Panel Saw Tips for Woodworkers

Posted by Karen Koenig | Posted: 03/27/2014 3:35PM


Listed below are a few basic tips to help woodworkers optimize their production at the panel saw.

1 A front loading system may offer more flexibility. This comes into play for manufacturers trying to achieve the same output of batch cutting, but with single sheets. Also suggested for front-loading models is to have the material on a scissor lift positioned at the side away from the right angle fence and oriented for crosscutting first. The panels can then easily be pivoted onto the air tables at the front of the machine

2 Keep idle time at a minimum. On a horizontal saw, instead of offloading the last part of a cutting cycle, pull it away from the cutting line, load the next sheet into the clamps of the saw, initiate the next cutting cycle and then offload the last part. Also, by starting the ripping cycle as far from the controller side of the saw as possible, there is room to turn the first strip or strips, orienting them for crosscutting. You can also eliminate morning downtime by pulling material at the end of the day for the next morning’s production

3 A panel saw that offers parts labeling capability can save time and energy. Included on the label can be the following information: barcode, what the part is and which cabinet/furniture product it is associated with, part size, the next operation for processing, material, grain pattern, hardware, etc. If feasible, woodworking shops should also invest in a good optimization package, which will design cutting patterns and schedule the throughput for the shop.

4 Process custom parts quickly and efficiently. Features are available to process a higher percentage of customized parts. For horizontal saws, these include: high speed movement in the saw carriage, pusher and side aligners, and dual pushers for crosscutting.

5 Vertical saws also are seeing increased demand for flexibility. Today’s options include: digital positioning of the stock, the ability to cut a variety of substrates in addition to wood and wood-based panels, repeatability, laser alignment and auto positioning on the X axis.


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About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory ( She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at or Google+.

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