table saws again

Hi,
I bought the "accurate table saw" book that as recommended and I know I will disappoint you but I bought the B&Q table saw! My excuse was it was just eighty-odd pounds whereas everything else started at one hundred and twenty. I didn't want to spend a lot testing the water.
I'm not sure whether to take back the saw and pay more money though. As you know, I wanted to build a chipboard cupboard, including a section at 45 degrees. I was hoping the table saw would help get straighter lines than using a circular saw.
The problem with the B&Q saw is that although it has two table extensions (one either side) the groove that the fence sits in, only runs along to main part of the table, not along these extensions. This means that you can only use the fence for cuts up to about 6 inches wide!
Looking at the photos on the Screwfix web site, it seems the Titan and Ryobi models, and the Clark at Machine mart, allow the fence to be positioned at any point along the extensions. My dilemma is should I pay more for a saw that allows me to put the fence anywhere or should I save some money and just buy a clamp and a piece of wood/metal to make my own fence?
The Ryobi photo looks as though a router can be fitted to the table. I'm sure it's probably better to have a separate router table, but since I don't have one, I wonder whether that would be useful until I do?
The Clark one I think has the largest table of them all; perhaps I should buy it because of that? It also seems to have a handle at the side for locking the blade angle, whereas all others have it on the front. Is this easier to use or does it make no difference?
In reply to one of my earlier posts, someone kindly pointed out that I needed a 22.5 degree cut if I wanted a section at 45 degrees. Thanks for that, it saved me from embarrassment later. However, do any saws have 22.5 degrees marked? I have looked at a few display models but none seem to have 22.5 marked. I'm surprised as I thought this would be a commonly used angle (after 45 and 90).
Looking near the end of the accurate table saw book, it talks about cutting rebates into wood. I must confess I have not read that chapter thoroughly yet. Do any saws come with height gauges because the ones I have seen so far only have a knob but there is no way to set it to a certain height. Is it just a case of making a test cut on some scrap first?
Earlier in the book it mentions that using a blade with more teeth should give a cleaner cut but the difference is minute. Really? I always thought more teeth = clean cut? Since it is laminated chipboard, I was going to get an 80T blade. Will I be wasting my time?
Finally (sorry for going on so long) I don't think I am getting the straight cuts I was hoping for. I guess that either I am not keeping the wood against the fence or the fence is moving. I think in the earlier thread people talked about clamping the far end of the fence provided it went all the way to the back of the table. None of the fences I have seen go the length of the table and the book says that doing so is dangerous.
More likely it is user error. is it just a matter of practice or are there any special techniques to keep the wood against the fence?
Thanks in advance.
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Cut the plug off the saw, don't put it back on until you've read the book.
There's a reason why the fence doesn't go more than 6" away from the blade.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

A little patronising perhaps?

So, answers on a post card is it?
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He's been told, he's got the book, he ignored everything in both, so from then on it's his fingers.
(or more likely in this case, a flying rectangle of plywood to the ribs)
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Well, I'll say again, a little patronising IMO. Getting the book you suggested is proof of seriousness I'd say
I've worked with sawbenches for 30 years, still have the full complement of digits, and have never been hit by flying plywood. We don't want to put the fear of God into people. Then again, take a look at this lunatic

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I want to put the fear of kickback into them. I've never been hit either, but I do have a toolbox with a hole punched in it (ripping thin strips and one did the javelin trick, into a box that was a few feet behind me).
My Wadkin has the extra-long rails for the fence, but I've no intention of ever using them. If I was going to cross-cut things of that size and proportion, I'd be using a sliding table.

Safer than it looks - he's cutting logs that are only 2/3 height of the blade, so the cut angle is still well downwards. His biggest risk is it rolling the log out of the bad and throwing it at him slowly, not from picking it up with the top teeth and really throwing it.
Mind you, that blade needs sharpening.
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His biggest danger is the amount of force he appears to be using, if the log broke or his feet slipped he would have a saw blade in his head.

