One of the things that gets under the skin of most woodworkers is when a part comes off the saw with a black-marred edge. It’s a burn made by the blade rubbing the board. Most times you can see an arcing pattern in the darkened defect. How do you make cuts with your table saw that produces burn-free edges?
Step one is to make sure that your saw is set up properly, that your fence does not toe-in. In fact, I like my fence to toe-out about the thickness of a once-folded dollar bill. If your fence is right, you’re less apt to get burn. Also, a sharp and clean blade is sure to help. But those are not the only things to consider.
You have to have your lumber properly dried – the real culprit is the sudden exposure of the middle of the board, which has a higher moisture content than the edges or faces of the board. And at times, movement could be from a release of stress in the tree.
Sometimes, even when your lumber is dried right, you still get a small amount of movement as you saw. What I’ve found is that this usually happens when you’re cutting down the middle of a wider board, or with a significant amount of width left in your cutoff.
One of the best ways I’ve learned to reduce edge burn is to make a rough cut close to my final dimension, then rip the last 1/8″ to 3/16″ off with a second cut (see the opening photo). With such a thin amount of cutoff, there is less movement in the waste piece (the cutoff) and that reduces the potential for burn.
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