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FREE PLAN: Rip Fence Extension: A Safer Way to Cut Plywood

comments (13) November 9th, 2009 in blogs

GEide GEide, Contributor
thumbs up 81 users recommend

Cutting up plywood is tricky business. Find out how to make it a safer procedure with a tablesaw rip-fence extension. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Cutting up plywood is tricky business. Find out how to make it a safer procedure with a tablesaw rip-fence extension.

Cutting up plywood is tricky business. The large, heavy sheets can be difficult to manage and dangerous to break down.

But, Philip A. Houck of Boston, Mass. has a tablesaw fence extension to make ripping an 8x4 sheet a safer procedure.

The extension just uses three simple parts. Find out how to make it and read how to use it by downloading the plan.

CLICK HERE to download the free plan.

More on cutting plywood

How to Handle Large Sheets on the TablesawSubscribers
How to Handle PlywoodSubscribers
User’s Guide to PlywoodSubscribers
Small Shop Solution for Cutting Sheet GoodsSubscribers
Build Your Own Panel Saw

posted in: blogs, Jigs

Comments (13)

cwieland cwieland writes: Clarification...easier than the table saw
Posted: 11:10 pm on January 13th

cwieland cwieland writes: I have the Festool TS-75 and it is by far easier to cut down sheets of plywood over the table saw. The finish is comparable to the best cuts from a table saw as long as you are using sharp blades. I also have a Sawstop that I love to use, but for full sheets of plywood I go to the Festool and rail guides.
Posted: 11:08 pm on January 13th

80john 80john writes: i built a panel saw for cutting 4x8 sheets and then added a conveyor to carry the sheet from my storage area to the panel saw.using these two features i added partitions to my basement to build a wood shop and ajacent paint shop without the struggle i would have had to indure if i had been forced to use my table saw to cut the many 4x8 sheets i needed for the partitions.of course i built a moble inflow table for my table saw and rollers for the outflow but stopped and built the panel saw long before i started building my partitions.i modified the plans i bought for the panel saw and designed the conveyor using the carrier rail from a disgarded garage door opener.i have completed dust collections to all of my power tools and have built moble supports for each tool.i early on i recognized my need to be able to move large sheets as well as my tools with no help.
Posted: 11:10 pm on November 14th

steve_tf steve_tf writes: Peter Headland writes: "The proper tool for the job is not a tablesaw."

I have cut up thousands of sheets of plywood on many different table saws, and it has never led to surgery. It's the right tool for the job. That doesn't mean it can't be hazardous if used incorrectly or incautiously. But so can a circular saw; I did require minor hand surgery in the mid 1990's when cutting a sheet of plywood sheathing with a skilsaw. Proper care and attention combined with practiced skill are always required.

If you are only cutting up one or two sheets and only do so on the occasional weekend, perhaps spending a few minutes setting up a straight edge jig works well, and can be safer and easier. But you cannot completely dismiss the efficiency of the table saw.
Posted: 2:42 am on November 14th

PeterHeadland PeterHeadland writes: Cutting up large sheets of plywood is safe and easy if you use the proper tool for the job. The proper tool for the job is not a tablesaw. As others have noted, a guided/track/plunge saw, such as those made by Festool, DeWalt, and Makita, is the best tool for this job. Yes, they are somewhat expensive. Surgery after you have injured yourself costs a whole lot more...
Posted: 1:19 pm on November 12th

joinersedge joinersedge writes: In 1989 I patented the table extension method as shown in this article, except with the added element of a telescopic support leg at the end of the fence extension, an absolutely critical component as cited by the previous postings.
U.S. Patent # 4,817,693.

I marketed the product then under the trade name, Joiner's Edge, and developed it into a multi-function modular component woodworking system built around a very robust and precise four-sided T-slot extrusion. The system integrates fence, stop, table extension and flexible fixturing capabilities. The stops evolved to include a digital upgrade.

Nearing semi-retirement from 40 years of woodworking and carpentry, I have taken initial steps to bring the product back to market as of this past Spring. I've renamed it:

1-FENCE: The Operating System for the Thinking Man's Shop.

Right now you can see an archival vidoeo of the entire system in action (at IWF 1990) at:

(For now, you will be automatically re-directed to the Tech page of my woodworking site:

After you click on the red "1-FENCE" link, the first thumbnail at the top of the photo index will take you to the video.)

I have a new run of extrusion and deluxe stops available for sale right now, along with a limited stash of table extension and other components.

I expect to be ready for general sales of the entire selection of system components right after the first of the year. A complete new product presentation, a useful Small Shop Kit offering, and price list will appear on the site before Christmas.

(My heartfelt thanks to Fine Woodworking Online for this incredibly timely coincidental thread...)
Posted: 8:29 am on November 12th

oldmarine56 oldmarine56 writes: I make a lot of door/window 3 1/2" pilasters from 3/4" MDF. I rough cut to 24 1/2" and the run pieces thru the table saw. This fence would help but the extension MUST be supported with a leg AND I would also use my infeed roller stands to add support to the sheet stock. Even with my outfeed extension, I still use one or 2 roller stands to support stock on the outfeed side. Roller stands are cheap and give good support for long and/or heavy stock - every shop should have several

Ed S
Posted: 7:21 am on November 12th

Dahlbergia Dahlbergia writes: I added an outfeed table to my SawStop by using a wooden fitting, bolted to the outfeed rail. This supports the extension, which is piano hinged at sixteen inches from the saw to allow the rest of the outfeed table (thirty inches long ---this length is limited by the height of the saw's table from the floor) to fold. It has folding legs at the end (Rockler hardware). The overall length of the extension is 48 inches, with the end fifty-eight inches from the trailing edge of the blade, ensuring that a 4x8 sheet of plywood will easily rest on the table after being cut. Works very well, and adds only sixteen inches when not extended.
Posted: 7:03 am on November 12th

DonzoB DonzoB writes: That infeed support wouldn't hold for a second if it was needed for support of a sheet of plywood.

Either it should be supported by a leg or it should be eliminated, because the whole extension rig could be popped off the rip fence in a heart beat without it.

I prefer to break 4x8 sheets down with a guided circular saw.

Posted: 6:42 am on November 12th

GEide GEide writes: Good suggestions
Posted: 6:04 am on November 12th

RagingFrog RagingFrog writes: Good idea, but I prefer to use a circular saw with a cutting table. Make a quick, cheap platform from 2"x3"s and attach banquet table legs to it. The open table makes it very useful, and when your blade cuts it up too much you just replace it. Plus, you can do it outside so that if you're like me and your workshop is in the basement its easier to get it there in pieces.
Posted: 8:25 pm on November 11th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Sorry to beat a dead horse, but for a lone woodworker trying to break down a 70 lb sheet of 3/4 ply - there is no easier solution than a Festool TS-55 and rail system and a 'sacrificial' sheet of cheap CDX. Move a 10lb saw instead of a 70lb sheet.

Don't dismiss it until you try it. The TS-55 is perhaps the one Festool actually worth its outrageous price. And you can return it in 30 days if for some reason you don't like it.

Great unbelievable edges. Here is an example:

(I do not work for Festool, either,,:>)

Posted: 4:58 pm on November 11th

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: How about a screw-in leg to support the end of that outrigger fence?
Posted: 12:19 pm on November 10th

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