Benefits of a Sliding Table Saw

In Session 6 of the ongoing Maple Trestle Table build, I needed to cut two stretchers from a slab of maple and my sliding table saw was the best tool for the job.  Note that I used a riving knife for every cut.

Crosscut Fence

I first crosscut the slab to length using the crosscut fence and outrigger for support.  The crosscut fence, which was much longer and more solid than a mitre gauge, was secured to the outrigger and sliding table.  The workpiece sat directly on the outrigger and sliding table so I didn’t lose any depth of cut.  Together, the slab, sliding table, outrigger and crosscut fence glided past the blade on ball bearings.

Straight-Line Ripping

Once the stock was cut to length, I turned it length-wise to rip one edge straight.  I butted one end against the back of the crosscut fence and positioned a cam-action hold-down at the other end.  I positioned the workpiece where I thought it needed to be to rip a clean, straight edge (I could have also measured to be more accurate).  Then I secured the slab with the hold-down and pushed the sliding table and slab through the blade.  Because the slab wasn’t perfectly flat, I also applied downward pressure to the forward end.

Short Fence

With one straight edge established, I then needed to rip two pieces of the same width.  I positioned the rip fence the appropriate distance from the blade and retracted the fence to the short fence position.  In this position, the fence terminated where (or slightly before) the stock was parted by the blade.  This way, the material was never trapped between the blade and fence which could cause burning, binding, and/or kickback.

I recorded the whole process, including set-up, in this video.  (Duration – 6:11)

Thanks for reading!  I would appreciate it if you left a comment.

9 thoughts on “Benefits of a Sliding Table Saw

  1. Riving knives are important but what was your reason for removing the crown guard?

    I like the use of the sliding table to square up one edge and your approach (using the crosscut fence for support) seems more reliable than other methods I’ve seen.

  2. Really interesting, thanks for posting this.

    It is probably just the video / angle but reaching around the slider to adjust the saw seems quite awkward – do you find this to be the case?

    When you are doing the final rip cuts what is the function / relationship between the workpiece which is clamped to the table and the rip fence? It seems that once the piece is clamped down the fence is not guiding it, almost like you are using the fence just as a way to position the piece on the able.

    It looked there some burning on the second cut, if so what was causing this?

    • Hi Jeff,

      You are quite observant!

      It is somewhat awkward to adjust the blade height because I have to reach over the sliding table rail because my thickness ander in front of the table saw and it’s easier to reach over the table than move the sander. One of the joys of a small shop, right? If I move the thickness sander, it is easy and more convenient to adjust the blade height from the right of the blade.

      You are accurate in your observations about using the rip fence only to align the workpiece before clamping it to the sliding table. Once it is clamped, I could remove the fence.

      One cut did result in some significant burning. This was caused by tension in the wood which was trying to close the kerf as the cut progressed. The riving knife prevented the wood from binding the blade completely and possibly kicking back. Having the material clamped to the sliding table (with outrigger attached) provided a much more secure and safer point from which to feed the stock through. I could have stood behind the saw and pulled on the end of the outrigger, standing 3 feet from the blade and far away from any excitement.

      Chris

  3. I saw an interesting idea for your slider on Fastcap’s site. They set a laser up on the ceiling in line with the blade of the slider. It was a quick way to line and minimize waste on slab like that.

    Btw, is that a Grizzly? How do like it m

    • Kevin,

      That’s a slick method of aligning the material and I may look into that. My current method is to set the fence X distance away fromt the blade and use a scrap of plywood that is X + 1/8″ wide to indicate the location of the cut.

      I’ve been really happy with the saw. It’s a Grizzly G0623X.

      Chris

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