Dedicated vs. power-fed tablesaw ripping

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Increasing productivity by upgrading to a straight-line, dedicated saw. August 29, 2001

We process 10,000-15,000 board feet of various hardwoods per year and are looking for ways to increase productivity. Presently, we straightline rip on a sliding table saw and then take the boards to a heavy duty table saw with a power feeder for ripping to width. This saw could use more horsepower (it's 5hp). If we are going to upgrade, is it worth the expense of moving up to a straight line dedicated saw?

Forum Responses
Just by the simple fact that you would be down to working on one tool, a straight line would be worth the cost. As an example, we have for sale a 15 hp dip chain straight line right now for $3500. There are others in this class also available, and compare that to buying a new 7.5 hp table saw. Tough to find a table saw with more power than that. Do the math and I think you'll see the answer. Once you get the feel of a straight line, you will be amazed at both the yield and time efficiency of the tool.

From contributor B:
Yes. I had a saw with a feeder and it worked very well. When I found a used import straight line rip I upgraded. It has 7hp and rips 1" very well, however it is not enough HP to do too much 2". Not needing a straight edge to cut and not having the feeder slip makes it a real joy to use. I cross-cut most of my stock first, so with one operator you can stay busy stuffing it in one end and picking it up on the other. I am using a glue joint rip blade from Systi-Matic. It does a fantastic job.

From contributor T:
I would be interested in knowing what your end product(s) is and how you receive your raw lumber (straightlined and surfaced already, perhaps?).

From contributor B:
I make kitchen and bath cabinets using the 32mm system of construction. My material comes H&M 15/16. Most lumber is cut for door and drawer fronts as well as other trim parts.

From contributor T:
Thinking of an old tilt table, belt driven Yates American or similar brand set up with a feeder and dedicated to certain ripping jobs.

The arbor is longish and can sometimes run two blades with a spacer in between (cleat stock, etc.). The cost of such a saw can be $1200 or less. Often it has 10 hp.

For short pieces, a hopper may be advised. A hundred fpm is not uncommon on these beasts. Blade projection can easily be 6". You have a straight edge already so fence feeding will retain it.