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Table Saw Trauma

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Steve Wardley

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Hi folks.
I'm after some opinions, a dangerous thing to do on social media but there you go.
Some years ago I started to put together some tools and machines to make a small hobby workshop and for reasons I won't go into I had to shelve the idea until recently when I started to re-kindle my enthusiasm.
As part of this initial setup, I purchased a Nu Tool table saw, one which I ended up giving away to a joiner freind of mine to use as a site saw.
It was a typical tin box with a cast ally top and direct drive motor/gearbox setup. The trouble with it was it was a brute of a thing with no finesse at all, perfect for ripping lumber and floor paneling/sterling boards etc but for cutting small stock and intricate work, it was like a ravenous dog chomping on a beefburger and it would set up severe vibrations unless you rammed stuff through it and I suspect it was due to a little bit of backlash in the drive system that was allowing the blade to whap back and forth as it cut, hence I lost interest in the thing and eventually got rid.
I'm now once again coming around to the idea of owning a small table saw and I wondered what othe peoples experiences were of hobby style saws and yes if you pay top dollar for cast iron beds you'll no doubt stay clear of these problems but I'm trying to find out if there is finesse in a budget saw as hundreds of pounds or 3 phase workshop saws are out of my league.
I remember a lot of years ago there was a trend for people to make their own table saws using a couple of bearings, an axle, two pulley's and a motor, with an arbour arrangement to hold the blade. Has anyopne gone down this path and had any success with it ?? I see on You Tube that some bolt a hand circular saw upside down under a ply bed but I coiuld imagine this could have it's drawbacks.

If you have any comments I'd be interested to hear them. I would like this post to be of help to others so If everyone could be as objective as possible it might help those like me who are trying navigate their way through the jungle of tackle.

Cheers for now.
 

custard

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Steve Wardley":3sjo6bbc said:
If you have any comments I'd be interested to hear them. I would like this post to be of help to others so If everyone could be as objective as possible it might help those like me who are trying navigate their way through the jungle of tackle.
Good question.

A lot of newcomers to woodworking are looking for the same thing, an affordable method that will reliably deliver square, straight and true components, allowing them to quickly move on to the more interesting bits of woodworking like joint cutting.

In reality there are two issues with truing timber by hand. Firstly it's lengthy and fairly arduous, so any decent sized project requires you to be in reasonable physical shape and to have plenty of time. Secondly it's technically harder than it looks, it's not impossible to learn the skills to edge joint boards and turn rough sawn timber into "squared 6 sides" components, but it requires many hours at the bench before you'll be even close to the necessary standard.

It's important to keep these two issues clearly separate in your mind, the physical/time element, and the skill element.

If you get a bandsaw and bench top planer (sometimes called a "lunchbox planer"), you can remove a lot of the hard physical graft and dramatically speed up the process. Plus these are two machines with a small footprint, so ideal for the smaller workshop. But here's the rub, you'll still need a fair amount of hand tool skills, for example you can't accurately edge joint straight from these machines. Furthermore, the very cheapest examples are likely to disappoint, so once you've factored in dust extraction you're still probably looking at an investment of £1,200-£1,500.

But if you want to also take out a big chunk of the skills needed to true up timber then you're talking a much bigger budget unless you go for second hand machines, in which case you'll likely need some metal working and fitting skills instead.

It's terribly difficult for the beginner because they really, really want to believe that the bargain basement kit out there will magically deliver, and there's certain to be some over excited fan boy encouraging them by trumpeting on about how amazing is their "Lucky Dragon Saw" or "Great Wall Planer". But the real world just isn't like that. Consistently accurate machinery costs serious money.

I think many new woodworkers would be better off putting away the Screwfix catalogue, and instead put in the hours to learn the real basics of woodworking. Choose modest sized projects and it's entirely realistic to do the entire job by hand. And once you've mastered the fundamentals you can then think about going the bandsaw/bench top thicknesser route and tackling larger projects.

