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Do i actually need a table saw?

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Mark18PLL

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Hello again,

I am wanting to cut/saw plywood or mdf, i do have a track saw but am finding it time consuming to keep setting up for each individual piece, also i am woking in a small garage so space is quite limiting. Can anyone recommend an easier way of doing this, would a small table saw do or should i just persevere?

Thanks

Mark
 

Spectric

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Hi

We all have this dilema at some point especially if working in a small space. If you are cutting 8 by 4 sheets then thats the space you need plus some and I can only do this outside on tressles so the job now becomes weather dependant. I would not attempt to cut sheets of this size on a table saw, just to unwieldly and even more so as you get older. So cutting sheet goods you need a tracksaw or as I often do clamp a straight edge to the sheet and just run the saw along it. I have thought of buying a tracksaw and if I do it would probably be the Makita although I do generally prefer Bosch saws. You could look at Festool which is like the "Apple" of the woodworking world and in my opinion just as overated but gets you into the club. Peters videos are great but I think he overuses the tracksaw when a mitre saw could be at hand, I think of tracksaws and the like as for getting larger boards down to size and into your workshop rather than nibling bits of small offcuts. The tablesaw wins handsdown if you have the space for a decent machine, with a scoring blade and good tables but will cost upwards of £3000 and consume a lot of floor space. The average table saw is good for riping longer lengths and deeper cuts but is like having a pet tiger in the workshop, take your eyes of it for a second and you wont be playing the piano anytime in the future.
 

Geoff_S

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Some idea of what sort of quantities and sizes you are talking about would be useful to help understand better.
 

Mark18PLL

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I am making some small boxes with dovetail joints, probably about 600mm max, maybe some other craft items as well. I just want to make my work as easy as possible so i can concentrate on the detail. Amounts wise, not really sure as its a hobby but would like it to be more if possible, you never know. Would a small table bandsaw help for doing the smaller work, maybe?

I do already have a track saw btw

Thanks M
 

Droogs

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If you already have a track saw, save your cash for materials and learn the various ways to use the tools you have. I fully appreciate that if you are not quite achieving what you want, it is tempting to consider using a "better" tool. I have been there myself. but I have generally found that it is best to learn all the tool you have can do before splashing the cash.
This is the beauty of sites such as this, you can pick the brains of those who have been there already. Spend an evening looking at Peter Millard's channel along with a few more that are MFT (multi function table) woodwork based to see what can be achieved with a track saw. Then perhaps after trying the techniques out than decide if you need to "upgrade"

After all if you take the time to learn how, you could replace every machine and just use a router to do 90% of the woodwork you want to do, if you were prepared to spend the time to do it with making jigs etc and doing it that way. But it is better to use tools able to do the job just as accurately but much faster and more economically.

hth
 

Lonsdale73

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When I was starting out, I was told I needed a tablesaw so I got one. It had its uses but cutting sheets down wasn't one of them. For that, I was told I needed a tracksaw, so I bought one, an "overated"Festool. It was great. After a while, I found between track saw and mitresaw, I stopped using the table saw. So I sold it and bought a bandsaw, the machine I was told I needed as my requirements evolved. I muddled along with the three of them but in order to retain all my digits it became apparent that for some cuts a table saw was still king. So I bought another one. By now, I had all the cabinets and cupboards I thought I'd ever need for my workshop and now it was the tracksaw that wasn't receiving much use. I'd no sooner sold it when a task came up for which a track saw was the best option. So I bought another one, DeWalt this time and although not as 'refined' as the Festool it is still rather good, was a lot less money and it's cordless. I think I've used it half dozen times at most in the year or so that I've owned it. The bandsaw I've now owned for three years. Wasn't used much in first two years due to lack of space and hasn't been used much since as I cannot get a straight cutout of it. I'm sure that won't help you in the slightest beyond letting you know that you're not the only one to wonder about what kit is actually needed!
 

mynamehere

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Keep your track saw and maybe make a better setup for breaking down your sheets, search on here for "sore horses (or hoarses)" from thetiddles, he made a brilliant MFT table that can easily be stored away and doesn't cost the earth.

Cheers!

Ferenc
 

deema

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Depending on exactly what your doing, a wall saw may be something worth considering. A small one doesn’t need much depth. They are one of the easiest ways of handling / cutting large sheets on your own.
 

Pete Maddex

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If you are breaking down 8*4 sheets you will need 8 feet in front of your saw and some space to stand, another 8 feet behind your saw.
So say 18 feet minimum and at least 4 feet each side, suddenly that dream of ripping down 8*4s on a table saw seems a long way off.

Pete
 

AndyT

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Another option is to buy your sheet materials from a supplier who will cut to your sizes. Even if you just get a sheet ripped into strips, this can be a real time and hassle saver. And it will be done on a serious bit of kit costing thousands of pounds, leaving a dead straight, clean edge.
 

robgul

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. . . . the timber supplier I use will cut sheets down to manageable sizes for me to handle in my single-garage workshop. I get them cut to roughly the size to avoid waste.

For special stuff with top grade birch ply I have another supplier that cuts to finished sizes with a CNC saw . . . not cheap but fantastic results.

AND another plug for Peter Millard and what you can do with a tracksaw - the simplest cutting jig fo repeat cuts is a revelation
 

Stanleymonkey

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+ 1 for the Peter Millard suggestion

He has rigged up a neat little crosscut device using a short length of tracks saw track.

Getting a supplier to cut material down to widths that you need is a great help. Without a van I simply can't move sheets around. Waiting in for deliveries of 8x4 sheets is a pain and then lugging them down the garden can be quite painful!! If they're cut to width I can fit them in my small car and then cut them down further on a sliding mitre saw.
 

gog64

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I love my bandsaw (a Sabre 450), I’ve got it dialled in nicely and it competently does the jobs I need it for. That doesn’t include sheet goods, trust me on this! You already have a track saw, so a 8x4 sheet of rigid wall insulation on the floor works fine as a sacrificial cutting surface. No need to lift the sheets, just make a little dolly and drop them on your insulation board. Make yourself a rail square and some parallel guides for square and repeat cuts and Bob’s your uncle. Total outlay £30 or so. I’ve broken down very many boards that way.
 

Mark18PLL

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I love my bandsaw (a Sabre 450), I’ve got it dialled in nicely and it competently does the jobs I need it for. That doesn’t include sheet goods, trust me on this! You already have a track saw, so a 8x4 sheet of rigid wall insulation on the floor works fine as a sacrificial cutting surface. No need to lift the sheets, just make a little dolly and drop them on your insulation board. Make yourself a rail square and some parallel guides for square and repeat cuts and Bob’s your uncle. Total outlay £30 or so. I’ve broken down very many boards that way.
I wasn't actually thinking of using a bandsaw for cutting sheet goods lol
 

harryc

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I have a relatively small workshop and I find the table saw invaluable for repetitive cuts.
Tracksaw for cutting down sheets to a manageable size and table saw for final finishing.
 

Mark18PLL

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+ 1 for Peter Millard, thanks. I think i need to find a better way of using my track saw for small and large cuts rather than throw money at new tools. Thanks again for all your comments, they have helped a lot. 👍🏻
 

galleywood

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Peter Millard will be posting a video or series of videos about making a portable bench which will incorporate a (benchdogs?) fence.
I am awaiting this with great interest.
 

Doug B

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I am wanting to cut/saw plywood or mdf, i do have a track saw but am finding it time consuming to keep setting up for each individual piece,
When ever I think like this I remember back to my apprenticeship when I had to do virtually everything with hand tools, it cheers me up with fond memories but also makes me very grateful for the hand held power tools I now have & the time they save.
 
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