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Hmm... very close to my firewood saw! I do have a riving knife and a top guard though:-)
It takes a lot of push to get dead Elm through a non tipped blade.
Full complement of fingers, so far.
regards
--
Tim Lamb

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On Sun, 21 Feb 2010 15:07:01 -0800 (PST), Andy Dingley

Sorry for the late replies.
I did buy the book but I confess I have not read every page yet but for that reason I have not used the saw in anger either, I thought I would ask first before doing anything silly. I think it is better that people here laugh at me, rather than the doctors in casualty ;)
Sorry if the answer becomes clear when I have read the book thoroughly, but I can't see why there should be a 6" limit.
On these saws:
http://www.screwfix.com/prods/39072/Power-Tools/Benchtop-Woodworking/Ryobi-ETS-1526AL-240V-254mm-Table-Saw # http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/cts10d-10in-table-saw
The fence definitely can be positioned anywhere along the length of the table. If you were cutting wood to make say furniture, surely you would want cuts bigger than six inches?
I realise there are two ways cut wood: instead of cutting one inch off a twenty inch piece of wood, you could turn it and cut nineteen inches as a daft example. But if the blade is angled, then this approach is not possible because the blade will only tilt to one side.
What am I misunderstanding?
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Fred wrote:

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/39072/Power-Tools/Benchtop-Woodworking/Ryobi-ETS-1526AL-240V-254mm-Table-Saw #
The sawbench is mainly used for *ripping* e.g. reducing an 8 foot run of 6" x 1" to 5.5" x 1". This is the job that is virtually impossible to do in any other way. *Cross cutting* is relatively easy by hand or with a circular or chop saw. It's not something I would use a sawbench for.
The problem with reducing, say, a 20" x 6" piece to 19" x 6" is that it's difficult to keep the 6" edge squarely against the fence unless the rest of the workpiece is gliding smoothly across the bed of the saw (which it never is, hence the use of sliding tables on ball bearings). Easier with 20" x 12" because a larger proportion is against the fence, and a doddle with 20" x 20". Of course the best of both worlds is the flipover saw.

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/64223/Power-Tools/Compound-Mitre-Saws/DeWalt-DW743N-LX-110V-250mm-Compound-Mitre-Table-Saw?cm_mmc=NexTag-_-Power%20Tools-_-Compound%20Mitre%20Saws-_-DeWalt%20DW743N-LX%20110V%20250mm%20Compound%20Mitre%20/%20Table%20Saw&source=aw
This design (originally the Elu TGS) has been well proven over many years. If mine packed up tomorrow, I'd go straight out and buy another without even looking at alternatives.
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Are you doing carpentry or cabinetry? I use my sawbench for a lot of cross-cutting, but it's shorter materials for furniture making, and I'm doing it with a sliding crosscut box. For timber framing, it's a handheld circular while the timber sits on trestles.
The one thing I don't use much is a chop saw. There's not much that's too long to go on the table saw, but light enough that I can carry it to the chop saw.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

These days I only have the flipover saw I mentioned (no room for more than one machine in my loft). Alas no grooves in the base for a crosscut setup of any kind, but I can chop a 7" width , so it doesn't affect me unduly. I use the extension bars for long stuff.
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You use a router and a saw in a completely different manner, with different stock sizes, that you feed in a different manner. A router table must be small enough for you to handle it safely (i.e. you will and should be reaching over the cutter, albeit with push blocks). A table saw small enough to be worked in this manner would be a feeble wee thing of little use.
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On Sun, 21 Feb 2010 15:09:06 -0800 (PST), Andy Dingley

Sorry for the late replies.
It was this saw: http://www.screwfix.com/prods/39072/Power-Tools/Benchtop-Woodworking/Ryobi-ETS-1526AL-240V-254mm-Table-Saw
Which seems to have holes for a router on the right hand side of the photo, yet none of the reviews nor the downloadable instructions, mention anything about it (as far as I could tell from a quick glance). Since the router is on the side, I think it would allow you to get close as you describe, though I agree a dedicated table would be better.
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You probably can't do that with a modern UK low-end saw, as the splitter and guard will be above the blade height. How to work around that will depend on your particular saw. Many people don't and simply rebate on the router instead.

