blade, and allow fine tuning of the size of the tongue.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View MrFid's profile


908 posts in 2979 days

#3 posted 03-11-2014 11:15 AM

Start by making/buying and using push sticks, and also follow knotscott’s idea of leaving it long and trimming if you can. Depending on your table saw, you may be able to come up with a taller fence using another board, which will give your workpiece more registration against the fence. Also, and I assume you know this already, you should be lining up your featherboard and inch or so in front of the blade in your table saw. Having the featherboard even with the blade will result in pinching and a likely kickback. Sorry if you knew that already, but you may not if you’re new to the hobby. Best of luck!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View CH53ECC's profile


16 posts in 2649 days

#4 posted 03-12-2014 05:34 AM

Thanks for the advice I think my next project will be making a tenon jig. I have plenty of push sticks but I did not know to keep the featherboard an inch back thanks for the heads up.

View Greg's profile


335 posts in 3948 days

#5 posted 03-12-2014 08:22 AM

CH, BilltheDiver is right about keeping the featherboard(f/b) in front of the blade (Doesn’t need to be a full inch, but just so it clears the front of the blade WHEN UNDER PRESSURE FROM A WORKPIECE.) However, I can think of times though when it IS OK to have a featherboard over or even behind the blade, and it sounds like you may be able to do this.

Let me explain. The whole idea of a featherboard is to keep the stock against the fence. The reasons Bill said to keep it in front, is so that any lineal scrap would not pinch against the left-hand side of the blade as the cut is being made. You may or may not have any lineal scrap (if everything coming off the tongue & groove is sawdust, then you do not) Therefore, a hypothetical long featherboard which spans the whole blade would serve your purpose well and be safe, like in this example below. This would keep one side of the blade protected or at least partially protected, if not higher than your featherboard thickness.

Or you could put one at the front and one at the back of the blade, and overlap the blade too like shown here.

Note in these two T&G scenarios, there is only sawdust being produced. Keep in mind, the first scenario only works when there is still enough meat touching the f/b after the rabbet is made.

Another option that might help since your piece is a bit tall, which I use on a custom ripping jig, would be raising your f/b up off the T-saw surface so the f/b pushes more against the center of the fence.

One last idea would be to make a tall auxiliary fence which would allow you to use featherboards and push sticks.

I hope this helps. It took me a while to draw these in CAD. LOL!

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View CH53ECC's profile


16 posts in 2649 days

#6 posted 03-12-2014 04:34 PM

Ok that makes sense Greg appreciate the detailed explanation. Never found a group of people more willing to help. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting in over the top of my head.

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 4795 days

#7 posted 03-12-2014 06:06 PM

I know the question was about using the tablesaw, but I’d feel safer making this on a router table or with a hand plane. Plus the setup would be easier and quicker.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

549 posts in 4591 days

#8 posted 03-12-2014 06:38 PM

Check out these push sticks and while you are at it, look around on Matthias’ site. Lots of ways to avoid getting into trouble.

-- jstegall

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3764 days

#9 posted 03-13-2014 02:50 AM

I would definitely clamp that to my shop made tenoning jig!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View waho6o9's profile


9018 posts in 3651 days

#10 posted 03-13-2014 03:28 AM

Bingo +1 for gfadvm.

Kudos for seeking safety advice, if you’re unsure don’t do it.

Personally, I only run stock that’s longer than the size of the blade.

If it’s a 10 inch blade, then 14 inch stock is the minimum that I’ll run.

The gripper from Micro Jig is a great addition.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3145 days

#11 posted 03-13-2014 03:33 AM

waho6o9 hit the nail on the head. I use a mini table saw setup for small stock, and even use my gripper on that.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

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