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Ripping plywood

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  • Ripping plywood


    I know its a no no to cross cut against the grain using the fence on a table saw. Does the same rule apply to plywood and 3/8" material such as waincotting? (sp?)

    I havent used the table saw to cut this material because without the fence its hard to guide and I havent used the fence since I'm not sure if its dangerous/incorrect. I've been using a jig saw with a guide but its not working that well.

  • #2
    The no-no is using your miter gage *AND* the fence on crosscuts as you run the risk of "trapping" the workpiece. If the piece is large enough, which in your instance is plywood, should be no problem using your fence.

    As you no doubt know, plywood is composed of a number of thin layers of wood going in alternate directions so normal "grain" situation doesn't really apply to plywood. With large pieces, you are really performing a ripcut for all intents and purposes. Top layer of plywood may be cross grain, but every alternate layer will be with grain.


    • #3
      Hergy's right, on plywood there is not a real "grain direction". The warning against ripping across the grain comes less from a supposed danger from ripping across the grain. The greater danger is from using the rip fence to cross cut a board that is significantly longer than the width of the board, making it hard to keep the board square against the fence. In these cases it is a much better practice to use the miter gauge. There will be cases where is will be safer to rip across the grain than to use a miter gauge. An example would be taking a 6" length of 1 x 12 down to 3", in this case using the rip fence is the only way to make that cut safely.