What is a rip cut?

What is a rip-cut?

Woodworking requires far more than just a will to shape the wood and create the desired objects. You need much knowledge before you can start working on your new cabinet or a shelf.

First of all, you need to understand some science behind the process of cutting. It looks complicated, but it isn’t at all – reading this article will put you on the right path to becoming a great carpenter or a wood artist.

If you start reading about wood cutting, you may notice that majority of the people discuss two types of cuts – rip-cuts and crosscuts.

These cuts are completely different and you need to understand the difference between them. In this article, I will only focus on the brief explanation of the rip-cuts. You can check my other article for more information about crosscuts.

What is a rip-cut?

Rip-cut refers to the type of cut where you divide the wood piece parallel to the grain. With this type of cutting, you are able to lift off small pieces of wood.

Why rip-cutting?

When cutting, you will experience the need for this type of cut. To make it easier for you to understand the point of it, here are the different cuts you can achieve with it.

Types of cuts

  • Quarter sawn – these boards are more warping-resistant with moisture changes and in case shrinkage occurs it won’t cause you many troubles
  • Plain sawn – it has a unique appearance and it is one of the most common way of board cutting
  • Rift sawn – this refers to a cut that is perpendicular to the log center

Why is rip-cutting important?

Rip-cutting is essential if you are planning to make furniture. That requires cutting wide boards, but it is not a rare situation when you will have to cut narrow boards.

For increased safety, you may want to use other objects as push sticks, push handles or devices rather than pushing the wood with your hands.

However, most of the circular saws are designed to be portable, so unless you own a table saw, this is unnecessary. But, do not forget about the regular safety gear for your eyes, ears and mouth and nose.

How to make the rip-cut

Have you ever been in a situation that requires cutting wood to a narrower width? It is not an easy process, and many experts may recommend getting a table saw. Table saws are the best tool for making rip cuts.

Is this really obligatory?

Absolutely no. Table saw may be better and easier to use, but you can do the job with your portable circular saw as well.

In order to do the job nicely, you need to follow several rules.

First of all, find the right blade according to the wood you are cutting. You should pick different types of blades based on the type of the wood, as well as the cutting.

For rip-cutting, go with a non-stick coating blade.

I guess you are about to cut thin strips of wood as you may want to edge the plywood. Set the markings on the wood after you have measured the right width of the wood you want to cut.

Next, set the right depth and remember that you don’t want the blade to go way deep, as that increases the risk of potential injuries.

As you want to make a straight cut, it is crucial to hold the saw firmly and follow your markings. If you saw has a laser, that will make it easier.

Finally, pull the trigger and start cutting. Don’t go too slow, as that can burn the wood, but don’t go to fast as well – find the right amount of speed that will be something in between, just enough to finish the straight cut.

As you can see it, it is not very different from the normal cutting. However, there are several things you need to focus on in order to make the cut as it needs.

So, this was just the basics of rip cutting. What about crosscutting? What is the difference? You can check the comparison of rip-cut vs cross cut as well.

Best Cheap Portable Circular Saw

Looking for a circular saw on a tight budget? Check out my review of the best circular saws under $50:

Best Miter Saw

The best tool for making crosscuts is a miter saw! Check out my review of miter saws here:

Best Hybrid Table Saw Reviews

If you have a larger budget and want a serious table saw you can check out my review of hybrid table saws here:

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