A woodworker is having trouble ripping narrow boards. He’s sure the blade is square with the fence, but he keeps getting a bow in the board when he rips it. Could something else be going on?
Ian Kirby: What the questioner doesn’t say is whether he is ripping narrow boards from a wide board or ripping narrow boards into two pieces. Moreover, how narrow is narrow? The table saw setup should be: the blade is dead parallel with the fence (not square to the fence), the splitter in place and the fence ending a couple inches past the arbor line ? but the setup, right or wrong, doesn’t cause the wood to bow. The stock is either case hardened or has a somewhat higher moisture content in the middle of the board compared with the end of the board. It could be tension or compression wood, but that doesn’t really matter. Cut the stuff to length and put it on sticks to dry for a few weeks in the shop. It’s not a cure, but you may get lucky if it’s just a case of moisture imbalance.