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Scrit

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Thanks for the tip off, Kostello.

I've had it confirmed that these are Taiwanese machines equivalent to the Lobo/Grizzly/Jet, etc and are fully CE-marked. The web site shows the machines with a US-style splitter, but they will also be made available with an EU-style splitter at extra cost. The 12in saw comes with a 5HP motor in 3-phase or 3HP in single-phase, the 16in with a 7-1/2in motor (again in 3-phase). As the vendor isn't a million miles away from me (in the middle of Stockport) I'll post some more details next week after I've seen them.

If you are searching the site look under New Semi-Professional -> New Excalibur. They do a whole range of Taiwanese stuff - planers, bandsaws, Dust extractors, a cast-top router table looking similar to the Record/Ryobi (but at under £200), etc

Scrit
 
A

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Looks like solid kit but you wanna see 1 in the flesh . Must be cast as the weight is pretty high . Looks like good value
 

Scrit

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OK guys, I went and took a look at the 16in one today - and I was reasonably impressed. Seems pretty well nailed together, solid, and worth the ackers. Sorry to cut and run, but tempus fugit, etc. I promise to post a mini report (of sorts) bon it tomorrow

Scrit
 

Alf

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So does this mean table saws are like buses? You wait for years for an affordable one with a cast iron table, and then three all come along at once?! Let's see; there's the Jet, these ones, the new Record one... It's an embarassment of riches! :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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I don't suppose they come complete with a shop to put them in huh...?

<dreamy sighs..
 

Scrit

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OK, the following is based on seeing the only machine they had in the store, a 16 incher. I can't guarantee that the 12 inch machine will be the same, but I have been informed that it is of similar build and quality. I can testify that the other Xcalibur machines I saw were of similar quality to the table saw.

Xcalibur is a Taiwanese maker of woodworking machinery, everything from hobby shop stuff to industrial/trade machines like an overhead router). If you are interested their (USA) web site is http://www.xcalibur-woodworking.com/. The importer into the UK is Woodford Woodworking Machinery in sunny downtown Stockport (right near the M60) http://www.woodfordwm.co.uk/, ), although I believe that they are setting up their own chain of distributors in the UK (they also sell direct).

The 16in table saw I had a look at was pretty well made with a well machined cast-iron table some 38d x 28w in, complete with fairly generous cast-iron wings either side of the main top making a total top area of 38d x 48w in (the 12inch saw is 30 x 48in overall). The blade insert is machined cast iron, but could be easily replaced by a home-made plywood or phenolic plastic one for "special" blades or zero clearance. Whilst the top casting didn't seem overly deep, the finish on the underside of the casting seemed quite good. The main body of the machine is fabricated from a reasonably thick steel, was well made and painted (possibly powder coated). The visible electrical switch gear seemed to be of reasonable quality and a proper no volt release switch (safety starter) is provided. The top has two T-slots machined in it for a mitre bar and the cast mitre head looked to be of good quality. Even the 12in saw weighs in at 260kg (the 16in is 390kg), so it won't waltz around the workshop even under heavy use.

The rip fence fitted is of the Biesmeyer-style running on a rectangular tube mounted on the front of the machine. It appears to be made of medium-weight aluminium extrusions and steel. It has a micro adjuster and cam locking handle. It extends from the front of the machine to a couple of inches beyond the rear of the bed although there is no rear locking clamp fitted (a la Startrite).

The machine viewed had a conventional European-style splitting knife fitted (mounted on the trunnion) with (to my mind, at least) a rather insubstantial plastic crown guard. This is an extra price option over the standard rear-mounted slitter with clear acrylic (Perspex) hood which is normally standard on these machines.

Rise and fall and tilt are achieved by two well finished cast adjuster wheels with centre locking knobs. I canted the blade over and dropped and raised the blade and was impressed by the smoothness of the rise and fall and blade tilt actios. Looking inside the cabinet revealed that the trunnion is a generously-sized cast iron affair with well machined teeth and worm wheels and which looks well up to industrial quality. The blade tilts to the right in standard British fashion.

The machines are apparently to be supplied with a standard European 30mm arbor (the web site quotes 1in), although smaller 1in arbors can be supplied on request.

Whilst I didn't have the chance to run the machine, first impressions are very favourable. The machine seemed well made and capable of many years of service. I will, however, list my dislikes - personally I don't much care for the Biesmeyer T-style fence, probably because I was taught to use an English-style short rip fence and I believe that this type of fence can trap wood on the outfeed side of the blade unless the fence can be drawn back or an auxiliary rip fence is fitted, however that said they are excellent for sawing sheet materials. The main gripe I would have is that the fence really needs a rear locking clamp to ensure that it doesn't flex in use. I believe that WWM are looking into doing this. The second thing I wasn't keen on was the insubstantial crown guard fitted to the riving knife, it's a pity that this isn't cast aluminium or sheet steel or at least more substantial, although it is probably still safer than the splitter supplied as standard (Norm and Co you have a a LOT to answer for).

