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How to cut thin strips of wood on a table saw safely

How To Cut Thin Strips on The Table Saw Safely

| Shane Dennehey

Many of you have asked for ways to cut thin strips on the table saw safely, like the 1/4-inch rips needed to make Layered Crosses. I've always relied heavily on push sticks to keep my hands away from the blade, but I recently came across another method that works great when ripping short pieces.

It's a shop-made jig that is easy to make and has saved me a ton of time over the past few weeks. Its basically a half sled and half push stick setup made with 3/4-inch plywood with a handle and a piece of hardwood screwed to the back.

To make one of your own, cut a piece of 3/4-plywood 6-inches wide by 12-inches long, screw a strip of wood to the backside that's at least 1/2-inch thick by 1-1/2 by 12-inches. Then attach a handle in the position shown in the image and add a 3/4-inch board to the top.
On the bottom side, attach a strip of hardwood that will ride in the miter slot on your table saw top. I add this strip for extra safety even though I always use the fence when cutting with this jig.

The board on top holds the board down while you rip it. If you need to cut stock thicker than 3/4-inch, then you'll need to notch the top board to allow for the height of the wood. I notched mine for woods up to 1-1/8 inch thick.


For the handle, you can use a pre-made one, or make your own with this free template.

Watch a video of the jig in use

This method has improved my table saw safety and efficiency dramatically, but as I watch the video, I see ways it can be improved. Stay tuned for an update soon, maybe with a more useful version of this jig.

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this post. I may make a small commission if you click and purchase. Thank you for your support!



  • Posted by Lowell J Farnsworth on

    Have you posted your above mentioned update yet??
    God Bless !

  • Posted by JV on

    Love your crosses. Praise Him! How did you get exactly the right distance from the saw blade to create a 1/4 inch path between blade and sled edge? As much detail as possible for all of us first timers please.


  • Posted by David on

    Hello Shane,
    Thanks for the tip. I actually made this one, but I thought why not make one to cut 3/4 in. I use some wood that is already 1/4 in thick and in wide pieces, so now I can just rip it into 3/4 in wide strips and have my pieces that are 1/4 × 3/4 without any measuring or setting the saw up every time. I tested them both and works great. Going to save me a lot of time.

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