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How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
Muhammed Ali…3-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion (1942-)

Hardwood Veneer cut on Band Saw

Hardwood Veneer cut on Band Saw

One of my woodworking shop accessories is drawing a lot of attention lately. Many viewers have seen it on my band saw during recent woodworking videos and they have asked me about it in their emails. While the name of the tool implies that it is to be used on the table saw, it has also found a lot of time on the bandsaw cutting thin strips of wood inlay bandings. What is it you ask? It is an invaluable saw accessory called the Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig.

One might ask “What makes this simple jig so special?” The beauty of this jig is indeed its simplicity. There is a roller bearing on the end of the accessory. The jig is adjustable from side to side and it can be locked into position in the miter gauge slot. When used on the tablesaw the roller bearing is set away from the blade an amount equal to the thickness of the desired ripping. Then the jig is simply slid about 4-5 inches in front of the saw blade and locked into position. Basically, that’s it.

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips on the Tablesaw
1.) Place the surfaced edge of the board to be cut alongside the roller bearing.
2.) Slide the table saw fence alongside the opposite edge of the board.
3.) Lock the fence in place. When ready turn on the saw and take a small practice cut into the board.
4.) Check the measurement with a dial or digital caliper. Make lateral adjustments of the bearing as needed to obtain the desired measurement and adjust the fence to the boards’ opposite edge. When you have the right measurement for the ripping it is time to “rip away.”
5.) Simply, repeat the procedure of moving the table saw fence in alongside the edge opposite of the cut after every rip is made.

Band saw setup for ripping wood inlay bandings

Bandsaw setup for ripping wood inlay bandings

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips on the Bandsaw
Note: (The “drift” of the band saw blade must first be accounted for when using this technique.) In the picture to the left a small wedge has been set between the manufacturers’ fence and the L-shaped thin rip fence. This was performed to set the fence to the correct angle of the “drift.”)

1.) Set the roller bearing a distance away from the blade that is equal to the desired ripping.
2.) Now, place the roller bearing an inch or so in front of the bandsaw blade and turn the star knob down to lock the jig in place.
3.) Next, place the right edge of the surfaced board alongside of the bearing.
4.) We now want to set an L-shaped thin rip fence alongside the left edge of the board to be ripped.
5.) Place the regular bandsaw fence next to the L-shaped thin rip fence and clamp both fences together along the boards’ left edge. Lock the fence and for safety lower the bandsaw’s bearing guides to just above the boards’ surface.

Dial caliper measure thickness of wood inlay banding

Dial caliper measure thickness of wood inlay banding

At this point it is just a matter of taking a practice cut to check the accuracy of the thickness of the ripping with a digital or dial caliper. Adjust as necessary. When the correct measurement is obtained it is time to rip. To make the next rip it is simply a matter of placing the board’s right edge against the roller bearing and then sliding the fences over to the left edge of the board. Rip and repeat the process to obtain uniform rippings.

The Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig has been in my woodworking shop for over 3 years and is still going strong. It is great for making rips on the tablesaw. However, it is also terrific on the bandsaw as it allows me to rip wood inlay bandings to a consistent uniform thickness of 3/32.” This simple little jig allows me to perform operations safely, efficiently, and with accuracy.

So, give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Recommended Videos…

Ripping Thin Strips on Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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  1. T Woodbury Sr. says

    I have been using my veneer guide on my table saw only and I cut my pieces a little thicker then what I want and then mount them on a piece of scrap and run them thru the drum sander to remove the saw marks and to make sure that they are of a even thichness. Cutting on the band saw is fine if you are doing thin, short pieces and your upper guide rollers are down as close as you can get them without touching to lessen any “blade drift’. I tried cutting some long verneer pieces on the band saw and kept blowing it out because of blade drift and that was with a 1/2 in. blade so I had to go back to using the table saw.

  2. T Woodbury Sr.

    I agree with you. When ripping bandings (long or short) on the bandsaw it is imperative that the “drift” of the bandsaw blade be taken into account so that that bandings can be cut to uniform thickness. There will be blowout if the “drift” is not set. However, consider setting the “drift” when ripping your bandings and see if it makes a difference for you. There are some major advantages to ripping on the band saw verses the table saw.

    1.) A higher yield of bandings because there is less waste with a band saw blade verses a table saw blade. On the table saw it is very difficult to rip thin banding when your “package” of banding material becomes narrow. This can lead to unused material. With the band saw “drift” properly set one’s waste can be as little as 1/16″

    2.) It is safer ripping thin strips of banding on the band saw verses the table saw as there is no chance for kickback on the band saw.

    Please review the following video and article from an earlier posting….Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw. (I am now updating the current post to include this article and video.)

    Thanks for addressing this issue as setting the “drift” is critically important to cutting bandings of uniform thickness.

    Note:On my setup I use the manufacturers’ fence along with the L-shaped band saw thin rip fence as shown in the postings. Between the regular fence and the thin rip fence I will place a thin wedge to account for the amount of “drift.” Then I use a spring clamp at each end of the fences to secure this angle.

    Give it a test run with the “drift” set and let me know if it works out for you.

  3. Steve says

    Your link for the “Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig” is not correct anymore.

  4. Steve…
    Thanks for the heads up. The link is now corrected.

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