A substantial sliding table which bolts onto the left hand side of the machine is also available. I have not seen this in use, but it, too, appears to be of substantial construction (machined cast aluminium and steel fabrication) and runs on a reasonably large pivoting arm. It adds about £300 + VAT (c. £353) to the price.

This weekend I did get a quick look at a deWalt table saw (of, about 5 minutes or so) so I can't really make a true comparison. The DW is certainly better finished and appears in general to be a more polished machine, but it is quite a bit less substantal than the Xcalibur - and if a rolling carraige was on your "must haves" list, the Xcalibur would quite possibly win it hands down. Overall, and despite my niggles, I feel that these machines represent EXCELLENT value for money - a lotta bang for your buck, if slightly unsophisticated and a tad rough at the edges - especially if you look at what else is available in the price range. The European makers may have to look to their laurels.

Please note that these are first impressions ONLY. I have not had the opportunity to try the machines and I cannot therefore comment on their suitability for any use. If I get the chance to use one, I'll be in a much better position to give a fuller picture. I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or importer of this range.

Scrit
 

Philly

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Hey All,
Spoke to the nice man at Woodford regarding their lovelly new Unisaw copies- they should be delivered on 15th of December.
The Arbor is CE approved non-dado short, BUT, they can supply an extension to use a dado head, a la Norm. (they can do this if your not a pro wood shop i.e. a hobbyist)
I hope to take a closer look when they get them in.
regards,
Philly


P.s. I've been a good boy this year Santa...................
 

Scrit

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Philly

Just for my benefit, why is it that professional woodworkers, more and more of whom are now being required by their insurers to undertake or update their certfied wood machinery training, are effectively debarred from using dado heads on table saws on the grounds of their inherently high injury risk, whilst amateurs, the vast majority of whom have had absolutely no formal training in wood machining, feel that they can go off and buy a saw/dado combination which ranks as one of the most dangerous I(i.e. high risk) set-ups in the workshop? The HSE's own figures show that table saws are involved in about 30% of all injury/amputation accidents.

If you do decide to go that way, please, please, PLEASE make sure that you undertake some PROPER wood machining training - not just a 5 minute demo by the salesman. The number of questions posted here and elsewhere about setting-up fences parallel to the blade and having full length fences a la Norm, etc. indicates that there is a dearth of experience in using this most basic but potentially dangerous machine. Sorry to sound churlish, but I wouldn't want to see anyone injured by a saw/dado combination because they were ignorant of the risks involved in using it.

Stay safe, and have fun

Scrit
 

Philly

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Scrit,
Thanks for the note of warning. I agree that most woodworking beginners are untrained and innocent in the ways of safety. But there are woodworkers who are only hobbyists, but quite serious in their pursuits. I agree with you that safety should be paramount.
I am interested in the saw because of its sturdy simple construction. After buying an American cast iron surface planer it opened my eyes to how power tools should(used) to be made. Having a table saw with a solid, non-flexing table and fence is definitely preferable to the flimsy aluminium extrusions on the market today.
As regards Dado's, yes there are dangers and the H+S people have stiffened up reg's as relate to the workplace. But it is nice to have the choice, isn't it.
Norm is the kicking off point for a huge amount of woodworkers today, and his working practises obviously are influential even if sometimes irrelevant to UK woodworkers. Common sense and a healthy respect for your tools is more important than being "nannyied" on what tools are safe or not. ( I think you'll find that a large amount of woodworking injuries are caused by Chisels!!)
And how many fingers has Norm lost in his proffesional career? Maybe it's down to working practises?

Sorry to spout on so long, dado's certainly get a response don't they?

regards,
Philly

think I better sit down and have a cup of tea now.....
 

