Looking at some of the cheap rip fences on table saws in the local
hardware store, I see why they are too flimsy to be useful. I wonder if
anyone would tell me why rip fences are not much wider (to reduce the
play in the angle at the blade) and 2. use cheap formica instead of
teflon to make the fence easier to slide along the table?
Thanks in advance.
The answer to your question is in your question itself.
See the phrase "cheap rip fences".
Wider is not cheaper.
Teflon is not cheaper than laminate.
Most of the time you don't get what you don't pay for.
In fact that corollary to the more familiar "You get what you pay for" is
probably more accurate.
But AFAIK a fence has to be stiff, and not strong. So surely a truss
can be wide, cheap and use less material than a solid plate.
I wonder why they don't use thin plates for the rest of the saw table
with trusses running underneath. That design would weigh less than a
solid plate, weigh a lot less and may be even stiffer (less deflections).
Formica is cheaper than teflon. Most amateur telescope makers use it
for supporting their monster telescopes, and it slides with little
friction, but has with just enough static friction to keep the scope
steady when it needs to be.
When there are clever engineering solutions to problems at hand, then if
technology comes into play you can sometimes expect pay an order of
magnitude less for similar quality than what you used to. Telescopes
used to be thousands of dollar monsters, but now telescopes much larger
are being built by amateurs for prices impossible to imagine in the old
days. They're still expensive, but not impossible to afford to build
like they were previously.
Well, cheap is built cheap.
2. use cheap formica instead of teflon to make the fence easier to slide
along the table?
Actually the formica is probably slicker than your saw table top and your
saw table top normally makes more contact with the wood your are ripping
than the fence does.
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