Cutting half laps with a dado blade?

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I'm looking for tips on cutting half laps with a dado blade on my table saw. The saw lives in a friend's garage and I haven't installed the rails and fence because I don't need them for the outdoor projects I've building.
My problem is sneaking up on the cut lines for these half laps since I can't see them because they're turned down when doing the cutting. Careful as I am sneaking up on the turned down cut lines, occasionally, I've cut too much off which is a pain. Anybody got any tips for cutting these without going to the effort of installing the rails and fence to use with a start off reference block against the fence?
Thanks
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Upscale wrote:

Perhaps it would be easier if you put the marks on the /edge/ (that goes into the sawblade first)...
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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I *do* put reference marks on the sides and bottom of the wood. Problem is sitting in the wheelchair, I can't feed the wood and lean over it at the same time to see where the leading edge is going into the blade. However, it did occur to me to cut do the cut from the back of the table saw, pulling the wood towards me into the blade, something I'd be able to see from the get go.
I can't envision a specific safety issue doing it that way, but then that's exactly when those safety issues jump up and bite you in the ass.
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Upscale wrote:

I forgot that you worked from a wheelchair - sorry.
Sometimes I do this kind of cutting with a sled on my TS. The sled has only ever been used with one blade, and so the slot in the bottom and rear fence are "zero clearance". I can envision pulling the sled back until it tips - then fitting it with stop blocks or clamping the work in place using the zero-clearance slot as a reference...

I think there's too much room in that picture for the blade to grab the workpiece and throw it in your face.
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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On 8/2/2009 4:59 AM Upscale spake thus:

Maybe a stupid idea, but is there any chance you could rig up a mirror so you can see in front of the piece being cut?
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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That was suggested by one person who emailed me privately. I'm going to try (or at least examine) the method of pulling the wood from the back left hand corner of the table saw into the blade where I can watch it hit the reference points. If I feel that's too unsafe or I'm not very comfortable with it, then it shouldn't be too much problem for me to jury rig a mirror that I can use to see the cut.
Coincidentally, I've been looking for an excuse to buy a better mitre than the stock one that came with the saw over thirty-five years ago. Ideally, I feel one *should* be able to line up a cut properly and cut wood without the need to see it feed. I want to buy a new mitre for the saw and this will be my reason to do so.
It will be a few days before I get over there to use the table saw. My worry right now when thinking about it is that it's a contractor type table saw with the belt and motor hanging off the back, things I really don't want to be near when the saw is running. I'll see how it goes.
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Upscale wrote:

The upclimb cut into the blade is too dangerous to even contemplate standing w/ two hands and body for bracing/control what more w/ the work essentially at eye level and hands/arms above/level w/ shoulders or thereabouts. It's just _NOT_ a good idea at all as it has far too much potential to grab and pull (if you've ever used a RAS you'll have an idea; that you'd contemplate it probably indicates you haven't, at least recently).
The mirror would be good, measurement and a stop block clamped to the table would be good, most suggestions would be good--climb cutting is not a good suggestion...
--
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Yup, the climb cutting did occur to me. If I attempted it, I'd be using the magnetic featherboard set that I've got. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pU999&cat=1,42363,42356
So far, I've been hogging out 3/8" of cedar which isn't the most difficult wood to cut, but I am mindful of your concerns and you've made some valid points. I will be taking a mirror with me and I'll try that first and then the suggestion to clamp down a temporary wooden fence. If either lets me eyeball the cuts easily enough, I won't even consider the backwards cutting. I've got a total of six more tenons to cut, so there's not a great deal of work left.
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Upscale wrote:

I'm not envisioning how the featherboards are going to help in this case.
Whatever, be careful _first_....agreed, the cedar and a 3/8" cut isn't terribly much, but all it takes is once for the results of the blade grabbing your work piece to get ugly. I'm particularly concerned given the geometry in which you have to approach the saw of being low. I'm sure you've got a lot of experience in using it that way and are able; but this operation spooks me to hear it.
Is there any chance you could eventually get a platform surrounding the saw that could support the wheelchair for better access? That would seem to potentially aid if not fully resolve a lot of problems for a long time in the future...
For the immediate problem--How about taking one that is at the proper distance now and use it w/ the blade stopped to set the distance for the stop block clamped to the table?
Alternatively, how about making the pieces a tad long, cut the tenon approximately (but a little long) then trim the end for the final length?
--
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Eventually, I plan on buying a General 650 lowered version tablesaw. They build a line of five pieces of big iron that have been lowered for wheelchair, sitting use or someone of lower stature. And the fact that they're not charging a cent over the cost of the regular version makes them a class act in my books.

Not a problem anymore. The Kreg mitre I'm going to buy will let me cut safely.

I'm putting tenons on both ends of single pieces. I can screw up one end and then adjust for length, but the opposite end would need to be exact to the line without any initial error.
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You won't go wrong with General. I am really impressed how they're handling their Gorilla CNC manufacturing. Great bunch of people.
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Upscale wrote:

Well how kewl is that!!!??? :) I wasn't aware of that but super...

OK, anything so I don't have to fret any longer--I really didn't like the other idea if you couldn't tell.... :)
--
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Or perhaps one of these? http://www.thestandingcompany.com /
I had no idea they existed until very recently, when I saw someone using one.
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They start at about $4000 for a basic model and go up from there.
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Yeeee-owwwwtch!!! And I'll bet that's not covered by health insurance, either, because they'll tell you "a standard chair is good enough". Right?
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I do know of a few instances where they've been covered by health insurance if it's essential for one's job and their livelihood. For the average person, you're correct in that they are not covered by health insurance.
Aside from that, they're a mechanical nightmare and keeping them in working order mechanical wise and part wise can be a waking nightmare onto itself. One of them would be a nice diversion from a convenience point of view, but most things out of reach from someone sitting in a wheelchair can usually obtained with the use of a wide variety of reaching and pick up tools.
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Dean Kamen can help out too.
http://www.dekaresearch.com/ibot.shtml
That guy is farking brilliant!!
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"Robatoy" wrote
Dean Kamen can help out too.
http://www.dekaresearch.com/ibot.shtml
That guy is farking brilliant!! ================== I saw one of these at the local mall. It was so intriguing, I went over and talked to the guy. He was sitting in the chair when it was in the elevated position. I asked him about that. He said he goes into that position when he wants to look down the mall hall. I never thought about that, never have been in a wheel chair.
Anyway, it has that balance feature in it that allows the person in the chair to do all these kinds of things. I asked if the balance features was similar to the segway. He said that it was not quite that sophisticated. But similar technology. Maybe early segway?
The gentleman in the chair made it very clear that his life was very enhanced with this high tech chair. I love to see technology like this. It fills a genuine need and really helps people. Wouldn't it be nice if more technology did that?
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wrote:

Segway is also a Dean Kamen product.
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Lee Michaels wrote:

Unfortunately it's no longer in production and support ends in 2013--supposedly only 400 of them were sold at a cost of $26K a piece and Medicare/Medicaid (and presumably private insurance as well) wouldn't pay for them. http://disabilities.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_end_of_the_ibot
The rights have reverted to the inventor so maybe he can interest some other outfit that can get the cost down.
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