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Processing on a vertical panel saw7/14/17
I need some advise. I recently added a new to me Striebig Compact. I have it all set and tuned in and a I'm ready to roll with it. My question is this. What's the most efficient way to break down panels?
Congratulations on your Striebig Joe! That was my favorite panel processing saw.
You can get two clean rips without rotating if you maintain the kerf gap with spacers as you rip. This does affect sharpening longevity, and is less efficient than crosscutting. Rather than wood shims, I used flexible plastic body filler spreaders for the spacers. Easier on melamine edges.
Some tips based on my experience:
For accuracy, preset as many stops as possible for rip cuts, including the trim or dust cut.
I processed almost exclusively melamine without a scoring blade. The best blade I used was the one recommended by Striebig for melamine. It was also less expensive than blades suggested by local tooling houses.
Stack cutting whenever possible will save time, especially thinner material like drawer sides or bottoms.
When you can afford it, get a digital gauge for setting rip cuts, if you do not have one. This will speed and improve accuracy especially on fence settings that are not on the stops.
Do a search on Woodweb for "Striebig" or "vertical panel saw". There are plenty of threads to cull information on vertical saw processing. I contributed to a number of them from 2009 - 2013 when I was using mine.
And yes, I would crosscut a sheet to square it first. This squares the entire sheet, so you don't need to do it on successive rips.
I take a wag at how many rips I need for a given size, then just rip horizontally a half inch oversized on the vertical panel saw. I finish the rip in the tablesaw. Once ripped to size I crosscut.
I'm not a huge fan of ripping to size horizontally on my Compact. The spring in sheets creates irregular finished size parts. In the tablesaw, the flaw flows around the fence and isn't as noticeable. Ripping right to size requires me ripping it twice to get straight edges on some sheets after the internal tension has been released.
I start with the deepest cabinets and work my way down the widths required, burning up the drops as I go. My regular deck depth on wall cabinets is 11¾", in that case I just rip the sheets in half on the panel saw, and double rip them on the tablesaw
I use ¾" plywood, the shelf in the Striebig only handles two parts stacked up, but any time you can cut more than one part at a time you'll be making better use of your investment.
I got a Compact Plus in 2011, one of the best purchases I have made for my little shop. It's payback is more in the quality of cut and squareness affecting assembly more than the ease of use and back savings, (though that is pretty awesome too).