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Finally got started with my tablesaw sled . I started with 3' x 4' plywood panel and 2 36" x 3/4" alumum rails. I drilled holes ever 2" and taped the holes # 8 32 thread. I now have the two rails countersunk and screwed to the plywood. Now getting ready to mount the fence square to the tablesaw .

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Mike, Hugh is very correct in his comment above. Not only is the improperly adjusted saw dangerous but it is not accurate unless the trunnion is correctly adjusted and running free of wobble or slop in the bearings.  Trunnion adjustment is the first thing you need to do to set up an accurate and safe saw.  The trunnion bearings must be tight and smooth in the trunnion housing to perform correctly.  The saw arbor shaft facing (saw blade rests against this in order to tighten with nut) must be at an absolute 90 degrees to the shaft.  The arbor shaft must also run true without wobble meaning that it must be absolute straight and allows no runout out as the shaft spins.  The trunnion housing must be adjusted so that it is 90 degrees to the saw table surface and set so it is square to the miter guide track from the front of the table and extending all along the length of the miter track.   I do this using the guide track on the left side of the blade since i use the left side of the table for all my accurate cuts including my most accurate saw sled.  ( I have several I use depending on what I am doing)  To square the table with the track guides move the table on its mountings and adjust the trunnion to the table for the 90 degree to the table top (vertical) use shims.  All mounting bolts must be of a grade high enough to with stand the pressure generated in the saws operation.  The most critical is the trunnion mounting bolts.  In trunnions the best is the ones with ball bearings are superior to the bronze bushings type found in the cheaper saws.  Once you have the trunnion and table set correctly this is the time to set the miter scale on the saw.

Once the table and trunion are adjusted check the opposite miter track against the trunnion and table settings you have established.  These should match without changing any of your prior adjustments. If they do not match then the difference is the inaccurate maching of the table top and will never be an accurate saw using both miter tracks without making adjustments to that track or the tooling using that track.   If it is off too much then dump the saw for a better one.  It can be used however avoid using the inaccurate miter slide unless you make adjustments to the tooling used in that track. This is why i set up my saw using the side I will use most for my accurate work.  Another reason that I use a sled with only one slide bar.  

Another reason to have a inaccurate saw when using the miter tracks is if they are loose and sloppy to the slide bars used on either a miter guage or on other device used to slide a piece of wood past a saw blade.

Accurace cuts will also demand a quality saw blade of which will remain true even after long cuts in heavy tough material and after continious runs of several minutes without stopping the saw.  A reason that I use the 1/8" thick blades and most often the 40 tooth combination blade.  Heat causes metal movement and the more metal there the more heat it will take before making a radical change.  I also use a blade viberation dampener to reduce the viberations from heavy cutting. The dampners also absorb more heat from the blade.   It is of importance to have and maintain a sharp blade as it greatly improves the all around performance of the cutting.  A tough and jagged cut will become more like a smooth easily cut piece.  Less wear and tear on both the saw and the operator and it will greatly improve the safety of a saw.  Simply put, the more force you have to use on any object the more apt you are to do damage to your self in the event of a sudden change of cutting action.  imagine a crack you didn't see causes the lumber to suddenly explode or a knot suddenly decides to attemtp to flee the saw blade and the once knot there now is a void and you loose control and into the blade you go.

The next important thing in saw preperation is the alinement of the drive system.  The alinement must be set so that the drive pulleys are running true without runout and must be square to the drive motor and trunnion.   The motor must be securely tightened to the mounting and have enough power to operate the saw without bogging down. If multiple belts are used in the drive system then matched belts should be used and replace as a set. 

Hugh is again right about the fence cutting accurate even if the blade is not true to the miter tracks.  Since it is supported by the table top it should be the last thing to adjust.   If the table top is alined properly to the blade trunnion assembly the saw will cut accurately and to cut accurately with the fence the fence must be set up using the settings from the blade and trunnion.  This meaning the alinement at 90 degrees to the blade and then kick the rear of the fence open about .002" to allow the material to freely pass the blade without pinching and closing against the blade.  Here again is another safety issue of which every saw doing a ripping of lumber needs a properly alined splitter securely attached to rear of the saw.  This is important feature to prevent the squeezing of lumber against the blade causing kickbacks and also burning of the lumber against the blade.  (continued)

(Continued table saw accuracy)

Of importance in saw fences never use one of which does not lock firmly each time it is moved and locked.  It must be a ridgid and a strong fence and high enough that material will not climb over it during a cut.  Once the fence is accurately so that it slides square to the blade trunnion that its scale should be adjusted.  Once all this is considered and addressed then you should have a saw that will cut accurately and safely.  About a month ago i posted comments about how I made my table saw accurate and safe to use.  In that post I talked about using a nickel when I set up and tuned my saw .  It is also my test to insure that nothing has changed in my saw from earlier use.  I do this almost daily before I start up the saw.  I know from experience that any change in a saw can be detected by the viberations that it produces.  It might be small enough that sounds do not come from the saw and the saw will not always jump up and down so standing a nickel on its side with a running saw will test it for you.  If that nickel will stand on its edge you have a finely tuned saw and one you can cut with without fear of accidents from a failure of a saw part. 

