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The Safe And Simple Thin-Strip Ripper

Ripping thin strips between the tablesaw blade and fence can be risky business. But, If you need these strips for edging plywood shelves, adding inlay strips, we’ve come across a jig that makes the process super simple. It allows you to cut strip after strip, achieving uniform thickness without the worry of kickback.

Cut the parts and assemble the jig

1 From 34 " plywood, cut the base (A) to 7" wide by 10" long.

2 Referring to the Top View drawing, below, of the base for location, mark the four centerpoints for the 516 " holes. Drill the holes where marked. Now, use a straightedge to mark lines from hole to hole to lay out the pair of 516 "-wide slots 312 " long on the plywood base.

 Miter gauge.jpg

3 Using a scrollsaw or jigsaw, Cut along the marked lines to form the 516 "-wide slots. Sand or file the cut edges of each slot.

4 Mark diagonals on the base to locate the center, and drill a hole for the handle to the size stated on the Exploded View drawing, below. Sand the base smooth, sanding a slight chamfer along one edge to allow for sawdust buildup.

exploded view.jpg

5 Fasten a 2"-diameter knob (we used a cabinet knob) to the base, making sure the head of the mounting screw doesn’t protrude below the bottom surface.

6 Cut the miter-gauge slot guide (B) to the width and depth of your miter-gauge slot, and crosscut it to 10" long. The guide should fit snugly in the slot; a loose fit can result in uneven thin strips later. Our guide measured 38 " thick by 34 " wide. For the guide to slide easily in the slot, you may need to lightly sand one edge. Mark the centerpoints for the two 14 " holes. Drill and countersink the holes.

7 Check that. the screw heads don’t protrude. Then, epoxy a 14 x112 " flathead machine screw in each countersunk hole. Wipe off excess epoxy.

8 Fasten the guide to the base with 14 " washers and wing nuts.

How to use the jig to rip some thin strips

Loosen the wing nuts, and position the inside chamfered edge of the base parallel to the saw blade, leaving a gap between the blade and the base equal to the width of the strips desired. Tighten the wing nuts. See Step 1 of the drawing below for reference. Place the stock to be ripped next to the jig. Then, move the rip fence against the stock where shown in Step 2 of the drawing below.

Step 1 & 2.jpg

Remove the jig, start the saw, and cut a thin strip as shown in Step 3 of the drawing below. Use a pushstick to keep your fingers safely away from the blade. Position the jig in the miter-gauge slot. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 of the drawing to cut the next thin strip. Keep repeating the process until you feel uncomfortable with the distance between the blade and the fence (we stop at about 34 ").

step 3.jpg

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