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Slice Wood Strips on the Band Saw

Thin Wood Strips Cut on the Bandsaw


Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas Edison, Inventor and Scientist (1847 – 1931)

Thin Wood Strips for Wood Inlay Banding

Often times in our woodworking shops we need to cut thin wood strips for our projects and in many cases the table saw is often considered the tool of choice by woodworkers. However, the band saw is proving to be the winner in my workshop especially when very thin wood strips are needed for my wood projects such as wood inlay. The way it is done in my workshop is very simple, safe, and accurate. Plus, less wood becomes sawdust. Join me and learn how to cut thin wood strips on the band saw.


wood strips of wood inlay

Woodworker ripping hardwood veneers for wood inlay

As you can see in the photos there is a band saw rip fence and a Rockler thin rip jig that has a roller bearing. The shop made rip fence is clamped to the manufacturer’s band saw fence and the thin rip jig is secured in the miter gauge slot. For the purpose of this woodworking tutorial we are slicing thin wood strips 1/16″ of hardwood veneer. To do this we first set the roller bearing of the thin rip jig 1/16″ away from the band saw blade. Next, we slide the jig along the miter track so that the bearing is an inch or so in front of the blade. Then we simply turn the knob to lock the jig in place.



Bandsaw blade cuts wood strips of veneer

Bandsaw blade cuts wood veneer

Next, we take our surfaced and parallel board to be cut and place it alongside the roller bearing. We then we slide our thin rip fence next to the opposite edge of the board and lock the ripping fence in place.

Wood Strips of Veneer cut


The Simplicity of Cutting Thin Wood Strips


The beauty of this operation is that it is very simple. The L-shaped rip fence allows for the band saw bearing guide assembly to be lowered so that the saw blade is very well concealed. The rip fence also allows room for a hand or push stick to direct the material past the saw’s blade. As a result, this is a very safe way of cutting thin wood strips. Also, keep in mind that a band saw blade will not kick back like that of a table saw’s blade.


Walnut wood strip of veneer and dial caliper
Walnut wood veneer strip and dial caliper

The veneer being cut in this demonstration is being sliced at a uniform thickness because it is sandwiched between the rip fence and the roller bearing of the thin rip jig. The two slices of veneer are about 30″ long. When measured with a dial caliper along the lengths of both veneers the variance was only 1/64″.


Keep in mind that there is also less waste when ripping thin strips on the band saw because the width of the band saw blades kerf is less than that of a table saw blade. As a result, we are able to utilize more material for our wood projects. The real joy of working with this band saw technique is that allows us to work with confidence knowing that we can make repetitive uniform cuts of thin strips safely and accurately.


More Related Videos:
How to adjust for Band Saw Blade Drift

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. I have a question.
    Why not have a jig to cut from the other side of the board for the thin strips. That way you don’t have to reset the fence after each cut.
    I use a jig to cut strips form hardwood for my feather boards. And i never have to move the fence once it is set.
    It just seems like a lot of extra work to me.
    But I do like the results of your system. Rand

  2. Rand…Very good question!
    On my blog I show two methods for ripping thin strips on the band saw. The method I believe you are referring to is on this posting…Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop
    Another woodworker asked me the same question as you.

    … isn’t it easier & faster to cut them on left side? Set it once, forget it, & cut’em?
    … like in your previous video…?

    The following is my reply…

    Joe…As you well know…I’ve done it both ways. If you are cutting thin strips and want uniform thickness I would recommend this method over the previous method. Why?

    This method with the band saw rip fence and the thin rip jig w/ bearing is far superior in my opinion. It is even safer. The board being cut is controlled between the fence and the roller bearing so there is no lateral movement. The straight rip cut is under control and as a result the strip maintains a uniform thickness throughout. Because the board has pressure in only one direction it is also safer. (There’s no need to press the board against the fence as in the previous demonstration.) In this instance of ripping on the band saw the woodworker can simply push on one end and push the board all the way through if the board is wide enough. He can also use a push stick or he can simply walk around to the back side of the band saw and pull the board through to finish the cut. I like the first technique however, I love this method much more.

    ”Set it one time and forget it.”
    In this case the roller bearing is set. There is little to no effort to simple adjust the rip fence especially when it is already clamped to the regular fence. Unlock…slide over to the board…lock…let ‘er rip.

    Some may say that the table saw blade offers a cleaner cut than a band saw blade and I would agree. However, if I am making something that requires a smooth parallel edge such as when I make wood inlay bandings I will use the band saw technique and run the wood strips through the open drum sander which takes little effort and time. Plain and simple..the band saw technique is many times safer than the table saw method (no kickback) and with less waste of material. I think if you try this technique then you will see in short time the advantage of this method.
    Rand…give it a try and see what works best for you.
    Hope this helps! Thanks for asking.

  3. Marv Jones says

    I see that you are using a fairly small blade when cutting those strips. I think I have the same bandsaw as you are have not had as precise of cuts on the saw. What type of blade are you using. Do you have any tips for adjusting the saw for the cuts you are getting? Thanks for your great videos. Marv

  4. Marv…
    The band saw blade that I have been using is 3/8″ 4 teeth per inch. (It’s the one I had on the bandsaw when I came up with this idea and it worked for me.) The following are important in order to get uniform straight rips of equal thickness.

    1.) Check the blade’s drift blade’s drift. … To check the drift of the band saw blade first scribe a straight line that is parallel to a board’s edge on scrap wood that is about 20”-24′ long. Freehand the cut along this line. Do not move the board. Take a bevel square to the front edge of the band saw and secure the angle of the board’s edge. (This is the angle of the blade’s drift.)

    2.) Set the thin rip jig in the miter slot. The bearing needs be away from the blade an amount equal to the desired thickness of the cut. When ripping inlay bandings I will set the bearing 3/32″ away from the blade. The bearing needs to be positioned about 1/2″ before the blade.

    3.) Adjusting the fence. Use two clamps to secure the thin rip fence to the regular band saw fence. Take the bevel gauge and set it next to the thin rip fence’s edge. If the fence does not match the angle of the bevel square. Loosen a clamp and place a small wedge between the two fences at one end so that the thin rip fence matches the angle of the bevel square. Tighten the clamp.

    4.) Test the cut. Take a scrap board that has two parallel edges and rip an edge. Measure the thickness of the cut with a dial or digital caliper. If the measurement is equal along its length then proceed. If your ripped cut is wedged shape you will need to make a slight adjustment with your wedge to further adjust the drift angle.

    ps…Be patient and take your time. The procedure is not difficult. It’s adjusting to the idea more than anything.

    Other thoughts…Make sure to the blade is tensioned properly. Keep the bearing assembly low. And of course a sharp blade makes a big difference.

    Let me know if this helps or if you have any other questions about this matter. Thanks for your interest!

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