Accurate Panel Rips

Tips for obtaining clean, accurate results when ripping panels to width. October 13, 2005

When ripping 4'x8' sheets on my table saw all day, I find it hard to get accurate and consistent cuts. I'd like to know if a powerfeeder would solve the problem?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
I tried that once with disastrous results. I still think that it can be done, but for me I know that it would require a minimum of 5' of in-feed fence and the same for the out-feed side. I would probably use 2 power feeders also. If I ever build additional square footage onto my shop I may give it another try.

From contributor N:
I don't think a feeder will help you with sheet goods, but a sliding table saw certainly will.

From contributor W:
Save your money. A sliding table is the only answer, but without one, properly located feather-boards keeping the sheet pressed onto the in-feed fence will be as good as a second pair of hands.

From contributor F:
Power feeds aside, there are other tricks to getting accurate rippings. If you need 4 rippings 11.25", rip the sheet in half or rip to 22.75" first. Now you have lighter pieces to hold tight to the fence plus both factory edges to reuse to get a straight rip.

If you really need accuracy, even shops with beam saws sometimes rip oversize to allow the material to relieve its stress, and then cut to final width. With no beam saw or slider myself, my favorite method is a 9 foot 2x6 that I have made the edges straight and parallel on.

I will place the hollow edge of sheet good rippings or solid stock against this board, shim the center of the gap between the two with laminate scrap if the subject piece is limber and then hold the two pieces together as I run them against the fence and through the saw.

From contributor T:
I have a pair of board buddies on an Excalibur fence. These hold the sheet to the fence quite well. My jointer is to the left of the saw and I built a long box that fits on top of the jointer with a row of ball rollers on top that are level with the saw table. This supports the sheet overhang. A big out-feed table takes care of the rest. I always make my first cut a bit oversized so I can eliminate the beat-up factory edge.

From contributor J:
To the original questioner: Do you still have a splitter installed? Everyone removes them not realizing how much it improves a cut and keeps the boards pressed against the fence. Plastic pop-in splitters work ok also.