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WHAT TABLE SAW DO YOU OWN ?AND WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT ? RATING OUT OF 5!

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IMO, Short of a panel saw or track saw, Kens method is the safest way to break down sheet goods. Trying to run full sheets on a table saw without substantial infeed, outfeed and side support is borderline insanity. Accuracy and cut quality isn't difficult to achieve with circular saws. A good straight edge and some quality blades as well as taking some care in setting it up is all that's required. Circ saw blades are relatively cheap so having several, task specific, blades isn't a huge hardship. I have several of the clamps Ken mentioned from 24" to 99" and from Rockler, MLCS and Peachtree but the guiding task can be accomplished just as well with any number of things.

Thanks for your responses.  I just need to work at it - and get a good straight edge.

I also have problems getting things square - any thoughts on how to improve in that area?  I'm okay with small things but the bigger the projects get the harder it is for me.  And, there's usually a drawer and drawer slides involved and then I'm really in a pickle!  Any tips in that area would be greatly appreciated.

John,  Thanks again for the info. 

Home Depot has the Rigid 4510 new @ $499.  It also has the Rigid R4512 10 in. 13 amp "Professional Table Saw" for the same $499.  Are you familiar with the 4512?

Sue,

''Squaring-up'' larger pieces---

1st of all---one needs to start with a ''true'' and ''straight'' edge.

If the edge isn't true or straight, it needs to be made straight, which is dictated by the end result one is trying to accomplish.

Remove (rip) a narrow strip, along the length of the project piece.

Use a ''straight'' edge.

A straight edge can be placed along the cut edge, to examine if it is straight.

If any visible light appears between the straight edge and the project piece, it needs to be made true, especially if two mating cut edges need to be flush, with no visible gap, as in making a butted joint.

With practice, good tools, and accuracy, one should be able to rip two separate sheets of plywood to length,

place the cut edges side-by-side, with no visible gap.

I make gap checks using paper sheet stock (2-3mil thk) or 3x5 file card stock (7-8mil thick)---

automotive ''feeler gauges'' are a very handy tool, to have in your work shop---

great for router tool operations.

Squaring the opposite leg, of the project piece:

Place the long leg of a framing square along the cut edge.

Make a ''scribe'' mark, 90 degrees to the cut edge.  

Make the mark flush and tight to the edge of the square.

Make the mark with a sharp pencil, (hard lead), utility knife, or ''marking knife''. 

A utility knife or marking knife, will produce a ''keener'' sharp line.

Use enough pressure on the knife to produce a visible score line.

(One may make 2 or more passes to achieve this objective).

The finish cut-line should be made at the knife-cut line. 

The knife-cut scribe line will break thru the wood fibers, and result in ''no tear out'' on the project piece.

(circular saw blade teeth cut ''upwards'', and can produce a jagged cut edge).

I generally use a pencil when rough cutting a project piece, and use a knife or scribe, on the finish cut.

For a finer detail,  a ''scribe tool'' can also be used.  Often times, on some projects, a scribe tool is more effective, over a knife-cut.  A knife cut can sometimes follow the grain in the wood, and veer off to the side---not where you want it to go.

Make test cuts on scrap pieces, to see what works best for you on a specific project piece.

Pencil lines on a project piece is akin to a marking line on a yard stick,

vs a ''fine line'' on a tape measure or steel rule.

Hope this helps.

Works for me.

Sue,

Drawer slides:

The ''fixed rail'' need to be square and/or flush on the frame.

Lines need to be square and parallel.

The use of a gauge/fixture is useful to achieve this task.

Ken, thanks for your thoughtful answers!  I be using your suggestions!

I have a Jet table top saw with legs and table extensions. This particular saw was between the $100 saws and the shop saw. My biggest concern was the small size of the table top. It limits the usefulness of the saw and the top being used as a work table. It is the only perfectly level table top I have in my small shop. I think I paid $350 for it, performance wise, I am pleased, as I frequently rip 2x4's and smaller material. Most all my work is with softwoods. For most crosscutting, I use my power miter saw. The T-square on my saw was pretty lame and of little use. I would discourage anyone buying the $100 saw. If I was to do it again, I would buy the shop saw with a bigger table, 27" x 40" if possible, for this you are reaching up into the $600 - $800 range or higher.

I actually like the Steel City saws at Home Depot. But they are a bit pricey.

Sue,

More FYI---

if you're experiencing small tear-out, from the saw blade, while cutting plywood with a circular saw,

place a strip of masking tape, over the targeted cut line---

press the tape firmly in place, (I use a small roller),

make the ''cut line'' using a utility knife or marking knife over the tape,

cut thru the tape and into the wood.

Make the cut with the circular saw, along the knife cut-line.

Make the saw-kerf on the waste side of the project piece.

Using masking tape, will make the ''knife cut line'' more visible,

vs the cut line on a bare wood surface.

Remove the tape upon completion of the cut.

Using tape is an extra exercise, but is effective, in many cases.

TIP:  Drafting tape is very handy---more easily removable vs the general purpose masking tape.

Drafting tape has a lower bond strength, akin to the blue painters masking tape.

Ken how long have you been woodworking you seem to be very knowledgeable on various aspects would like to see some of your work posted

Ken Darga said:

Sue,

More FYI---

if you're experiencing small tear-out, from the saw blade, while cutting plywood with a circular saw,

place a strip of masking tape, over the targeted cut line---

press the tape firmly in place, (I use a small roller),

make the ''cut line'' using a utility knife or marking knife over the tape,

cut thru the tape and into the wood.

Make the cut with the circular saw, along the knife cut-line.

Make the saw-kerf on the waste side of the project piece.

Using masking tape, will make the ''knife cut line'' more visible,

vs the cut line on a bare wood surface.

Remove the tape upon completion of the cut.

Using tape is an extra exercise, but is effective, in many cases.

TIP:  Drafting tape is very handy---more easily removable vs the general purpose masking tape.

Drafting tape has a lower bond strength, akin to the blue painters masking tape.

Jens,

Started back in the mid 50's, helping my Dad build our new house.

My Dad and Granddad--- were excellent wood crafters.

They could build anything---wood carvings, furniture, houses, all types and sizes of buildings, barns and more. 

Went on to college, studied Engineering and Manufacturing, then got into designing and manufacturing commercial cooking equipment, for small ma-pop operations to major food preparations and serving companies---McD's, Wendy's, Burger King, restaurants, bakeries, Cruise Lines, and USNavy Food Service for US Military, land-base and shipboard operations, for small crews to huge ships.  They all gotta eat, don't ya know.

As a hobby, did wood working projects, of all sizes---from toys to houses.

Since retiring from the Engineering field, I'm doing a lot more wood working---for family, friends and myself, (wife too)---finishing, refinishing, remodeling and building wood products.

Love the smell of sawdust with my coffee.

I prefer to hear the sounds of machines making music, vs listening to the radio.

Other hobbies are fishing and hunting---love the smell of outboard motor exhaust and gun powder.

''Gun oil'' is my preferred after-shave lotion,  ;-)

Jens Jensen said:

Ken how long have you been woodworking you seem to be very knowledgeable on various aspects would like to see some of your work posted

Wow  that is impressive  cant wait to see some of your pocket screw work

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