Tips & Tricks Issue 83: Small Strip Ripping Tips

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small strip ripping


My instrument making often involves ripping very narrow strips of wood for use as bindings and inlay, among other things. I find that the safest way to cut these tiny strips is on the bandsaw, using a low profile fence. This allows setting the blade guides very low to keep the blade on track and prevent deflection. For a fence, I use a self-clamping aluminum straightedge, which is quick to set up, and which can be angled as much as five degrees or so if necessary to accommodate blade drift. Using a 6 TPI blade, I can accurately rip strips as narrow as 1/32". When doing this, just make sure to tape a thin underlying piece of wood to the saw table to serve as a zero-clearance throat to prevent your rippings from disappearing down the saw’s throat.

—Bil Mitchell, Riegelsville, Pennsylvania

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