Just my 2p's worth, good luck!
 

sunnybob

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I have NO handtool skills to speak of, so I'm coming at this from the exact opposite direction of Custard.
I started woodworking 4 years ago with no tools and no idea, its been an intersting journey.
I bought power tools and machinery to help make up for my lack of skills, most of them at a budget price.
i bought a cheap bandsaw (under 200) and struggled for a year and a half before I outed it and bought a decent one (700).
I bought a cheap mitre saw/combi table saw, and have struggled with it for 3 years. I am now trying to buy a good table saw, but the 1000 required is at the moment beyond me.
I bought a cheapish luchbox planer, and struggle with it.
What I'm trying to say is that machinery CAN be a substitute for skills, but only expensive machinery. any thing labelled as "budget" or lower, will hinder you because it will take forever "fettling" it to produce mediocre results.

My most favourite power tool though is a large router in a table. now THAT is a multi talented tool. I can edge joint on that to a higher finish than the planer can produce. roundovers, shapes and profiles, easy peasy.
That one I didnt skimp on and I wish I hadnt on the other stuff, but at that time I had no access to the kind of help this forum provides.
 

Lons

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Hmm, just my twopennerth, it's a subject that divides opinions.

I spent my life using hand tools augmented with the usual B&D power tools until 30 years ago I bought a little Kity K5 universal machine and managed to produce all sorts of projects with it including a large full kitchen for my house with oak doors and drawer fronts.

It has limited capacity and needs careful planning but I found that you don't HAVE to own top end gear and whatever you have won't magically allow you to make wonderful items without practice and experience.

Personally I'd start improving my skills with some decent hand tools from which you'll get much more satisfaction than using cheap and inaccurate machinery, however a saw is a huge time saver but rather than going down the route of circular saw in a table you're better buying a reasonable contractors saw and improving the table and fence arrangements imo. It's not that difficult and plenty of stuff on the internet.

I now do have larger machines but kept the K5 which I still use regularly, just wheel it outside and it's still as good as ever. I cut up a load of reclaimed mahogany lab worktops yesterday and used the planer thicknesser and spindle moulder on the K5 to make all the parts for a couple of garden seats.

cheers
Bob
 

Craywater

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Hmm, just my twopennerth, it's a subject that divides opinions.

I spent my life using hand tools augmented with the usual B&D power tools until 30 years ago I bought a little Kity K5 universal machine and managed to produce all sorts of projects with it including a large full kitchen for my house with oak doors and drawer fronts.

It has limited capacity and needs careful planning but I found that you don't HAVE to own top end gear and whatever you have won't magically allow you to make wonderful items without practice and experience.

Personally I'd start improving my skills with some decent hand tools from which you'll get much more satisfaction than using cheap and inaccurate machinery, however a saw is a huge time saver but rather than going down the route of circular saw in a table you're better buying a reasonable contractors saw and improving the table and fence arrangements imo. It's not that difficult and plenty of stuff on the internet.

I now do have larger machines but kept the K5 which I still use regularly, just wheel it outside and it's still as good as ever. I cut up a load of reclaimed mahogany lab worktops yesterday and used the planer thicknesser and spindle moulder on the K5 to make all the parts for a couple of garden seats.

cheers
Bob
Hello Bob - just saw your thread about Kity K5. Bought one some 25/30 years ago as a novice DIYer to replace our kitchen! Worked abroad and moved house and lack of working space m/cover stored in boxes in shed to this day, virtually unused. Will endeavour to find all the bits and pieces and see if it's OK and whether Ican still work it. Any tips?
Regards Dave
 

Jameshow

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Hi

I feel your pain...I have a cheap titan table saw it's ok but not sure accurate...

Forget the circular saw under a table it's dangerous and you end up spending as much to make it safe.

I'd be looking at the axi 216 / kity 619, fox f36 sheppach 2.0 ....etc. glut on ebay atm.

Or an old cast iron wadkins, startrite etc.

Also look at the record maxi 26 combi machine on the bay.....

Otherwise you will end up either blaming the saw or getting frustrated.

Cheers James
 

dzj

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I'm guessing someone from the track saw crowd will soon be along to tell you that
they have the answer to your woes. :)
(Joking aside, it's probably a better solution than a rickety Asian TS.)
 
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