Straight Line Rip Saw Versus Table Saw

      Even for moderate volumes, the productivity boost from a straight line rip saw will justify the price difference. May 28, 2006

I'm going to set up a ripping station, rather than use the same table saw for everything. Can you get good results using a power feeder and heavy duty saw, or is a straight line rip worth the extra money? My volume isn't factory huge; a setup that can process parts for 100- 200 cabinet doors per week is my goal.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor L:
If you are looking for a TS&Feeder to produce a straight edge without a fence, it ain't gonna happen. If you are just looking to rip material to width after a straight edge has already been put on the board (with the fence), then the TS&F will work good enough. If you can get a SL second hand, then it would be worth it for you. I get my boards from my supplier with a SLR on one edge.

From contributor J:
I agree with the above. I worked in a shop with a SLR and a laser for ripping. We would rip one edge while the lumber was rough, then start milling. Once parts were milled, we could run them through a Tannewitz with a 1 hp feeder and rip to finish widths. With the volume you do, it should pay for itself fairly quickly.

From contributor B:
Some of the import SLR's are a great value for the money. I bought mine from Lobo and there are others (Sunhill comes to mind). It wasn't what I wanted, but a deal was three times the price. I paid $7200 some years ago and am very happy. The comparison between a TS&F and this is like night and day. I would spend the money for a SLR, even an import. Getting material SLR'd is okay, but re-rips are easier with the SLR and faster. Changes are faster than a feeder that is mounted on an arm that moves. The SLR just goes up and down.

From contributor C:
At the volume of doors you are producing, don't even bother with the feeder and TS; go straight to the straight line rip saw. Diehl and Mattison are the two biggest names, but there are several others. I'd buy a used one because I can't imagine one of these battleships ever wearing out. These are dedicated machines for ripping rough stock to rough width, which when done correctly, can make a huge difference in your profit margin in a short time, considering the cost of wood these days. In the old days, a really clever sawyer could make the difference between a profitable company and a bankrupt one, and a straight-line rip saw was his biggest asset. Check around for a good used one. They are going pretty cheap these days if you have the ability to pick it up and move it.

From contributor G:
We produce the same amount of doors you are referring to. You could not trade me ten tablesaws with feeders for my one SLR saw. There is just no comparison between the two. With your volume, if you can not justify the purchase of a SLR, you are not doing something right. Do not ask "How much will this saw cost?" but "How much will this saw save?"

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