Resawing at the Tablesaw

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Resawing at the Tablesaw

It’s often the perfect tool for the job

By Paul Anthony

The technique of resawing refers to slicing wood across its widest dimension. It’s basically a form of  slabbing done to make thin stock from thick stock. It’s also used to create book-matched figure, where resawn pieces are edge-joined to create a mirrored pattern for use as a door panel, box lid, or tray  bottom, such as the one on page 30. Resawing is usually done on the bandsaw, which is good at slicing

wide boards, and in one pass. Plus, the thin blade on a bandsaw makes a narrower kerf, reducing

waste and increasing yield. That said, resawing on a bandsaw can be fussy, and depends on a sharp blade, well adjusted guides, and a meticulous fence setup. On the other hand, resawing on the tablesaw is fairly straightforward. Although making deep cuts like this with the stock on edge can feel like a dicey operation,it’s not dangerous with the proper saw setup. And, by cutting in from both edges of a board,

you can effectively double the cutting depth of the blade, allowing a typical 10" tablesaw to resaw stock up to 6" wide.


5 Keys to Safe, Successful Resawing

Resawing at the tablesaw the first time can seem scary, given that you’re feeding a board on edge into perhaps a fully raised blade. But there’s no need to be nervous with the proper setup:

1. The right blade.

For best results in hard wood, use a 20-to 30-tooth rip blade, which will chew through thick stock without bogging down. A thin-kerf blade will cut more easily than a 18"- kerf blade, especially on underpowered saws.

2. A splitter or riving knife.
A properly aligned splitter or riving knife is crucial because it keeps the work against the fence once it passes the blade, preventing kickback. Align the splitter with the side of the teeth that face the fence.


3. A featherboard. For safety and accuracy, set up a featherboard in front of the blade to keep the workpiece firmly against the fence while allowing forward motion and helping prevent kickback.

4. A suitably tall fence.

For proper support, the fence should contact most, if not all, of the workpiece. When ripping work taller than the stock fence, set up an auxiliary tall fence to do the job.

5. A shoe-style pusher.
For best control, use a pusher with a long sole, which allows holding the work down against the table while the heel of the pusher does the feeding.


Resawing in a Single Pass


The first order of business is to joint and plane the piece to consistent thickness, and then joint the edges square to the faces. This ensures stability and accurate slicing while feeding. Set your blade height no more than about 14" above the stock. Adjust your rip fence for the desired piece thickness plus 132", to

be planed away later. Set up a featherboard to firmly press against the stock just in front of the blade, place a pusher close at hand, and then cut as shown. Before beginning the next cut, joint the face that will be contacting the fence. Then repeat the process as before.


Resawing in Two Passes


Resawing can be done in two passes instead of one, making for a safer operation because each of the two cuts is shallower than a full cut. Resawing in two passes also allows you to slice a wider board. Although a typical splitter won’t work for this non-through cut, you can use a short splitter mounted in a zero- clearance throat plate. (See onlineEXTRA.) When resawing wide pieces, use a tall fence. This may be

as simple as an auxiliary fence screwed to your rip fence, or you can make a box-style fence that fits tightly atop your rip fence. Set the fence for the desired finished thickness plus 132", and raise the blade to reach slightly more than halfway through the stock. Using a featherboard forward of the blade,

make your first cut, then flip the stock end-for-end to make a second pass that will complete the cut. Before resawing the next slice, joint the face that will be contacting the fence. Then repeat the entire process.

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