Shop Notes #1: Pressure bar for sliding table saw.

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Blog entry by vipond33 posted 07-19-2013 02:19 AM 9565 reads 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Notes series Part 2: Side by side finishes. »

This is the first in a small series of items and techniques that I have developed to aid my daily work. Some will be very much aimed at those doing commercial work, others may find a place in any regular enthusiast’s shop.


First up is a device I made today to solve two very frustrating problems when cutting long sheet goods on a sliding table saw.



Any melamine work we do, and most veneered panels, need to be cut with a high TCG blade plus a scoring saw. Trouble comes with warped or curved sheets (pretty much everything other than thick mdf) as the scoring saw sometimes cannot reach the underside and chipping or tear out occurs.

When you’re 8 feet back it’s hard to press down on the centre.
Clamping front and back helps but is very slow and still doesn’t help the middle part.
Clamping a long bar works real well but is even slower.


The other problem occurs when cutting long mitres. Any variation in height results in blunt edges, i.e. exposed substrate or curves. Missed cuts like this can drive you insane on a job. We get paid for perfection, so I made something to make it easily attained.


This is a chunk of white oak, 4 1/2” x 1 1/8” x 105” long. With an integral handle on the end and a notched block at the front to engage our saw’s hold down clamp, I can slide it into place in seconds from the back, press down and cut perfectly.




The bar was bored out with a 3 1/2” bit to lighten it while still retaining all vertical strength, put flat on the slider itself and shimmed out to cut a 1/4” convex belly over the length of it, then trimmed with 3/8” felt on the bottom. The felt avoids having hard pressure points and allows the bar to be slid over the most delicate veneer without damage. The belly means that pressure starts at the centre and creeps back in both directions.

4 board feet, 4 hours work, 4 happy smiles from my co-workers and a delighted boss. Home run.

Coming to my senses and putting soft pine covers over the bolt heads.

After demonstrating it to Josie-Anne, our crackerjack builder from Quebec, we suddenly realized that we now had a perfect way to trim veneer as well.
I detailed the method we use for short lengths in my Medicine cabinet post. Works great but long lengths were always a problem.
Normally we would cut a perfect straight edge of mdf on the panel saw, arrange 10-30 leaves under a top board, put multiple clamps down the length & then climb cut with a router. Good results but really slow.

Now we simply sandwich, press down and cut with 96 teeth versus two, linear attack versus rotational, no clamps,- no contest. Heaven.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

13 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4339 days

#1 posted 07-19-2013 02:38 AM


Don’t have a sliding table saw. Just wanted to say even your jigs a elegant!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4500 days

#2 posted 07-19-2013 03:17 AM

Great idea

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 3890 days

#3 posted 07-19-2013 03:38 AM

Very sweet.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View rance's profile


4282 posts in 4657 days

#4 posted 07-19-2013 04:08 AM

Nice solution Gene. Thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Karson's profile


35301 posts in 5897 days

#5 posted 07-19-2013 04:26 AM

Gene: Great idea

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PASs's profile


605 posts in 4595 days

#6 posted 07-19-2013 05:30 AM

Great concept, beautifully executed.
I always look forward to your posts; and appreciate your explanation for this particular project that describes what isn’t readily visible in the photographs.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View lanwater's profile


3115 posts in 4430 days

#7 posted 07-19-2013 06:15 AM

Great idea indeed.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5378 days

#8 posted 07-19-2013 11:52 AM

You got class, my friend.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 4465 days

#9 posted 07-19-2013 01:53 PM

Great idea, food for thought for sure.

View tinnman65's profile


1444 posts in 4910 days

#10 posted 07-19-2013 06:55 PM

Nice jig, just like that saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”. I don’t have a sliding table saw either but I look forward to any other jigs you have planed for us!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View peteg's profile


4438 posts in 4319 days

#11 posted 07-20-2013 12:05 AM

Gene, you are a wonderful worker with timber & we are all able to benefit form your sharing of knowledge.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 4035 days

#12 posted 07-21-2013 04:15 PM

That’s a great idea. Better than taping or scoring with a knife for each cut. Nothing like that feeling you get when that cut on an $85 sheet of plywood went wrong…

-- I never finish anyth

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3994 days

#13 posted 07-22-2013 02:23 AM

Thanks for the response.
I’ve edited the post to reflect a great new application we’ve discovered for the bar. Who knows, there may be more.


-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

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