Cutting narrow laminate strips......


PRO Member
What method do you use when you rip strips for lets say the southwest design? I use the gripper for running stock on my saw but 1/8 inch is pretty narrow between the blade and the fence. The 1/8 shoe is the thinnest one made for the gripper anyway and it would still hit the blade while pushing through. I made the 1/8 inch strip the drop off piece and run the saw tooth edge of the lamination on the fence but accuracy is not as good? Thanks.


Lloyd Johnson

Staff member
Aside from the riving knife, I think the best safety device to come along in years is the GRRipper and I use one (or two at a time) whenever possible and this includes cutting thin strips.

For Southwest designs, I always cut out the center by putting one sawtooth edge against the fence and then turning the board around to repeat the process so that the center is removed equally from each side. HOWEVER, this can only be done if you can stand the board up on its 'ears' and all ears touch the surface of a table saw. If they don't, this cut becomes dangerous because you can slightly change the direction of the wood as it passes the saw blade and that could cause binding. If the ears don't all touch, you can double-side tape a board on top of the generation board that extends beyond the ears and use that board against the fence. It is a far better idea, though, to make sure that the generation board is made correctly so that it can be used as first described.

I then turn the two halves around so that the sawtooth is now away from the fence and make all remaining cuts in that orientation.

As for cutting the thin strips, I always calibrate my fence before each project so that I can rely on the the fence's gauge. If it is 1/8" or more, I use the GRRipper with an 1/8" attachment and I always use a sacrificial block on the end so that it is positively carried through the cut with pressure from both the top and the rear.

I love that the GRRipper lets me carry the wood on both sides of the blade completely through the cut.


Jim Westmoreland

It probably goes without saying but I will say it anyway. Use a zero clearance table saw blade insert. It is really dangerous not to. I use a full face shield when cutting thin strips just in case a glue joint fails and a small segment of wood hits the blade. Safety glasses are good, but I once had a small piece of wood kick back and hit me in the cheek. It hurt! And bled a lot! Gripper now sells a splitter that you can put on your home made or purchased zero clearance insert works great.


Art Bodwell

PRO Member
Has anyone found that when cutting 1/8" strips for making southwest designs that because of the large number of joints, the strips are very fragile, especially with any length? Art


Super Moderator
Staff member
Has anyone found that when cutting 1/8" strips for making southwest designs that because of the large number of joints, the strips are very fragile, especially with any length? Art

Yep. I was cutting a maple/walnut 1/8 inch and had one of the strips break at one of the glue joints. I messed up the center cut, so the pattern did not come out as well as I would have liked. Lesson learned, lay out better, take more time in the setup and alignment of the cut.

I remember viewing one of M. Tibbots DVD's on the indian blanket design and he mentioned that the strips can be pretty fragile.

Tibbots also has a interesting approuch of cutting thin strips. He has of course a zero clearance plate. Tibbots approuch was to have a "carrier board" between the fence and the blade. The fence with the carrier board is adjusted to the width you need. (example 1/8). He then tapes the board to be cut to the carrier board on the top and bottom the full leangh of the board. When taping he made sure the two board edges were kept tight to each other. He then makes the cut for the first thin strip. He then has to retape the laminate board to the carrier board and makes the next thin strip.

This has worked for me in the past. I also have used the gripper to cut thin strips.


PRO Member
I purchased a thin rip guage from rockler & I have used to cut 1/8 spacer stips: it work very good. However I haven't tried it yet on a lamination.............