Re: safety help please -- short cut-offs

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wrote:

I had to read this a few times to try to picture it (slow today), but I think this sounds very interesting and simple. If I understand you, when the cutoff piece is cut free it sort of pivots on the vertical edge of jig board, away from the blade. What I also like about your idea is that by having something pushing the cutoff piece I think it is less likely to be left with a little nib at the corner --that small piece that is left if the cutoff separates right before the saw blade actually cuts it away.
Well, thanks to everyone for all the replies. I think I will try my triangle idea. Unless it is a matter of some group sense of humor ("Don't tell him he is about to light is tie on that candle."), it seems that my idea might work and won't kill me. I plan to attach the triangle to the saw using the right miter t-slot and two screws, which should hold securely. And, I think I'll try Franks' idea of having a board pushing the stock on both sides of the blade. I'll report back.
After reading all the replies, one idea -- if I had an extra zero-clearance plate to play with -- would be to actually attach the triangle/wedge to the plate before bringing up the blade and the wedge would also be zero clearance. For adjustability, the wedge could be slid forward and backwards depending on the depth (front to back) of the stock being cut. I have some UMHW scraps lying around for the wedge. I'll put that on the to-try list. -- Igor
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By the way, in the opening sequence of "Wood Works" you can see a montage that includes a snippet of a small cutoff being made using a long sacraficial fence on a miter guage like this. Marks also in that shot uses a pencil eraser to move the cutoff to the side.
-BAT
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I would make the part of the miter guage board extend to fully support the cutoff. Continue pushing the miter guage after the cut is complete so that you push the cutoff beyond the far side of the blade - completely off the table if you want!
says...

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I want to replace my TS, but I just don't have the money for some time to come. I've gotten the bug again, and really want to make some stuff now that my shed is 100% shop and has real power.
However, my TS is my Achilles heel. It just doesn't cut worth a damn. While I've never had the pleasure of using anything better, I'm sure it can't be a simple matter of bad technique.
So I'll describe some symptoms, and see if I can get some direction as to what the most likely problems are, and how I might wrestle some incremental improvement out of this thing until I can afford to throw it in the trash.
It's a complete POS Skil tablesaw. Direct drive. You know, the cheapass one that doesn't have a crank wheel for angle adjustment. I _have_ checked that it's perpendicular to the table on both sides of the blade, and I can see no gaps. Getting it there was a delicate matter, and I hope never to change its angle again.
For starters, I know the table is warped. I've managed to level it some, but it's obviously still not right. I'm sure that doesn't help matters a bit. The adjustment I just mentioned for example... It might not _really_ be perpendicular because of what I have to measure against, but since both sides came out with no gaps against the good square, I think it's OK. The warpage is from front to back more than side to side.
I made a cheap sort of fake crosscut sled today by taking a table-sized width of really straight birch plywood, attaching one side to my miter gauge, and the other side to a poplar outrigger anchored to ride in the other slot.
When I ran it through with the blade fully extended, the kerf came out looking like this:
@@ @@ @@@ @@@ @@@ @@@@ @@@@ @@@@ @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@@@
I could feel it cutting again on the far side of the centerline of the blade. I guess that means the blade is not parallel to the miter slot, though it _seems_ to be so.
Playing with height, higher means more irregularity, and it's definitely much worse in the last third of the height range.
I don't have a dial indicator. I've tried measuring the distance from blade to slot with a ruler graduated in 32nds, and I don't see any difference. However, I can't think of any other reason for this. Up to the center, the kerf is pretty much straight, but once I go past that point, it digs in again, and I get what looks like a second, overlapping, angled kerf.
When ripping, if I stop feeding and hold a piece in place against the fence, it gets gouged badly enough that it takes a lot of belt sanding to remove the marks.
Wobble? Could both effects be due to wobble? Anything I can do to remedy that?
The gouging isn't happening regularly enough for it to be a tooth out of whack, I don't think. I don't see any reason to think it's the blade, though it _is_ the factory original combination blade that came on the thing. I know practically nothing about saw blades, but the Complete Guide to Sharpening or whatever it's called shows a picture of a "good" carbide blade and a "bad" carbide blade. This looks like the "good" one, with expansion slots and securely-attached teeth. I'm sure it ain't a Freud, but my gut is that I have worse problems than the blade.
I've checked that when I lock the rip fence down, it stays parallel to a miter slot, and to the edge of the table, and to a square. However, when I push work through, it has a strong tendency to pull away from the fence as I get into the cut. Everything I rip on this, no matter how many hold-downs and featherboards and whatnot I use, comes out crooked.
I won't even get into the impossible miters and other problems. If I could get it to actually rip a board straight and crosscut a board at 90 degrees, I could make some stuff.
As it is, the more I think about it, the more I'm coming to consider that maybe I should just throw it away anyway, and do without a TS until I can afford a new one. I might have better luck with clamps, straight edges and my circular saw. Though in spite of the number of times we tell people to make do with such stuff, the fact it that it's rather tricky to keep a straight edge clamped straight, and to make sure not to let the saw deviate from the edge, and to set the edge exactly far enough away from the cut line to make sure the kerf is in just the right spot. It's a pain in the ass. I'd rather get the TS working better. (Or maybe I should just buy stock in the widths I need and go back to my trusty miter box and backsaw...)
Bad as it is, it's OK for knocking stuff together that doesn't really need to be perfect. My trebuchet, for example. Even though the compound angle thingies on the sides show some light in spots, it's taken a hell of a lot of whacking and hasn't fallen down. I've built lots of birdhouses and such like with the thing, but I'd like to do something more interesting and play with some joinery.
Anyway, blah blah blah. Basically I'm asking if anyone is of the opinion that I can make this thing less useless.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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In spewed forth and said: .