Scrit

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Philly":zgxs6c3f said:
I agree that most woodworking beginners are untrained and innocent in the ways of safety. But there are woodworkers who are only hobbyists, but quite serious in their pursuits. I agree with you that safety should be paramount.
The problem is that even the pros get it wrong :oops: - and they're supposed to be trained! It's nice to meet a hobbyist woodworker who has done some machine training - sadly it is all too rare to do so
I am interested in the saw because of its sturdy simple construction.
The Xcalibur I've seen was certainly sturdy - but whilst it's no sophisticate it isn't crude either.
As regards Dado's, yes there are dangers and the H+S people have stiffened up reg's as relate to the workplace. But it is nice to have the choice, isn't it..... Common sense and a healthy respect for your tools is more important than being "nannyied" on what tools are safe or not.
Yes, and no..... if you've never read a proper text on the subject of wood machining or better still undertaken professional training, how can you possibly judge what the dangers are? We are talking about the one machine responsible for more amputations than any other in the workshop and that alone should indicate that we all need to err on the side of caution. Surely you wouldn't dream of jumping aboard a high-powered motorcycle without some form of instruction first - both on how to ride and road safety, so why are woodworking machines so different in many people's minds?
And how many fingers has Norm lost in his proffesional career? Maybe it's down to working practises?
Anyone teaching City & Guilds in the UK would be horrified by the Norm and his working practices..... Whilst he hasn't lost any fingers to date, there are many woodworkers (professional and amateur) who have. And in any case I reckon Norm can regrow them like lizards can do with their tails :lol:
Sorry to spout on so long, dado's certainly get a response don't they?
Yes
I think I better sit down and have a cup of tea now.....
Me too, but before I do let me point any readers to an excellent Australian site with some good information on using woodworking machinery http://www.safetyline.wa.gov.au/pagebin/guidothr0001.htm. Makes a change from the HSE in the UK and is (in some places) entertaining. Enjoy

Scrit
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Philly

Philly":3hchutvo said:
Spoke to the nice man at Woodford regarding their lovelly new Unisaw copies- The Arbor is CE approved non-dado short, BUT, they can supply an extension to use a dado head, a la Norm.
I thought the reason that you couldn't fit a dado was because of the electric brake and the associated consequences.

Why don't you just make a simple jig for your router to cut dados? It will take you an hour or two and you can even buy a cheap router just for dados. It will also be a lot cheaper than the dado and arbor extension.

Just a thought.

Cheers
Neil
 

Midnight

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OK..... call me a trouble maker if you like... but I'm gonna play Devil's advocate here..
Exactly what IS the prob re a stack head dado cutter??
I'm asking from the perspective of genuinely wanting to know what the down sides are because try as I might, I can't see how they're any more dangerous than a regular blade.
Before anyone bawls me out for asking, I don't have a machine capable of having one fitted to it; there's barely enough length on my TS's arbor for a 3mm blade.. but still.. what harm can asking do??
Just for the record, I've researched formal WW machine training locally; my nearest tech college cancled cabinet making evening classes year ago with no plans to re-start them.
 

Noel

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Scrit,

Sound advice and an excellent site regarding machine safety.

The subject of safety is so often regarded as boring and mundane. I suspect we've all, at some stage, taken totally un-necessary risks whilst woodworking, from the seemingly innocuous quick cut on MDF with the saw or router without any provision for dust extraction to cutting small pieces of timber on the table or bandsaw without the aid of push sticks.
I have certainly been guilty of such things on occaison but as I grow older and possibly a little wiser I've realised that the short time that it takes to connect a dust hose or look for a push stick is no big hassle.
And it's not hard to adopt a similar attitude with all woodworking tasks. It can be so easy to rush a job whither with hand or electrical tools and end up with a poor result or blood drawn. The secret is to realize at an early stage that conditions or methods of work are not right and rather than continue just stop and do the job right and do it safely.

Just my humble opinion,

Rgds

Noel
 

Scrit

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Midnight":1stc50vr said:
OK..... call me a trouble maker if you like... but I'm gonna play Devil's advocate here..
Exactly what IS the prob re a stack head dado cutter??
The biggest single objection must be that there are very few saws out there with the necessary top-supported crown guard to safely guard the cutter set from above.

The second objection is that, with modern (i.e. CE-marked) saws requiring a motor brake (either mechanical or electronic) to stop the blade in 10 seconds of hitting the stop button you have a problem with the dado head - the extra kinetic energy stored in a dado head over a conventional saw blade makes it likely that the arbor will stop, but the dado head will try to continue spinning resulting in the arbor nut unscrewing (LH thread, remember) and the potential of bits of metal coming adrift (as stated by Neil above). There are remedies to this - you can either pin the blade set (the "standard" commercial sawbench approach to this is to add two extra locating pins on either side of the arbor and drill all the blades to match) or you can fit a locknut on the end of the arbor and make sure it is REALLY tight. The former method is good, but I have yet to see a dado set with a set of pinned raker blades, the latter method is really a bit hit and miss in terms of a safety assessment to consider using it in a table saw. i.e. there is no way to guarantee that stopping the blade will not result in BOTH nuts being unscrewed - then we are back to bits of loose metal being propelled from the arbor :shock:

For good measure there is a third objection - ever wondered why Norm uses dados (rebates or housings) on plywood in the main? The answer is that when you hit a knot (as in solid wood) with a dado head the width of the cutter being greater there is a greater tendency for the work to kickback, even more so if the cutter set is blunt, combine that with no adequate top guarding and you have a potential amputation situation.