The easiest way is to have a "bridge" gauge with two feet that span the blade slot and a variety of calibrated-height steps above. (Veritas sell one, AFAIR) It's not hard to make your own. You can also use some form of height gauge, even just a vertical ruler in a block, to measure it (make sure you measure to the highest tip, rotated to the highest position). Otherwise "sneak up on it", make trial cuts and measure their depth, raising the blade a smidgen each time.
Be aware that the blade height will have a lot of hysteresis in it: it's different cranking up from cranking down. Also you ought to lock the blade height for each cut, as it can wander downwards under vibration. Some cheapies even push the blade arbor up/down/tilted as they clamp.
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Fred wrote:

I too bought the accurate table saw book.
My aldi table saw didnt last long - just as well as i didnt realise how dangerous a 80mph woodchip flying off the blade could be!
what's the b+Q one like?
on page 38 Ian Kirby recommends getting a clear plastic Lexan plate guard, and says it may cost up to half the price of the table saw, but is worth it.
Is there such a thing for a cheap table saw, or would i have to pay thousands?
[g]
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wibbled on Sunday 21 February 2010 23:53

http://www.screwfix.com/prods/15156
I have one of those.
I have used it as a table saw, with a Bosch green circular saw clamped underneath.
It's OK for odd jobs *if* you work within its limitations. Being careful to true up the fence and the saw clamps is essential to reduce the risk of kickback and working in a position that assumes bad things will happen is a good idea (ie not standing directly in front of or over the piece).
Having said that, it's better than resorting to general bodge (and more dangerous) techniques if you cannot afford a proper saw bench. Though personally, circular saws scare me and I try to use them as little as possible.
All power tools are dangerous, even expensive ones - common sense and a mental evaluation of what you are working with is always recommended.
--
Tim Watts

Managers, politicians and environmentalists: Nature's carbon buffer.
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On Sun, 21 Feb 2010 23:53:22 +0000, "george [dicegeorge]"

Sorry for the late replies.
The good point about the B&Q one: it is half the price of all the others (it is 89.99 IIRC) and it includes a stand, whereas stands have to be bought separately for another fifty pounds with some other makes.
Having compared it to table saws in the machine mart and screwfix catalogues, the b&q saw seemed very similar in spec to these.
B&Q don't appear to list any of their PP own-brand on their web site so you have to go to a store to have a look. I found that some of my local stores did not stock table saws, so phone first to save a wasted journey.
The biggest problem I have faced so far is that although there are "wings" on either side to extend the table, the fence will only attach to the central table part. The dilemma I now face is whether to pay much more for a table saw that allows the fence to be attached anywhere along the front, out-of-the-box, or whether to keep the cheaper model and use some of the money I have saved by doing so to buy some MDF to make a table extension and clamp a fence to that. I'm leaning towards paying more for one out of the box as it is more convenient.
HTH
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What you need is a saw table. Imagine a thick piece of MDF level with the top of the saw and as wide as you like. You can cut a grove for the existing fence or make a better fence to fit it. To make one requires two sheets of MDF, one for the top, one for the bottom to fit the actual table saw to. Then you need a frame to space the two so the top is level (also MDF) Stand the thing on a couple of trestles. Even a little 10" saw can handle sheets and stuff when mounted on such a bench. PS take the side tables off as the MDF replacement will be better.

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MDF sags under its own weight when horizontal, so this would need a 2x1 (miniumum) perimeter frame. It's worth using MDF though, rather than plywood, as the smooth surface is helpful.
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