Use it as a boat anchor?<g>
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ChairMan wrote:

I don't have a boat.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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In spewed forth and said:

Well hell then, now you have an excuse to by both<eg>
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On Sun, 17 Aug 2003 10:39:16 -0400, Silvan

For about ten years I made a lot of gifts (boxes, clocks, footstools, sconces, trivets, gameboards, etc.) and the only power saw I had was a master mechanic table top saw that cost less than a hundred dollars new. The gifts are still in use and neither I nor the owners are ashamed of them. I had to learn to use planes and scrapers and work carefully and slowly but it all paid off when I expanded the shop and started making larger projects and using more hardwoods.
If none of us went into woodworking without a zillion dollar rec.approved table saw this would be a lot smaller group.
/// Smokey http://www.machlink.com/~allenbaugh/wood/woodstuff.htm http://www.machlink.com/~allenbaugh /
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Smokey wrote:

Well, I finally STFW'ed... Got some good, model-specific ideas from the myriad times this question had been asked before. Put a new, decent blade on (not a WWII, but the Freud TK960 I picked out seems to be well liked by people before they suck it up and buy a WWII, and I could actually afford $35), aligned it as well as possible, made a crazy zero clearance insert for the thing...
After spending a few hours reading about the Skil 3400 table saw, I see that I would never have gotten one if I had had a clue, but OTOH people have made do with these things, and perhaps if I make a new MDF or torsion box table for the thing I can get some more use out of it to tide me over until I'm out of debt and can buy a real saw and a shop to put it in.
It's still far from a precision machine, but it's considerably better than it was, and that tap and die set box I made today is the nicest thing I've ever turned out. I haven't managed to cut a perfect 90-degree angle yet, but ripping has improved dramatically. Clamping pieces back together to check out the gaps, I only see the tiniest glimmer of light, which is a big improvement over 1/32" gaps. No scorches, almost perfectly smooth cuts. I'm sure it looks bad compared to a real saw, but compared to what it was, this is night and day.
The one thing that puts it all in perspective is some post I made five years ago, shortly after I got the stupid thing, when I was talking about what a joy it was to own, and before I had any idea what precision meant:
Most important factor for me was price though... I got mine for $50 new in the box on clearance at Wal-Mart. Schweet...
Sure it's a piece of crap, but at least I only paid $50 for it. Most of the other people complaining about what a piece of crap it is paid up to $200 for it.
That helps somehow.
No, it's not a good saw, but I can make do. It's a lot better than nothing. It only took one day of dicking around with a circular saw, a 4' straight edge and a bunch of clamps for me to decide to try again to try to get some use out of the poor little Skil 3400.
I still plan to gleefully throw it into the street one of these days, and let a truck run over it.
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Sounds like you know the answer ... you need a new saw. A good circular saw and an edge guide will make a better cut than what you describe, and the time you spend futzing with it could be better spent woodworking.
Bite the bullet and crowbar the wallet for something that will give you better cuts and much less frustration ... life is too short.
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Let me explain a llittle more. Birdhouses are 1/2" - 3/4" thick lumber 12" long. Or somewhere close. More intricate stuff is going to require longer, heavier pieces that will put much more tension, flex and weight on your table, fence and blade. The little Skil just was not designed for that. It's sorta like hauling firewood in a Corvette deep in the woods; it doesn't have mud grips and a large trunk. By the time you altered it, you would be better off buying a used pickup which IS designed to haul wood deep in the forest.