Lastly, have you ever noticed the difference between using a long cutter on a 1/4in router as opposed to using the same cutter on a 1/2in router? The larger router has more power and will therefore tend to stall or kickback a lot less. You can overcome this tendency with the smaller router by reducing the depth of cut and utilising an anti-kickback design of cutter, but that in turn leads to other compromises - especially in terms of repeatability of cut. The same is true of table saws - some small saws are hard pressed to do deep ripping and my feeling is that such saws are fundamentally unsuited for use with a dado head as their lack of power makes them more prone to stalling and in some cases kickback.

However, I am not completely against the use of the dado head. On crosscut saws or radial arms they can have their uses. In that instance the blade guard in conjunction with the table ensures safer working conditions as it is almost impossible to get ones hand near to the blade (a kickback and fall on blade scenario is not possible). The saw should be fitted with adequate guarding (i.e. a guard designed specifically designed for the task), have a guarded "home" position as well as a spring return mechanism to meet legislation - if that is done I am informed that the saw does not need to have a motor brake as releasing the handle ensures that the blade is safely withdrawn away from the operator.

I hope that you don't consider this a bawling out, I am just trying to point out the downsides of the dado head. In any case, when doing a risk assessment (now a statutory obligation for employers) you are obliged to find the lowest risk solution from your available equipment - or if there isn't one reject the job or find a safer method of work - surely home woodworkers should apply the same sort of logic to their personal well being and safety.

In terms of safety there are books on the subject, most notably F.E.Sherlock's "Machine Woodworking for Hand Woodworkers" (Stobart Davies ISBN 0 85442 041 X) and Nigel Voisey's "Wood Machining - A Complete Guide to Effective and Safe Working Practices" (Stobart Davies ISBN 0 85442 032 0) although it should be bourne in mind that both of these books are now getting quite old and in the main refer to the 1974 legislation (superceded by PUWER 98), so if you do decide to read them do so in conjunction with the factsheets available free on the HSE website mentioned above. That advice is excellent, current and best of all free!

Have a good weekend

Scrit
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Scrit

Thank you for taking the time to post your reply to Midnight. The background you have given is excellent.

I came to woodworking just over a year ago, via Norm, and I was amazed that I couldn't buy a saw that would take a dado head. (Apart from NMA who offered to sell me their Scheppach ts315 and assured me I could fit a dado head).

I learnt from this group and also from ukww that the safest way to cut dadoes is to use a router with a simple jig. It was Jester who pointed me in the right direction and I will be forever grateful.

If I was to carry out a risk assessment on cutting dadoes in my workshop the safest option would have to be with a router.

As you rightly point out you can still legally fit a dado head to a RAS, albeit with some slight modifications (Freud dado to a DW720). I decided that I didn't even want to go down that path and I bought a cheap dedicated router and some Wealden 8mm cutters (thanks Scrit) and spent a little time and money making a jig. This set up has the advantage of being simple, very quick and far cheaper than a dado head set.

Sorry Norm. :wink: :wink: :wink:

Cheers

Neil
 

Alf

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Probably staying out of this would be most sensible :wink: , but two aspects of using a dado head (not safety related in any way) have bothered me for some time. Perhaps someone who's used/using one could tell me?

Firstly, exactly how long is the set up time for a dado head?
My limited exposure to Norm hasn't shown me if he ever shows that bit, but I'm guessing not. :lol: But I can't believe it's not for nothing that I've seen pictures of Unisaws with a second bench top saw built into the extension table with a dado head permanently fitted.

Secondly, what's the finished dado like? Is it clean and square etc etc or what?
As I've never seen one, I'm curious, and no one ever seems to mention it. How does it compare to a router cut one?

Enquiringly, Alf

P.S. Neil, should have got you onto dado or combination planes instead. D'oh! :oops: :lol:
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Alf

Oh well, here goes, time for complete honesty. :? :?

I do own a plane, but it is made by Makita. :oops: :oops:

There, I've done it. :roll: :roll:

Oh no, now I find I have another one. No, it's ok it's a Record. Very old!!!

I also spy a L-N or is it a low angle? (very small one bought when the pound had a really good exchange rate, just so that I could see what all of the fuss was about).


I hereby tender my resignation from this most venerable of groups for being found in possession of a power plane.

A very sad Neil
 

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