Table Saw Basics - How to Cut Large Pieces

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next i want to talk about cutting larger

pieces on the table saw

i'm going to cut that sheet of plywood

that's right behind me it's a full four

by eight

sheet a three quarter inch plywood and

that's something that i

almost never do instead what i do

is i take it outdoors i set it up on saw


i use what's known as a saw board in my

circular saw

and i make an initial cut to cut it down

to something more manageable

either a cross cut or a lengthwise cut

or rip cut

and then i bring it in i do the rest of

the cutting on the table saw because the

pieces are smaller and easier to handle

now there are two reasons why i don't do

big sheets one is that my shop is not

very big

so it's always kind of a pain to try to

position things and i'll show that

coming up

the other thing is you don't get a

really good accurate cut

when you're trying to manhandle the

piece through if it gets snagged on


i know one instance there was a staple

sticking out the edge of one sheet

you might have seen that i ran into a

problem when cutting this one

there was one of those plastic staples

sticking out the side of the

the sheet that was broken off just

sticking out about a sixteenth of an

inch it just

pushed it out away from the fence i

didn't notice it i didn't check for it


it got hooked on the end of my fence it

pushed it off to one side

and it messed up the cut so you're not

going to get the most

accurate cut doing it that way plus

it's kind of difficult as you'll see

coming up first thing i do is i take my


and i measure back

and see if i actually have enough space

for the cut and it looks like i do

the stuff that i've got piled up down

there doesn't come

far enough ahead and then forward

the outfeed table for my table saw

is my workbench and that's completely

clear so i know i'm good there

and that's very important you want to

have the area clear even before you turn

on the saw

you don't want to stop part way through

the cut and try to move

a bunch of junk out of the way

as you can see it's handy to have

something in the back to set the sheet

up on

i could pretend that i had it set up

that way but that's not the case those

two things just happened to be there now

the sheet is sitting here

the front of it is sitting on the table

saw and it's also clear of the blade so

i can reach underneath

and i can turn the saw on and i can

start guiding it through the cut

also i position the sheet so that it's

tight up against the fence

and i have the distance of the fence set

so that i'm making a cut

right down the middle


i stopped the cut halfway through to

reposition the camera for another view

but i thought i would talk a little bit

about how i'm feeding the stock in

i'm not standing behind the sheet which

i obviously can't do because all that

junk is there instead i'm on the side


but the way i'm holding it is that i'm

lifting up with my right hand

on the back and i'm actually pushing

down with my left

on the front i'm also guiding it up

against the fence as well

now you can see i had a little bit of

difficulty at the beginning of the cut

i think there's something on the bottom

of the sheet that got snagged in


so i had to kind of wiggle it around

there are different ways to deal with


there's the way that i did i just tried

to push it through

like it broke free after a while and i

was able to continue

i know that the cut that i'm making here

is not going to be perfect anyway

so if it messes up a little bit that's


the other way is to try to back it out

but if you do that when the saw is

running that could cause a kickback

problem and that's especially a problem

if you're dealing with a smaller piece

okay the third way is to set it down


so that it backs off the blade that way

lifts up out of the blade

that's probably the safest if you find

you can't push it forwards

so continuing on with the cut you should

pay attention to what i'm doing here

i'm actually looking at the opposite

edge of the plywood

where it meets the fence rather than

looking at the blade itself

i'm far enough away from the blade that

i don't have to worry about it

but i don't want the sheet drifting out

the fence and that can easily happen if

you're not watching it

also notice that i've changed position

now that i can get behind the sheet

i'm there obviously it's a better way to


as long as the sheet is fully supported

as it goes through the saw

and comes out the other side