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Swingman wrote:

Yeah, I figured everyone would say that. At least now when I whine about what a piece of crap my tablesaw is, everyone will believe me. :)
Well, I had never really sat down and cataloged just what was wrong with it before either. It was sort of useful taking a look at all of its problems at once, to put it in perspective. It's not good for anything at all, is it?
There's no crowbar to it though. I spent what I could afford on a new drill press, and that's going to have to tide me over for possibly the next several years. My DP sees more use than anything, and I'm not the least bit sorry I made the choice I did, but if there's anything I could do in the meantime to get some use out of the saw I'm stuck with, my time and frustration are less valuable to me than money right now. Money is hard to come by.
I guess though I should just dump the stupid thing and spend that time and frustration figuring out how to get the most out of my circular saw.
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Silvan,
If you haven't already, you might want to think about checking out Mehler's _The Table Saw Book_. Your local library might have a copy. It has a lot about how to tune up a less than useful table saw.
I agree with the other posters that getting a better one to begin with is probably optimal. But, if the money situation is "futz with this tablesaw or don't woodwork," then you might want to check out Mehler's suggestions.
-BAT
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------------ I have to ask this (something of a newbie to WWing but not problem solving) Is the table saw the right tool for this task?
Safety seems to be something of an issue with this problem and many have offered advice as to how to minimise risk, your own idea may well do that, but does it remove risk to the point of being reasonable.
As I see it you want to make multiple identical small off-cuts for some or other purpose. How many you don't say but I suspect enough to warrant some effort in how to approach the job. Maybe hundreds per run?
I don't want to lay myself open to abuse here as I freely admit an unfamiliarity with many workshop tools but I do read much that is discussed about the dangers they can pose, especially when used for the wrong task. So therefore I would suggest that a suitable jig (I have one in mind) and a circular saw would be both safer and quicker.
I would also be concerned about the length of stock used. At 24" it will pretty soon end up where the cut is either plain dangerous or impossible. Do you end join this stock into longer lengths or discard it when you feel your fingers have more value than the wood?
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There is a very simple solution to this problem and it would take about ten minutes and a 2x4. The table saw is the way I'd do it and I would use the miter gage with the 2x4 screwed to it. I would never be able to explain the set up but if anyone is interested, I will draw it up and post it. With this method, the blocks would clear the blade and you could cut thousands without worrying about them. The original poster was on the right track with the wedge as a diverter but had it mounted wrong.

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Is that _under_ tablesaw or under "tablesaw". But seriously. Thanks. Quite clear. I think it is similar/a variation of a description Frank K posted in this thread -- yours has that end bevel - but same concept of the cutoff piece pivoting away on its own. On yours and his they have the added bonus that for the last cut or so I can clamp the short piece to the extended fence.
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Yes, same concept as has been usd many times but without the bevel, there is no telling when that cutoff is going to pivot into the blade and become a projectile. With the bevel, it just slides to the side.
wrote:

the
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What about using some sort of vacuum to draw the pieces away from the blade? Something along the lines of a V-shaped dust collector?
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wrote:

Thanks for the comments. It is good to always go back and make sure that the real problem is being solved rather than just trying to perfect the first idea that came up. On my good days, I remember this.
In this instance, I do think we are on the right track. There is another situation in which I will be making hundreds and hundreds of cutoffs and in a much earlier thread I got some help with that. I have an evolving plan for a sled for that to do cuts in gangs -- i.e., 10 24" strips at once.
For more limited numbers, I suppose a miter saw would be a good choice. But, the one I have -- a $100 Craftsman that I bought in 1985 which has served me very well doing trim (that was painted) -- is not up to the task and now with my new DW746 TS I want to learn by doing (and I don't have the bucks for a new CMS). The problem with the Craftsman is that there is so much play in the arbor (and the entire CMS body) that after each cut, as I raise the blade, the cutoff piece is jammed against the stop, gets recut a bit, and gets sort of a slight bevel which I definitely do not want.
While you are right about the short pieces at the end, overall I want a setup so that whenever I have more than a couple of short cutoffs to do I can do them w/o stopping the saw in between each. For this my guess is that I will eventually end up with a zero-clearance insert that has an attached wedge -- so I can just drop it in and go.
Finally, you wrote, "I don't want to lay myself open to abuse here ..." Two things. First, I feel the same way. Second, if you post here it's open season -- the nature of the beast. I just hope that if I get abuse for my posts that I also get some solid help, and fortunately I have many times. Though I only use two fingers to type, I hope that I keep all 10. Knock _wood_.
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Seems like keeping the blade down until it stops rotating would make this go away (if I'm understanding your words).

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