Why I Love My Incra Fence
I recently did a flatwork project (a knife rack...more pics later) that required some thin strips of 3/4" maple, about 14" long. (By "thin", I mean 1/32" of an inch thick.) Anybody who has seen much of my flatwork will know I'm into contrasting stripes, so I've cut quite a few thin strips on my tablesaw. I figured I'd take a few pics this time to share. Unfortunately, the focus on the photos leaves a bit to be desired, but it is what it is.
I've seen various push block arrangements that push a piece of lumber through the saw when the blade is set very close to the fence. I don't really like this approach, as I've seen the kickback that can happen when that thin piece of wood gets crosswise between the fence and the blade.
Instead of doing it that way, I like to have the thin strip come off the "waste" side of the blade, while I use a Grrripper push block to push a wider piece of lumber between the fence and the blade. This gives me better control of the cut, and greatly reduces the chance of shooting a thin strip of maple across the shop. This method requires that I move the fence for every cut, but the Incra jig and fence on my tablesaw makes it a snap to move the fence in very accurate increments. Here are the basic steps I take:
First, I establish "zero" on the board I'm cutting. I simply set the fence to shave a tiny bit off the edge of the board, giving me a known starting distance between the fence and the blade. (The saw was obviously stopped mid-cut for these shots).
Next, I move the fence toward the blade enough to cut a 1/32" thick strip off the left side of the board. I use a thin kerf blade that's 3/32" wide. If I move the fence 4/32" (or 1/8") to the left, I end up with 1/32" of wood coming off he "waste" side of the blade. This photo shows the general idea, although I didn't have the board tight against the fence when I took this shot.
Using the Grrripper, I feed the board through the saw. (Here again, the saw was not running for these shots.)
After each cut, I moved the fence to the left another 1/8" (exactly), and repeated until I had enough strips. I ended up cutting eight 1/32" strips and four 1/16" strips out of this particular board.
Since the Incra fence can be easily moved in the exact increments I needed, I was able to get very consistent results. (Again, sorry for the poor focus.)
Final result...I was aiming for 1/32", or 0.03125". Instead, I got between 0.0300" and 0.0305". Close enough for decorative stripes.