Terms of the Trade: Rip Cut vs. Cross-Cut

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When cutting lumber, there are two types of cuts you can make in regards to the wood grain. A rip cut is when you go parallel to the grain. (Or, think about it as going in the same direction of the grain.) This is the typical cut you may think of in relation to a sawmill, where a tree is cut down into boards of varying length and width. In comparison, a cross-cut is made when you go perpendicular to, or against, the grain. Different tools are used to achieve these cuts. A table saw is best for rip cutting, while a miter saw or separate chop works best for cross-cutting. However, there are some combination table saw blades that can work for both.