Table Saw Or Portable Saw Rip Capacity – Factors To Consider


When it comes to using a table saw for cutting wood, one of the most important factors to consider is the rip capacity. Understanding the rip capacity of a table saw is crucial for determining the size of projects you can undertake and the price you should expect to pay. In this article, we will explore the concept of rip capacity, its significance in different types of table saws, and how to increase the rip capacity to suit your needs.

rip capacity of table saws

What is Rip Capacity on a Table Saw?

Rip capacity on a table saw refers to the maximum width of wood that can be cut between the saw blade and the fence. It is essential to consider the rip capacity when selecting a table saw, as it determines the size of the projects you can handle. The price of a table saw is often influenced by its rip capacity, making it crucial to understand your specific needs before making a purchase. For those in the business of selling tables, ripping wood is a fundamental aspect of achieving square cuts.

To increase the rip capacity of a table saw, there are several options available. You can invest in a Torsion box router table, readjust the existing railing and table, or extend one side of the workbench with a depth capacity table. By taking these steps, you can enhance the width of materials you can rip, allowing for more versatile woodworking projects.

Common Rip Capacities on Small Table Saws

Portable Table Saws – 28 Inches

  • If you’re looking for an entry-level option with a decent rip capacity, consider DeWalt table saws. With 28 inches of rip capacity, you can easily rip pieces of timber up to 48 inches. This size is suitable for standard craftsmen and their projects.

Contractor Table Saw – 30 Inches

  • For more demanding cuts, such as those required by contractors, a rip capacity of 30 inches is often preferred. Table saws like the SawStop 36 Inch Contractor Table Saw offer optimal rip capacity for versatile cutting needs.

Professional Cabinet Table Saw – 50 Inches

  • Unless you’re a professional woodworker, a rip capacity of 50 inches is rarely necessary. Professional cabinet-style table saws like the Cantek models provide extensive rip capacity for heavy-duty jobs.

Cantek 50 inch table saw

Understanding Rip Capacity vs. Depth Capacity

It’s important to note the difference between rip capacity and depth capacity on table saws. Rip capacity refers to the width of the material you can cut, while depth capacity determines the thickness of the wood that can be cut. These two features work together to provide precise and efficient cuts on various woodworking projects.

How Much Rip Capacity Do You Need?

The amount of rip capacity you require depends on the type of work you do. For framing jobs in significant construction projects, a 24-inch rip capacity is often sufficient. This allows for cutting standard plywood sheets measuring four feet wide by eight feet long. On the other hand, smaller projects like furniture-making may require a smaller rip capacity.

It’s essential to consider your specific needs and the sizes of projects you typically work on. Investing in a table saw with the appropriate rip capacity will ensure that you can handle your woodworking tasks effectively. While smaller rip capacities may be more cost-effective, larger rip capacities are suitable for heavy-duty jobs that demand more significant cutting capabilities.

How to Rip Wood on a Table Saw?

Ripping refers to cutting wood lengthwise along the direction of the wood grain, while crosscuts involve cutting wood across the grain. To rip wood on a table saw, follow these steps:

  1. Adjust the blade depth to ensure it is slightly above the surface of the wood.
  2. Mark the workpiece accurately to ensure precise cuts.
  3. Set and align the fence to guide the workpiece for a straight cut.
  4. Position the outfeed support area correctly to prevent any mishaps.
  5. Push the workpiece onto the saw blade and perform the rip cut.
  6. Use a push stick for added safety during the cutting process.
  7. Turn off the table saw once you’ve completed the task.

Increasing Rip Capacity on a Table Saw

If you find that the rip capacity of your table saw is insufficient for your needs, there are several ways to increase it:

  1. Extend Rip Capacity by Extending One Side of Your Table Saw:
  • By creating a separate table and attaching it to the side of your existing table saw, you can increase the rip capacity. This larger table will provide additional workspace and allow for wider cuts. Note that this may be more challenging to implement with certain fence systems, such as the rack and pinion system.
  1. Readjust Your Fence Railing or Existing Fence:
  • Another option is to modify the fence and fence railing of your current table saw to increase the rip capacity. This may require disassembling, measuring, and reassembling the table saw. Online DIY tutorials can guide you through this process.
  1. Buy a Table Extension for Your Saw Model:
  • Consider purchasing a table saw stand with an auxiliary fence and table extension to expand your working area and rip capacity. This ready-made solution is quick and straightforward to assemble without the need for drilling or disassembling your table saw.


When it comes to selecting a table saw, understanding rip capacity is essential for determining the size of projects you can undertake. By carefully considering your specific needs and the nature of your woodworking projects, you can choose a table saw with an appropriate rip capacity. Additionally, if your current table saw’s rip capacity falls short, there are various methods to increase it. Whether you extend the table, readjust the fence, or purchase an extension, increasing rip capacity will enhance your woodworking capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can you extend a table saw’s rip capacity?
  • To extend the rip capacity on most table saws, you can purchase a table saw extension, tweak the fence sliding rail, or add a larger table to one side of your table saw. These are the most commonly employed methods to increase ripping capacity.
  1. What does ripping capacity on a table saw mean?
  • Ripping capacity on a table saw refers to the maximum width of the cut between the fence and the saw blade. Smaller table saws and larger models have different maximum rip capacities, which are influenced by the size of the blade.
  1. How many types of table saws are there?
  • There are four main types of table saws commonly used for cutting hardwood: portable benchtop & job site table saws, contractor table saws, cabinet table saws, and hybrid table saws. Each type offers various features and rip capacities to suit different woodworking needs.
  1. When will you need a higher rip capacity?
  • If you are working on large-scale construction projects, a higher rip capacity of around 40 inches is typically required. Different rip capacities demand larger tables to accommodate extensive woodworking projects and utilize space effectively.

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