how to rip wood without a table saw

If you don’t have a table saw but need to rip wood with a circular saw, then there’s a way to make it happen. Woodworking had existed long before there were table saws.

For instance, if you want to cut a board lengthwise and it doesn’t have an edge to begin with, then you can use a circular saw or a track saw that has a straightedge guide.

Although ripping wood is mostly done on a table, it doesn’t always have to be done that way. Another way of ripping wood is on a band saw. The band saw is even more versatile than a table saw.

It can cut joinery, shape curves, rip boards by width, and even saw hard lumber efficiently. So how does it work? Since the blades do most of the work, we can start there.

Ripping Wood Without A Table Saw

Even if you don’t have a table saw, there are a couple of ways of ripping a long wood piece into a narrower width. This job can be done using a circular saw, a band saw, or you can go old school and use a large rip saw. For this guide, I will focus on the band saw.

The Band Saw Method

If you want to make straight cuts, you need to select the widest blade for the saw. To cut it correctly, the edge needs to have a smaller number of teeth and large gullets. For instance, a hook-toothed saw blade which consists of 3″ of teeth can be a good starting point.

You might have to spend more on the right quality blade for ripping wood, but in the long run, it will benefit a lot because the blade will cut smoother and last longer.

 If you want to achieve the perfect edge, you can use a blade made for resawing thick-sized boards in thin stock. A wide blade can also be flexible though it requires more support.

So here, you might need a blade guide. Positioned below and above the table, these will lock the blade to prevent wandering and twisting. You have to set the guides and fix bearings that are as near as possible to the blade without them touching it.

Furthermore, the marks from the blade left on the saw can be removed to create a smooth finished edge. The saw patterns often look worse than they are, but one swipe over the jointer and the border will be ready to glue.

However, if you don’t have a jointer, you can either use a hand plane to create smooth edges on a complete board or clean them smoothly over the planer. All you have to do is gang the narrow parts for stability and smooth them to a consistent width.

Using An 8d Nail

If you don’t have a table saw to rip your boards, then there is a method to make it work. It would help if you pushed an 8d nail inside the board and through the sawhorse to stop the board from slipping while you do on it.

After you are done ripping the boards, you can remove it from the sawhorse and flip it over. Next, drive the nail through and then pull it out. This process doesn’t take a lot of time and removes the difficulty of a slipping board.


The methods above prove that you don’t need a table saw for ripping wood. There are many ways to become a good woodworker with various alternatives. In conclusion, the table saw is not the only tool to rely on.

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