Craftsman T-Slot help

As a newbie, I think I made my first mistake. Without doing a whole lot of research, I bought a Craftsman 10" table saw. Since I'm very new to wood working, my justification was, buy cheap, learn what I need and like and then someday get better. I still think that will ultimately be the wise course, but in the mean time I've got to use what I bought...
I thought the first thing I should do is build a sled for it, and try and make it as accurate as possible. However, I'm unsure of how to best build the "t-slot" runners.
So my question is how to produce a T-Slot runner for a craftsman? Can this be bought in bulk? Would that even make sense to consider that?
I don't have a router table, or joiner or any other tools like that, so if i made it,I'd be using the table saw. Can something this small be made on a cheap table saw accurately enough?
Any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated.
Fredster
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Forget about the "T" slot. Just make or buy the runner(s) to glide in the slot alone. Something this small can be made on a cheap table saw, provided you think ahead. Tom
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I used a piece of 1/2" flat steel stock from Home Depot and glued it to a 3/8" wide peice of 1/4" thick hardi-board. Works like a champ.
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On Apr 27, 2:14 pm, snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com wrote:

Thanks, didn't thin kof this. Great ideas!
Fredster
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Well, first of all, I have a Craftsman ts. In fact, a used Craftsman TS. I have made very nice furniture on it. If you want to call it a mistake, you might as well forget about woodworking; sell the damned thing before you hurt yourself.

You cut hardwood strips 3/4" x 3/8". You are done. Can you handle that?

Can they be bought in bulk?! Geez, you picked the wrong hobby.

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Not a very helpful attitude. I bought a Craftsman contractor saw last year, and in many senses it was also a mistake. But, as with the OP, it was a mistake that I wasn't able to evaluate at the time because I had no recent experience using a table saw.
In most aspects, though, it hasn't been a mistake. It was intended as a learning tool, and it is serving that purpose. I'm now clear on several details that I dislike (way too short infeed area), and I can try to avoid those when I have the money to upgrade (assuming I don't spend the money on a lathe first). Until then, I can learn to pay attention to the useful details of the projects and improve what skills I can.
--
Drew Lawson I had planned to be dead by now, but
snipped-for-privacy@furrfu.com the schedule slipped, they do that.
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It irritates me when people become obsessed with equipment. He doesn't know how to cut a runner, but already feels he doesn't have an adequate tablesaw. Yes, I would like to have a $2500 saw with a 5hp motor and huge tables; but my craftsman contractor ts does just fine. Any deficiencies in my work are due to my lack of skill rather than my lack of a better ts.
In climbing it is called posing; buying all the latest gear, but never actually using it. Incredibly they actually enjoy walking around climbing areas, wearing it all. Here we just talk about how awful Craftsman is.
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It's always interesting to see someone offer such friendly, courteous, helpful responses. It's encouraging to those new to the "game" and we who enjoy the hobby (or profession, as the case may be) like to see others join us. If enough folks get into the activity, the marketing of tools of the trade should improve.
Fred, I just cut my runners out of maple (hard stuff), disregarding the "T" in the slots. I placed the runners in the slots and squared the sled (made of Baltic Birch ply) to the blade, then used screws (countersunk) to fasten the sled to the runners. Be sure to keep the sled square to the blade. Works for me.
Max
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Forget that it has a T. Treat it as if the sides were strait. No need for anything to fit in the T part of the slot. Mine has T slots. I think that they were just a waste of milling time.

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CW wrote:

I may be wrong, but I suspect the "T" slots the OP was talking about are not the normal T-slots. Some of the Craftsman saws have an odd size slot that has protrusions on the top of the slot to keep the miter gauge from lifting.
If I'm right, most of the suggestions given here won't work. I'd be tempted to take a file and remove the protrusions.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Larry From what I have seen of the Craftsman and now several other brands, the "T" slot does indeed have the little protrusions on top to keep the miter from slipping out. My Skil had the same thing, hence my suggestion and actual use of the slide from a second miter gage (gage removed) worked very well. Built a pretty handy cross-cut sled using this arrangement, with a wooden runner along the left side of the sled for stability.
Bill

