Q: How can I safely rip short pieces of wood?
A: Use a band saw, not a table saw. It’s not good shop practice to rip a board less than 12 in. long on the table saw because it may kick back at you. A band saw won’t kick back. Use a fence to guide the cut and a push stick to keep your fingers out of harm’s way. Smooth the rough surface with a sanding block or a hand plane, or rub it on a piece of sandpaper taped to a flat surface, such as your table saw.