Feb 26 2012

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Resawing Safely on the Table Saw.

Using my router table fence for resawing

Resawing on my table saw has always been hit or miss, not to mention potentially dangerous. It’s almost impossible to hold the piece against the low fence while simultaneously keeping my fingers a safe distance from the saw blade. I’ve tried different combinations of axillary fences and featherboards, but even then, the results usually aren’t that good — the resawed piece isn’t a uniform thickness. I know the simple answer would be to buy a bandsaw, but I would need at least a 14″ bandsaw to resaw the materials I’m looking to use and a 14″ bandsaw is a good chunk of change to spend for an operation I only occasionally attempt.

So the other day I needed to resaw a chunk of purple heartwood. I glanced over at my router table and a light came on in my head. My router table fence is flat, stable, and has slots for hold-downs, in other words almost perfect for resawing. I removed the T-bolts holding the fence on the router table and brought it over to my table saw. The only problem was that the back edge of the fence wasn’t flat, so it wouldn’t ride smoothly along the table saw fence — I had no reason to be concerned about that side of the fence when I built it for the router table. I quickly remedied that by flipping it around so that the front of the fence was against the table saw fence and trimmed the back edge flat (I made sure to look that there were no metal connectors in the path of the blade).

With the piece secured to the fence with two hold-downs, resawing is now a snap — and much safer.  I can stand on the side of the table saw, out of the way of any kickback and protected from the blade by over and inch of wood. Now if I could only figure out an easier way separate the pieces. Sawing down the thin island of purple heartwood left after making the two passes is still a chore.

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