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Larry,
I guess I didn't explain myself real well (not my gift in life), but you caught the problem. Yes, it's not just a standard slot. and it's not true T-Slot either. It has 2 or 3 sets of protrusions. Just enough to catch the mitre saw "track" from slipping off the saw table when you pull it out too far. I suppose to the engineers of this saw, it was probably a good idea. To me, it makes creating a piece of stock to slide in the slot 10 times harder.
I think I've got it figured out though. I started by making a hmmm "zero clearence insert" I guess that's what you would call it anyway. With the massive gaps between the saw blade and the original insert, I was afraid of having any really small stock slip through. After that and making some really narrow feather boards and stock pushers, I was able to make some true t-slot stock. I took a previous posters advice, made two seperate pieces; sanded and planed them to fit as well as I could, then glued them together.
I think in the future though, I'm going to just file these "protrusions" down, as I feel what's gained by having them, is heavily offset by the trouble in making t-slot stock.
So thanks all who offered suggestions. To the rest of you that could only offer negativity, WOW! Why do you waste your time on these boards, if all you can do is offer contempt? I'm here to find out how to best use the equipment I have, not dog on Crafstman or any other tool. But if I had come here, or done more research I do think I would have waited until I could afford a little bit better saw. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue to ask questions here and learn to use what i have to it's fullest, and learn to let the comments from such jerks like "Drew" and "Toller" not bother me...
Thanks!
Fredster
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And perhaps, in keeping with this newfound spirit of learning, a good place to start would be to go back and reread Drew's post?
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There are some good ideas and suggestions listed for the problem in the other responses. So let me offer mine! I had the same concern with my Skil 10" saw. It also had the "t" slot. I ordered an additional miter gage ($13.00), took the gage off the rail and used the rail alone for my cross-cut sled. Worked like a "champ" for three years. Recently sold the saw and upgraded to the Rigid 3650. Everyone has to start somewhere................ Bill

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I made the same Craftsman mistake and lived with it for 25 years.
Did it work? -- Yeah. Did it hold a candle to my 1023s -- No way, never.
If you are in any way serious about woodworking, starting with cheap stuff, especially the TS, is flawed economy and logic. The TS is the heart of the shop. I didn't fully understand it until I moved up with an incredible increase in accuracy, power, quality, ease-of-use, etc. If you really want to burn yourself out on woodworking, buy one of the $65 routers.
Sorry - that's just he way it works!
Regarding T-slots, don't worry about it. I used a sled and other jigs on mine using the rail slots - didn't have "T". Basically the undercut of the "T" keeps things from falling off on your foot.
RonB
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RonB wrote:

So how does anyone know, when they start out, whether they will ever be 'serious'?
They don't. That's why there is a lively market in used Craftsman saws. They work 'well enough'. Some folks outgrow them. Others move on to other interests. The saw survives and passes into new hands.
Dear OP -- we have this debate roughly twice a month.
One school of thought says to buy a truly expensive piece of equipment that you barely know how to use.
They other says to buy cheaply and learn how to use it before investing big bucks.
IMHO, spending a ton of money on tools at the outset is the "flawed economy and logic" as the value of the higher-end tool is partly in increased durability which you will never see if you decide, after a year or two, to move on to some other hobby. What you WILL see is the depreciation.
This is an area where opinions are plentiful but hard numbers are rare. In my OPINION, use the Craftsman until you find yourself stopped from making a project because the saw is not up to the task. By then, you'll know what you want in your -second- saw.
I bought my Craftsman contractors saw from a retired boat builder. That's fairly demanding work. I doubt if I will ever outgrow it.
But, even if I do, I only have $150 into the saw. Five years from now it will likely still be worth $150 to its next owner.
Bill
--
http://nmwoodworks.com/cube


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One thing you need to check is that the miter gage slot is "standard size". Craftsman sometimes makes things a little different size so that other manufacturer's accessories won't fit their tools. Gene
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As you can tell by the responses making a T runner is not needed and would make the sled awkward to use. You would have slide it completely off the table to remove it instead of just picking it up.
Welcome aboard and don't sweat the Crapsman comments. My first TS was a Craftsman tabletop that only lasted a year but I enjoyed it. My first router was Craftsman that lasted ten years before the internal fan came apart (router still runs). My tailed drill and sawzall are both Craftsman that are at least 15 years old and still going.
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Fredster,
I assume that you bought something like the Craftsman 21805 with the nonstandard miter slot. (i.e. http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?catnch+Power+Tools&pid921805000&vertical=TOOL&subcat=Table+Saws&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes)
I had the same problem with my saw, and finally decided to forget the slot. Instead, I made a sled with a runner that fits between the left side of the table and the left table extension. The runner is a piece of 1x1, which has plenty of clearence in the space between the bed and the extension. Place a piece of plywood over it, square it to the table saw and screw the runner into the plywood (counter sink the screws). Raise the blade through the plywood and cut a slot. Do not cut all the way through at this point. Take a framing square and set it against the blade to position the back fence. Attach, and cut through to the end.
When reinstalling, make sure you have a snug, but not too tight fit between the table and the extension wing.
Hope this helps,
Nathan

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As most have said, you will do well using runners I have used UHMW runners , and wood.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p2045&cat=1,43455
I had a bench top table saw, and made a large sled so I could more easily cut bigger sheets. Due to the size, the T was needed - I just used washers underneath the front ends of the runners.

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