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Ripping capacity is simply the maximum space between the center of the blade and the rip fence's furthest edge.
In the article below, we'll delve deeper into what rip capacity means and useful tips on how to extend your rip capacity.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Here are a few pointers on how to understand rip capacity better:
- Rip Capacity Is The Available Cutting Space Between The Blade And Rip Fence
- You Can Find A 24, 26, 30, and 50-inch Rip Capacity Table Saw
- There Are Multiple Ways To Increase Your Rip Capacity
What Does Rip Capacity Mean on a Table Saw?
As we mentioned, rip capacity is the maximum space available between the center of the blade and the furthest part of the rip fence.
The rip capacity will determine the size of workpieces you can work with. The rip fence helps the user keep a straight line when cutting the workpiece.
However, this fence can either be removed to cut larger pieces or extended, depending on the table saw. A few different rip capacities are commonly found on table saws, all of which are suited to different woodworking projects.
You'll also notice that rip capacity is often advertised as either left or right rip capacity. This is due to the user usually being able to flip the rip fence to either side. If the right side has a larger rip capacity, you can swap the fence from left to right.
Do I Need a Large Rip Capacity on a Table Saw?
There are multiple rip capacity sizes to choose from, all suited to specific tasks or wood pieces. An important question to ask yourself is what types of projects will you be carrying out; this will help you determine what rip capacity you'll need.
24 - 26-Inch Rip Capacity - This size can be commonly found on portable table saws and is suited to cutting standard wood stock.
30-Inch Rip Capacity - Most craftsmen tend to use a 30-inch rip capacity on a rare occasion. People tend not to go any larger than this.
50-Inch Rip Capacity - 50-inch rip capacity is for those larger projects that require large sheets to be cut. The benefit of using a 50-inch rip fence rather than removing the rip fence from a smaller capacity table is that you'll have greater stability and accuracy when cutting the sheet.
How to Extend Table Saw Rip Capacity
The rip capacity can often be extended to suit your needs. However, with the many benefits of doing this, there come some downsides. Take a look below at how you can extend your rip capacity.
Remove The Fence - A simple solution would be to remove the ripping fence. This removes the limit on the size of the workpiece you can cut.
Build An Ad-On - Most DIYers build an additional unit onto the side of the table saw to provide more support for larger workpieces.
Swap Fence Sides - On most table saw rip fences, the right side usually has a larger capacity than the left. If you're using the left side, you can often swap the fence over to provide better capacity.
Build Your Own Ripping Fence - The ripping fence can be replicated easily using either metal or wood and a clamp; in its simplest form, it's just a component to keep your workpiece straight. Therefore, you shouldn't have an issue in building your own.
A rip fence will help the user cut a workpiece more accurately and without creating squint cuts. You should only buy a table saw with a rip fence that suits your needs. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to create a DIY extension.