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    How to Rip Large Sheets of Plywood on the Tablesaw





    By Kelly Mehler

    Full-size (4 ft. by 8 ft.) sheets of plywood and other sheet goods are heavy and awkward to handle, which make them a chore to cut. But with a little forethought and practice, the procedure can be reasonably straightforward.

    1. Place the leading edge of the sheet on the front of the saw with the back end resting on the floor. (see drawing above)

    Ripping plywood

    2. Stand at the left corner of the sheet with your body more alongside the left edge than the end. From that position it’s easier to hold the edge of the sheet against the rip fence. When making the cut, both arms should be comfortably outstretched with your left arm along the left edge and your right arm on the end.

    Ripping plywood

    3. As you feed the sheet and begin to approach the front of the saw, shift your body more to the front of the sheet. Once at the front of the table, assume your normal starting stance to complete the cut. Have a helper support the end of the sheet.

    Drawings by Jim Richey

    Excerpt from A Tablesaw Primer: Ripping and Crosscutting from the 2004 Tools and Shops issue (FWW #167).  Excerpt from A Tablesaw Primer: Ripping and Crosscutting from the 2004 Tools and Shops issue (FWW #167).


    Kelly_Mehler