In this post I have talked about trunnions and arbors.  I did not address the direct drive saws.  The main difference is that a direct drive saw does not have a trunnion so to speak as the motor assemble is the trunnion and should be adjusted using pretty much the same type of thinking.  I know they can not be fine tuned to perform like the big cabinet and heavier saws but can be improved in performance and safety using some of the same method I have discussed above.  One of the additional items to consider is making sure the smaller saw is fastened down enough to prevent it from moving while in use.  Alot of force is put against the saw when pushing lumber through and a little movement can often lead to a accident.

Other safety measures to consider is checking the saw blade for missing and bent teeth, bent or cracked blade bodies as well as tightness of the blade to the arbor.  Check the fence for locking simply by moving the fence to a couple different location and locking it down and giving it a quick bump with the hand.  Checking the on off switch and the other safety devices to insure that they work correctly.  Keep the saw table clear of other items including tape measures screw drivers and other tools.  Accidents happen by simple things like a stray nail or screw laying on the saw or even near the saw.  Another item often over looked in table saw safety is the saw blade inserts for the table.  Using a loose fitting insert is asking for trouble, using a datto insert on a standard saw blade is dangerous as well.  Cutting lumber without eye protection is another item of necessity if you want to remain seeing with both eyes.

Firm footing and secure fitting shirt sleeves and clothing is another item often neglected as well as standing directly behind the blade is dangerous. 

Another safety item is working on a saw while it is still plugged in is double dangerous.  Avoid alcoholic beverages as well as working with a saw while tired and or on medications.  Avoid any distractions when sawing might keep your self or others safe . 

 Maybe I get carried away with all this but I have has the misfortune of having to be involved in the investigation of a death caused by a table saw.  This has been years ago and I still see the blood everytime I turn on the saw.

This death was caused by carless operation of the normal inocent looking home type table saw.  Remember a saw is only as safe as you make it be.  PLEASE !!!! think and work safe before you flip that switch.......... 

Mike,  your post caused me to add another comment about how I set up my saw and saw safety. Small saws are not really the type of saw you can easiluy make a sled for.  I have several sleds that I have made over the years and some use the double tracks on the table.  However the one i use most for the most accurate cut is the one with a single track.  I seldom use the ones that straddle the blade as it is not needed for what I do and the method of work that I do.  I rough cut to length my lumber on a radial saw and then finish cut it using either the sled or the slide table.  What I was discussing in the post of earlier date was referring to using a single slide making it cut accurate to the one miter slide blade assembly.  In this I simple build the sled platform about an inch or so bigger than where the blade will cut it off.  Run the piece through the blade and then use the cut edge to aline the fence.  This gives you a line where the cuts will be made each time and you set he fence of the sled to this line and you can check it making a single cut across a piece of plywood and checking the cut using a accurate square.  To verrify the accuracy of a framing square place it with the tongue on a straight  edge like the cut line you made on the sled, draw a line against the square and then flip it over with the tongue pointing the opposite direction against the straight edge and again draw a line.  If accurate the two line will be equal spaced along the intire length,  To fix an inaccurate square simple pean the square body at the intersection of the tongue and body on the inside to open the square and on the body of the square at the tongue and the body outside to close the square.  Becareful it does not take much to move the square .

Mike Kahle said:

Not trying to hijack this thread, but since this is still on topic, maybe this can help others...

Jay, I tried the method you describe but did the cut in the middle of the sled, not the end. Using the guides on either side of the blade. I used the slot to true up the fence. Then I did the 5 cut test to see if the fence was actually true or not. First time it was off by 1/4 inch at the top of the fifth cut, the second time it was off by 3/16 inch at the bottom of the cut. I soon figured out that my 10 inch blade (a black and decker 40 tooth carbide tooth blade) bent and flopped when it was cutting, all on its own. I can set the regular fence 1 inch away from the blade, and do a cut, it will be exactly 1 inch wide, then do it again without touching the blade and the cut will be 1/16 to 1/8 shy or over the inch... and the opposite of that cut for the third cut....

Is this normal? the blade seems as this as the others I have. It is a new one that I just bought and put on.

Is this because I have a cheap Delta ShopMaster?

The miter guides on the Delta Shopmaster is a keyhole slot.... is not a true square and is not deep at all... extremely hard to make runners for this thing...

Mike, check for any end play in the motor/arbor assembly. I had a similar problem with a Ryobi BTS 21. I would set the fence up with a carpenter square and the cut would invariably be 1/16" off toward the fence. Left tilt direct drive saw. I finally discovered there was enough end play in the motor that the whole mess would move on power up. Sold that saw.....

Mike Kahle said:

Not trying to hijack this thread, but since this is still on topic, maybe this can help others...

Jay, I tried the method you describe but did the cut in the middle of the sled, not the end. Using the guides on either side of the blade. I used the slot to true up the fence. Then I did the 5 cut test to see if the fence was actually true or not. First time it was off by 1/4 inch at the top of the fifth cut, the second time it was off by 3/16 inch at the bottom of the cut. I soon figured out that my 10 inch blade (a black and decker 40 tooth carbide tooth blade) bent and flopped when it was cutting, all on its own. I can set the regular fence 1 inch away from the blade, and do a cut, it will be exactly 1 inch wide, then do it again without touching the blade and the cut will be 1/16 to 1/8 shy or over the inch... and the opposite of that cut for the third cut....

