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Consider the following sliding panel table saw:

enter image description here

I usually clamp the piece to the sliding panel and then smugly push it into the cutting disc with one finger.

However, when making rip cuts, it is quite tedious to align the board perfectly parallel to the disc. I was wondering if I can use the rip fence to align the piece.

I have a very similar table saw and the manual says that when you use the rip fence, the sliding panel has to be locked in place. Is there a reason for this?

It seems very suspicious that even the most hi-tech models have the rip fence invariably on the non-moving part of the saw only.

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    Hi Martin, have you looked for any of the published articles or YT videos from reliable sources (like Stumpy Nubs) on the basics of using table saw? I think you'll benefit from this, and after reading a few you'll be a lot more confident using your saw and will be able to avoid many of the safety pitfalls... such as using crosscut and rip cut features together!
    – Graphus
    Oct 9, 2022 at 12:44
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    @Graphus thank you for the recommendations! Yes, I watched several videos, especially about safety. I am especially interested in using the sliding panel as much as possible since I find it safest. Even using the rip fence exactly as it should be used would not protect me from the rarer forms of kickback, such as accidentally using case-hardened wood with inner tensions. With the piece clamped to the sliding panel and aligned using the Fritz Franz jig, and rip fence removed, I can operate the saw clear of the trajectory of any possible projectile. Oct 10, 2022 at 14:27

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I have a very similar table saw and the manual says that when you use the rip fence, the sliding panel has to be locked in place. Is there a reason for this?

I've never used a European-style table saw like that, so your mileage (kilometerage?) may vary, but in general with table saws you use either the rip fence or the miter gauge/sliding table, never both at the same time. The idea is that as you make a cut, one part of the workpiece (generally the one you want to keep) is constrained by the guide (again, the rip fence or miter gauge or sliding table), and the part on the other side of the blade should be free to fall away from the blade as soon as the cut finishes.

For example, if you're using the sliding table, the offcut will naturally move away from the blade slightly as the cut finishes, but it won't be able to do that if the rip fence is supporting it, and it's much more likely that a kickback will happen in that case.

The same idea is even more important when crosscutting. Let's say you're trying to cut several 100 mm blocks off the end of a long board. It seems like you could set the rip fence at 100 mm, set the board against the miter fence, and rapidly cut blocks by making a cut, sliding board over to hit the rip fence, making another cut, and so on. The problem is that those blocks are trapped between the blade and rip fence, and they could easily become projectiles if they happen to catch on the blade.

What you can do, though, is to clamp a small block of wood against the rip fence near the front of the table, and then set the fence so that the left side of that block is 100 mm from the cut line. Now it's fairly safe to cut the blocks as described above, using the block clamped to the fence as the stop block to position the board before each cut. In this arrangement, the fence isn't right up against the blocks as they're cut, so there's nothing keeping the blocks right next to the spinning blade.

However, when making rip cuts, it is quite tedious to align the board perfectly parallel to the disc. I was wondering if I can use the rip fence to align the piece.

If you're making a rip cut (i.e. cutting along the length of a board), skip the sliding table and use the rip fence -- that's what it's for. The rip fence is obviously long, and it provides lots of support for the side of the workpiece as you slide it along. The sliding table is for crosscuts, where the long side of the board is perpendicular to the blade and parallel to the miter fence (the thing that you've got marked with a question mark).

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