How to resaw wood on a table saw

In woodworking, resawing is the process of sawing a log into thin boards. This can be done with a bandsaw, but it’s much easier to do with a table saw. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to resaw wood on a table saw. First, I’ll explain why you might want to resaw wood, and then I’ll show you how to set up your table saw for resawing. Finally, I’ll walk you through the steps of actually resawing the wood. So let’s get started!

why you might want to resaw wood?

The most common reason to resaw wood is to create a board that has a different thickness than the stock you’re working with. For example, if I started with a board that’s two inches thick and I want my final board to be 3/4″ (or 3/8″), then my best option is resawing. my preferred method of resawing is on a table saw

How to resaw wood on a table saw step by step guide

Here are some steps to resaw wood on a table saw with carefully

Step 1: Set up your table saw

It’s important to set up your table saw correctly for resawing because you’re going to be pushing a lot of wood through it, and this will generate a lot of heat. In order to keep the blade from overheating and binding in the cut, I recommend adding a zero clearance insert (ZCI).

In addition, you should set the blade height so the top edge is about 3/32″ above your stock when it reaches its deepest point in the cut. If you were planning on making more than one pass through the board, then lower or raise this height accordingly.

The radial arm of my table saw has two wheels on either side, so it’s easy for me to adjust the height of my blade. Other table saws may have a knob or screw that adjusts the height, or a small wheel somewhere along the fence.

Step 2: Determine your split line

Your split line is where you’ll make your initial cut with the bandsaw to divide your board into two thinner boards. It’s important for safety reasons to mark this on both sides of your lumber before you start cutting. If you don’t do so, and something goes wrong mid-cut, such as your bandsaw kicking back, then there’s a chance that one of those pieces might fly off and hit someone in the face. That would not be good! So just mark it on both sides first—you can remove those lines after you’ve cut.

In this case, I decided to have a 2″ thickness when it reaches its deepest point in the cut so my split line is going to be 1-11/16″. I measured and marked that on both sides and then transferred them over to the opposite side of the board (the end-grain).

Step 3: Make your first cut at the table saw

Now we’re ready to actually resaw our wood! This is where we get to break out our trusty table saw. (If you don’t own one, they aren’t very expensive and make great saws for beginners.) Start by making an initial cut about halfway through the board at your split line. If you didn’t already mark this line on both sides of the board, do so now.

Step 4: Flip your stock around and make a second cut

Now that you have one half of your board cut away, it’s time to flip it over and finish cutting from the other side. This can be a little tricky because some boards have rounded edges which makes them harder to grip as you flip them. However, I’ve found that if you use a scrap piece of wood underneath on the underside as an additional handle, this provides more stability and leverage during the flip. You can also use a pair of locking pliers for grip strength as well if needed. So with whatever method you choose, place this newly-cut side next to your blade in order to continue making cuts until all four sides are cut in half. Now you should have two pieces of board with the same thickness (2″ in this case).

Step 5: Mark your final cuts

At this point, I like to make my final cuts without the bandsaw blade to keep it clean and free from any sawdust or wood shavings. You can do these using a hand saw or even a miter box if needed, just be careful! Line up the original split line that you drew at the beginning of this process with your blade so that you’re cutting completely through both halves of your stock’s thickness. This will give you four boards with the same width but varying lengths since they were originally 2″ thick each.   


What is a Zero Clearance Insert?

A zero clearance insert is a piece of wood that goes into your table saw’s opening and sits just above the blade—this ensures that each time you cut, no material will get caught between the stock and the insert. Instead, it passes through without snagging. They usually come in a variety of depths, so you can use the one that works best with your particular make and model.

What are the benefits of using a zero clearance insert?

There are several benefits to using a zero clearance insert for your table saw. The biggest pro would be safe since the material doesn’t get caught under there—when it comes to ripping wood, this is a serious concern. Another benefit is that by protecting the blade from being exposed to your stock, it’ll help keep the blade sharper longer because it isn’t getting dulled as easily.

A third benefit is that it cleans up each cut. Since the blade isn’t exposed, you don’t have to worry about sawdust and shavings getting caught between it and your stock—they just fall into the opening and out of your way as you work. This makes for a cleaner and easier cut, which is awesome!

Do I need to buy a zero clearance insert?

It’s up to you. Some people prefer the traditional method of cutting—which is basically placing your stock directly on top of the saw blade. This allows for more control over each cut, but because it doesn’t protect the blade from exposure, it could also lead to increased chances of injury. If you’re inexperienced with woodworking and using a table saw, I recommend using one.

Do you have to use the same type of blade for resawing?

No, you don’t. Resawing doesn’t require such a large (or aggressive) blade-like ripping does. That’s because all we’re doing is making extremely thin slices aboard. A crosscut blade, a combination blade, or a high tooth count rip blade would all work great here; they just need to be nice and thin with lots of teeth for clean cuts through your stock.

What is the difference between resawing and ripping?

The main difference is the thickness of the stock—most woodworkers do resawing when they want to split that into two thinner pieces. While ripping involves making a long cut down the length of one piece of wood.

Safety tips when using a table saw for resawing wood:

Keep proper footing. Be sure to keep both feet firmly planted while working with your saw—shifting your weight while you’re working can lead to an accident and/or loss of control.

-Keep kids and pets away. Don’t let children or animals get anywhere near your table saw while you’re working.

-Tie up your hair and wear appropriate clothing. You don’t want to get caught on anything, so keep your hair and loose clothing away from the saw.

-Keep fingers and thumbs out of the way. Don’t place your hands anywhere near where they shouldn’t be—the blade can travel extremely fast, so you never know what’ll happen if it catches part of your body in that path (even if it’s just a little bit).

-Always use the guard. This is another safety feature that should always be used—if you don’t, it will only take one mistake to end up severely injured.

-Don’t use blades with chips or tears in them. If you see anything wrong with your blade, stop using it immediately and replace it as soon as possible.


Resawing wood on a table saw is not as difficult as it may seem. By following the steps we have outlined in this post, you should be able to successfully resaw wood and produce thinner boards with ease. Have you tried resawing wood before? What tips do you have to share? Let us know in the comments below.