Is this normal? the blade seems as this as the others I have. It is a new one that I just bought and put on.

Is this because I have a cheap Delta ShopMaster?

The miter guides on the Delta Shopmaster is a keyhole slot.... is not a true square and is not deep at all... extremely hard to make runners for this thing...

Jay - Nice write up on setting up a table saw and table saw safety, THANKS.

Question - Since you only run your sleds off one side, do you think a fall off table is a good idea? I've always run both sides but have been considering another sled and have been wondering about that aspect.

Could I make a suggestion about the runners.

Make them so they are 1/4 taller than your miter slot.It makes a world of difference when cutting,you have no drag from the sled at all.Only drag is two runners and keep the runners waxed up and it slides like butter and hot knife

John, The only way I will run a single sided sled is when I am cutting stock  where I have around an inch or maybe two inches fall off. I normally cut the material to an almost finish length on the radial where I have a long support bed.  It could be a problem if cutting longer pieces on the single sided sled due to the weight of the off fall.  When it comes to sheet goods and if I use a sled, I use the double runner double sided sled and do my rips first and then use the sled.   Yes a fall off table is a great idea as it controls the off fall.  At one time I had a seperate sheet of melamine of which I would lay across the table on the right side of the blade and it would catch the fall offs.  Worked alright and kept me from standing directly behind the saw blade but became another piece of wood to store.  After a few years  I went to the the slide table system which gave me an adjustable miter and fence that moved with the table past the blade and does it on the left side of the blade keeping me from standing directly behind the blade.  For some super accurate cuts I will most likely revert back the the single sided sled.

Thank you John for the comment above on the saw set up and safety.  I appreciate that there are those out there whom recogonize the dangers of a saw.  I take safety very highly as I have all my fingers and eyes and plan on keeping them.  I have been fortunate to never have had an accident that left me with an injury and hope that from some of my writing that others can enjoy their woodworking without injury.  Have a great day!!!



John Schaben said:

Jay - Nice write up on setting up a table saw and table saw safety, THANKS.

Question - Since you only run your sleds off one side, do you think a fall off table is a good idea? I've always run both sides but have been considering another sled and have been wondering about that aspect.

Jay,

Thanks for your detailed inputs.

Lots of ''great'' info.

Very Helpful---lots to consider and keep in mind.

 

 

Hello Jens, you have made a very good point and yes if will definately make pushing that sled across the table top a whole bunch easier.  Wax in the miter tracks and on the sled runners is also very good point also.  I know that there is several different types of table top finishes  on the market to put on the saw tables but it is spendy stuff too.  Something I have used quite frequently is the good old fashioned sinola clear boot polish without the silicones or water proofing.   Apply a light coat and buff it out makes it shine protects from rust and makes it a slick surface and you spend very little money.   Not only being cheap but it does not gum up and will not effect wood finishing like the automobile polishes do as they contain silicones.  As we know silicone and paint don't see eye to eye and makes lots of fisheyes in the finishes.  

Jens Jensen said:
Could I make a suggestion about the runners.

Make them so they are 1/4 taller than your miter slot.It makes a world of difference when cutting,you have no drag from the sled at all.Only drag is two runners and keep the runners waxed up and it slides like butter and hot knife

Anyone use Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax ?


http://www.minwax.com/wood-products/specialty-products/minwax-paste...

 

to coat metal and wood surfaces, to make for a smoother operation.

It doesn't contain silicon.

I get satisfactory results with this product, for many wood uses---as well as metal surfaces.

It protects metal working surfaces, table saw table, drill press table, and the like, from oxidizing (rusting).

 

TIP:  don't use it on ''floors'' and ''stair steps''---its to ''slippery'' and could result in hazardous conditions.

 

 

 

 

Ken you are most welcome.  I just know first hand how dangerous this necessary piece of equiptment is and how fast an accident  can happen to anyone of us.  Hopefully something I have touched on will save someone from an accident.  It happens in mili-seconds and can't be changed once it happens.   Thanks for taking time to read the post, as I hope more will read it and get some good from it.  Have a great Sunday..

Ken Darga said:

Jay,

Thanks for your detailed inputs.

Lots of ''great'' info.

Very Helpful---lots to consider and keep in mind.

 

 

Thanks Ken for the minwax information.  I will definately try it

Ken Darga said:

Anyone use Minwax® Paste Finishing Wax ?


http://www.minwax.com/wood-products/specialty-products/minwax-paste...

 

to coat metal and wood surfaces, to make for a smoother operation.

It doesn't contain silicon.

I get satisfactory results with this product, for many wood uses---as well as metal surfaces.

It protects metal working surfaces, table saw table, drill press table, and the like, from oxidizing (rusting).

 

TIP:  don't use it on ''floors'' and ''stair steps''---its to ''slippery'' and could result in hazardous conditions.

 

 

 

 

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