My Wadkins soupdish

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3 Dec 2020
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Having previously been doing cabinetry using hand tools and power tools only, last year I bought some workshop machinery, and in two cases I bought older machines on ebay, sold in working order, namely a Wadkins AGS10 table saw (to be used mostly as a ripsaw) and a Startrite SD310 planer/thicknesser. I just did a fairly basic inspection and check over before I started using them.

I didn't get fantastically good results: consistency wasn't great, and pieces were often out of square, but I put this down to inexperienced technique (I hadn't used machinery before), and I settled down into using the machinery to cut oversize and then handplaning to final size, which worked ok, but wasn't what I'd hoped for.

It rapidly became clear that (after sharpening and alignment) the SD310 has some major issues, in particular the thicknesser table is out of parallel with the cutter head. That looks a big job to sort out, and I haven't started to think about that yet, and I daresay when I do I'll be asking for advice from this forum ...

Right now I thought I'd try and get the AGS10 sorted, and today I did what of course I should have done on day one and got out straight edges and feeler gauges to see what my cast iron was like: it's terrible! Not sure whether through wear or sag, or a mixture of the two, the main table is cupped with a big dip in the middle. At 0.3mm it's at its worst just before the insert, which I guess is the point of maximum wear.

It'd be interesting to know if this is normal but mostly what I need is advice on where to go from here.

1) I daresay I could try and lap the table myself but given how tedious it is to lap even the flat side of a handplane iron (I buy the Veritas ones ready lapped) my heart sinks at even contemplating that. In the end I'm in my workshop to make furniture and don't want to spend months grinding a piece of cast iron by hand.

2) I could try and find a metalwork shop with tools to grind it flat; don't know if that will be easy or not but it's a possibility.

3) Not sure if Wadkin will be able to supply a new main table: they don't list them as spare parts on their website, but I've emailed them. But if they do have them I don't expect them to be cheap and I'm now wondering what sort of flatness to expect with a new table.

I don't want to spend money on the AGS10 unless I will be able to get it into shape as a high accuracy machine.

4) It may be that the best thing to do is to regard this year as a learning experience: I now at least know the basics of how to use the machines and what to look for; so maybe I should sell the AGS10 and buy a new machine. What do you guys see as the price point at which you get a machine capable of high accuracy and consistency? The standard names I see a lot are Scheppach, Charnwood, Axminster, iTech, etc, but I don’t know what price point in their ranges gets to what I want. I also see Sedgwick TA315 advertised quite a lot, but looks pricy. Laguna Fusion series gets great reviews in US, don’t know what people here think.

In terms of features I reckon I’d want good quality stock guides (eg Jessem) and overhead crown guard, but of course these can be added


If you are mainly using the Wadkin for ripping I wouldn't be too worried about it.
IMHO A dip of that magnitude when ripping lengths will not impact the outcome as your interest will be in width to the fence.

If you are crosscutting then a full width crosscut sled will make the dip moot. If you are using a mitre gauge only for cross cutting I could see the dip resulting in the cut end not being square.

I have the same ags10, I’ll see what mine is like. Although I’m not sure I’ve anyway to measure a 0.3mm dip.

I have a TS much the same issue big ol dip in the middle.
I had considered either getting an angle grinder to it to take down the most of it, and then using a scraper (Bill Carter blunt chisel method) to take it down further.
Probably needs more than a mill ground off.

I didn't think of getting a straight edge to the table either and only noticed the problem when the sliding table was assembled as it had a missing rail.
It prevented the table from moving as it would jam a third of the way into the depth of the table.
Cant argue for a hundred quid though.

On reflection I had noticed there looked like a hairline crack on the underside, which isn't there on the surfaced top of the heavy table, so it may just be a casting mark.

I haven't checked how much thickness I would loose in the process and that is a consideration.
It seems unlikely that welding a load of beads underneath might do anything?

A possible solution I was thinking might be the best is to make a new table up for it with something suitable (I happen to have a lab top composite that would do)
and re design the regular TS into a "slider" where the whole top slides and not just an extension wing.

You say the top casting is dipping slightly.
If the extremities are flat and level, have you considered building up the dip with a 2pack car body filler?
A suitable wide, straight dressing down stick with an applied abrasive would make short work in levelling to the true edges of the table.
It won't look pretty but at least it'll be cheap and quick.
Cheers Andy
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Thanks guys.

It may just be poor technique but I think the dip is affecting my rips: when you push workpiece down and to the right before the blade you are also pushing it into the bowl shaped dip in the table which forces the board into a curve and encourages it to turn upwards and leftwards (into the blade) further down.

