How to rip boards with a table saw

Ripping a board with a table saw is a basic carpentry task, but it can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the right techniques. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to rip boards quickly and safely using your table saw. We’ll also share some tips for avoiding common mistakes. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced carpenter, read on for helpful advice on ripping boards with a table saw.

How to rip boards with a table saw step by step

1. Make sure your table saw is level

2. Set the height of your blade to slightly more than twice the thickness of the board you’ll be ripping

3. Cut two or three trial boards, making them all about an inch narrower than the finished width you need

4. Place each trial board against the rip fence, lining up one end with the blade and holding it in place with scrap wood clamped on both sides of the board

5. Put pressure on that clamp as you push another clamp into position on top of your trial board, sandwiching it between both clamps and applying even pressure across its whole length

6. Release the pressure on your final clamp so it just holds onto workpiece by friction alone, then use it to hold a pencil against the side of your trial board

7. Now skip ahead and slide your saw’s rip fence across each of those boards you tried, making notches where the blade cuts through the full width of the board

8. Put some more clamps around all sides of one of your test boards, adjusting them so they’re positioned exactly as before

9. Let go of that first clamp but keep pinching down on everything else with pressure from your hand

10. Use a scrap piece of wood to push that final clamp into position, then release it once you have its placement just right

11. Hold a pencil against that new clamp as well as two spots on either edge near what will be cut away by the blade

12. Do this one more time for each remaining board, keeping your pencil line close to the edge of your clamp which should be pushed up against the side of your trial board

13. Remove all clamps from around one test board using them to mark where notches are cut into both sides by the blade

14. Use a ruler or combination square to connect those intersecting lines into full-length marks on both ends of that board

15. Draw another set of marks about an inch narrower than the width you need, then repeat steps 12-14 for every remaining test piece

16. Now put down your pencil and push all three boards back half their original widths until they’re snug again against rip fence

17. Measure the distance between your pencil lines on each board, then do the same for the width you need

18. Now subtract one measurement from the other to find out how many inches you’ll need to shave off each workpiece before they become perfect boards

19. Once all boards are cut down to size, clamp them together using their freshly-cut edges as though they were still test pieces

20. Use this larger batch of boards to mark notches in both sides of the rip fence which will guide your hands when ripping identical pieces that width again later on

21. The wider you set that rip fence, the wider your board will be once it’s been ripped into identical pieces

22. Place a trial piece against one side of the rip fence as well as the blade so you can see how far away from the fence your free hand should be when ripping

23. Use clamps to secure those boards to rip the fence in that position, then use scrap wood to push the free end of the workpiece into place between your clamped-down boards and behind the blade

24. Let go of the scrap board holding it against your hand, but keep pushing it firmly toward the rip fence with your spare hand until you feel full contact between both surfaces

25. Pull scrap board away, then repeat steps 22-24 until your first trial piece has been ripped into two identical boards

26. After you’ve used trial pieces to mark out all other boards that should be cut from one end of the same board, remove them before cutting off that extra length with another rip

27. Every time you need to make a new batch of perfectly-sized boards, start by tearing up all your old clamps and letting them fall into the saw’s path to protect their blade

28. Rip fence should be set at least an inch wider than the widest board you’re ripping, but remember that it won’t cut through the full width of your material if there isn’t enough clearance between fence and blade

29. If you find that your workpieces are wobbling in the middle when being pushed along, take off some length from their leading edges to prevent them from rocking when they’re pulled back again through the saw

30. And if boards are binding against rip fence or saw blade, taking off more length from their trailing edge will prevent those same boards from binding when pushed into place

31. Finally; never rip more than one board at a time, and don’t even think about ripping boards narrower than 1/4 inch without securing them to rip fence first for extra support.


Do I need to use clamps when ripping boards with a table saw?

Yes. Clamps should be used to secure the boards against both rip fence and saw blade when ripping boards with a table saw.

How do you rip lumber with a table saw?

A table saw is used to rip lumber by guiding the boards against a fence with one hand, while pushing them against the blade on the other side of the fence with a push stick.

What do you mean by ‘rip fence’?

‘Rip fence’ refers to the guide on the table saw that helps maintain the correct width of material as it is passed through the blade.

How can I safely rip thicker lumber?

Use a spacer block or a roller stand to support the boards while ripping thicker lumber with a table saw.


Today we showed you how to rip boards with a table saw by marking the width on each board then cut smaller pieces from one end of larger boards until you have multiple pieces that are identical in size. we hope you found this helpful! The next