It also means that ripping truly square edges is only possible by trial and error changes of blade cant: you can't just put a square to check the angle between the blade and the table, it's different on the left and the right sides of the blade. And similarly (and important for me) you can't reliably transfer an angle from say an adjustable bevel to cant the blade for bevelled cuts.

These are the sort of things I'm currently correcting with a handplane; but would be nice if I could get it right from the saw.

You're right about crosscut sled, that works pretty well, with base of sled pretty flat riding over the dip.

If you guys do have a feeler gauge around I certainly be interested to know how bad the dips are: 0.3mm over a pretty small area now feels huge, I can't believe I didn't notice it before.

Tom, wasn't sure what your thinking was on welding beads, but could see it might help if weight of table was encouraging hairline crack on underside to open ...
Andy, yes I agree filler is a possibility.

I was actually thinking of epoxy, wondering whether I could get it to self level, but car filler better.

But ugly!
Tom, as regards replacing top with something non iron: I have some 20mm high pressure laminate, very tough, but not as rigid as iron ...
If you have some strong straight edged lengths of whatever, it can be beneficial to lay some cling film along the fresh filler and (without deflection) press your edge on top.
Hopefully this will give added reference points to level to and aid removal of high filler.
Cheers Andy
I would think filler would wear quickly.
Have you checked the slots in the table for flatness to get more of an impression of the thickness of the table, (if there isn't a raised casting underneath)

As for welding, I was hinting at it pulling the shape out of the table...
like you can do with flat mild steel plate.
maybe a bit of "persuasion" with something before laying down a lot of beads.
I haven't very knowledge about cast to know if it would work the same as steel.
It would only start to make sense if there wasn't enough meat to grind off.

With all that work, it might just be easier to design a slider.
I'm not sure about using a timber product...
Looks lovely and all that, but something doesn't seem quite right about it :)
I haven't very knowledge about cast to know if it would work the same as steel.
It would only start to make sense if there wasn't enough meat to grind off.

Don't try and weld cast. It won't work. You need to gas weld it with special rods (dissimilar) and crucially, you need to pre-heat it till its red hot.

A decent machine shop will skim a table for you. You might get lucky and find a place with a grinder big enough to grind it flat afterwards.
I was thinking a good few of those expensive all weld electrodes, and using a decent large welder
Seems to have worked for a drill vice and a g clamp for me, neither of those has got hard use though.
Don't know if it would work, as its a thick top with a huge error, probably needs an even bigger welder for it to work in principal, not talking about using it as a filler which could be another option,
As you say Evildrome probably a very involved process to move cast without it cracking,
I was wondering how easily it would move compared to steel, if the meat's not there for grinding.

A slider makes sense in my eyes, as I have materials and a Startrite already.
a very involved process to move cast without it cracking,

I actually doubt it can be moved this way. Steel can because its a homogenous material.

Cast can't because its a mixture of iron & carbon balls (in the case of SCI) or flakes (in the case of wrought).

That's why it has to be het up in an oven till its red, then welded and then put back in the oven and allowed to cool down very slowly.

I suspect the expensive all weldy stuff is a brazing process. Cast can be brazed or silver soldered successfully but it does not make it "pull" like a mig weld on steel would.
Jake, I am coming round to the conclusion that you (and Doug and Fitz) are correct and that I may be making a mountain out of a molehill (a canyon out of a soupdish?).

Am going to work again on improved technique, with upgraded infeed and outfeed setup, plus have bought Jessem stock feed rollers and grr-ripper push pad. And have also decided to upgrade to Incra fence while I'm at it.

BTW, apart from the 0.3mm dip, the TS geometry seems fine, with blade angled away from RH miter slot by 0.1mm.

In other developments I have changed the riving knife to a scimitar shaped one from Suva (to allow part-depth cuts) and am working on a homemade overhead crown guard with dust extraction. ANd need to add dust extraction from below as well.

Thanks to all for help and advice.

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It's not a lot. And don't put heat anywhere near the table or it will warp far more than that. I won't even put a cup of coffee on mine.

If you insist, then get a machine tool shop to skim grind the top. Might have to come to the midlands. Machine Tool Services in Birmingham will do it easily, they have much bigger grinders.
What age is the ags10?

What I mean is, is it one of the older ones, or the one that's also called the ags250 somtimes?
I don't lnow the age of the machine, but I think it's pretty old (serial number plaque is on the motor, shows 20112. 0)

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