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Table saws and other animals..

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Jimmy69

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Hello,
I've been lurking here for a while absorbing your collective insights and am now in need of some table saw advice for a proper newbie question. I'm not shy so here it is. I've noticed there are lots of options for building router tables in all sorts of configurations from different tops to fences etc etc. There does not seem to be anything like this for building table saws - either by converting a track or circular saw or buying the individual parts to build one. Apart from the Festool CMS thing, I've not seen anything else.
Personally, I don't want to build a table saw from a track saw or from scratch. I just want a table saw with a cast iron top but without any fence or other accessories so I can use 3rd party equipment. Can't find anything like that either. Seems very wasteful to buy all of that kit just to strip it off and replace it immediately.
I'm hoping someone here can point me in the right direction (or slap me and tell me to pull myself together)!

Thanks.
 

LJM

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Yes, I've been keeping my eyes peeled and seen a couple 3phase saws( no good to me). I'm sort of hoping for something new and quiet.
old does not mean noisy. In fact, it could mean quieter because they are typically of heavier construction than machines typically bought new by hobbyists or even many professional users.
 

Sideways

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OK, I'll bite :)

You're approaching it the wrong way round.
You choose a table saw according to your budget, the need for a slider or not but primarily the robustness and standard of rip fence you want. Rigidity is everything. The best rip fences (in my opinion) have solid steel bars at the front, a massive cast iron angle bracket with a fine adjust cog wheel and a cast iron fence or a heavy alloy extrusion attached to the cast angle bracket. That's why people value old SCM / some Wadkin and other industrial table saws or good traditional style trade machines like Sedgwicks. They have better fences than you can buy as aftermarket add-ons.
14 newer green.JPG


image_125190.jpg

Nothing made of aluminium compares with this old tech unless perhaps you are looking at modern industrial panel saws. I don't have the hands on experience of those to judge

Mitre gauges supplied standard are often cheapish, nastyish or missing altogether so a few pounds wasted against £100+ for an Osborne EB-3, hundreds for a rare cast iron Wadkin or £1,000 for an SCM from Scott & Sergeant is neither here or there.

Cheers
 

Spectric

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You can just see the quality that went into these old machines, built to last and solid using cast iron and real steel not tin plate and cast alloy.
 

Jimmy69

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OK, I'll bite :)

You're approaching it the wrong way round.
You choose a table saw according to your budget, the need for a slider or not but primarily the robustness and standard of rip fence you want. Rigidity is everything. The best rip fences (in my opinion) have solid steel bars at the front, a massive cast iron angle bracket with a fine adjust cog wheel and a cast iron fence or a heavy alloy extrusion attached to the cast angle bracket. That's why people value old SCM / some Wadkin and other industrial table saws or good traditional style trade machines like Sedgwicks. They have better fences than you can buy as aftermarket add-ons.
View attachment 108669

View attachment 108670
Nothing made of aluminium compares with this old tech unless perhaps you are looking at modern industrial panel saws. I don't have the hands on experience of those to judge

Mitre gauges supplied standard are often cheapish, nastyish or missing altogether so a few pounds wasted against £100+ for an Osborne EB-3, hundreds for a rare cast iron Wadkin or £1,000 for an SCM from Scott & Sergeant is neither here or there.

Cheers
I agree with all your points. Just looking at those images - you can tell they're built to last. My predicament is thus. Space - about the size of a single garage at most is all I'm going to get for the next few years at least. I've seen some smaller Wadkins but they don't look particularly moveable. I need something more like a hybrid size wise. It also has to fit through the house to get to the workshop. And be single phase too. Much as I'd love an older, quality machine, it's probably not the right choice for me at the moment. You're right about the aluminium fences though. On 1k saws they still look pants which is why I'm looking at the Incra system. The budget keeps creeping up and up with that stuff.
 

Ozi

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Also a newbie, one thing I am finding is that with a small workshop I have to move the table saw about to get the space to cut larger items or take the saw outside. Much though I would like one of those cast iron high quality saws if I could afford one I don't think they are necessarily practical if you intend to make larger items in a small space. But they are obviously a much better machine than the cheep light weight thing I am using.
 

Stanleymonkey

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As for newer saws being quieter - you'll have to spend some cash. The ones at the cheaper end of the market are painfully noisy. I have an old Record tablesaw now and it is much quieter.

As for converting track saw and circular saws. Although there are lot of ingenious woodworkers and makers posting videos of their homemade versions it's not a great solution. Tablesaws are dangerous pieces of kit. If you just flip a circular saw upside down and run it with a makeshift riving knife, homemade guards and a fence that's probably out of alignment then you are increasing the risks or kickback and serious accidents dramatically. Routers are feisty, dangerous tools but it is easier to mount them vertical and make simple solid fences.

How new are you to woodworking? You might find that you don't actually need a table saw for lots of projects. A good sliding mitre saw can be really beneficial and there are extra jigs and pieces of kit that can add to the functionality of a tracksaw. Check out Peter Millard's youtube channel for tracksaw stuff.
 

Cabinetman

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And it’s surprising how versatile a radial arm saw with a swivel head can be, cross cut rip mitre, and compound mitre, and with a long table good for sheet materials. Ian
 

Ttrees

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If you've got the space for a larger contractor saw, then
none of your reasons has came across as valid to me as an issue.

My 12" Sartrite saw fits in the boot of a wee car, table off and biscuit tin base on top, quite easy to get through a door.

Regarding three phase, as long as it has a dual voltage motor (see 240v
on the nameplate), then that will be easy to hook up a VFD
after a wee bit of reading.
I run mine from a 13a plug with no issues.
My cheapo VFD cost about a hundred quid, and the rest costs a pint and bag of chips for the rest.

It runs pretty smooth with the adjustable ramp up time, and doing up you're own simple switches lends itself to making a nice paddle.


The 275 with sliding table is 210kg and not so tough to move around when assembled, even with the base I made which has a slightly dippy caster, doesn't put up much of a fight and stows away easily.

Tom
 

Jimmy69

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As for newer saws being quieter - you'll have to spend some cash. The ones at the cheaper end of the market are painfully noisy. I have an old Record tablesaw now and it is much quieter.

As for converting track saw and circular saws. Although there are lot of ingenious woodworkers and makers posting videos of their homemade versions it's not a great solution. Tablesaws are dangerous pieces of kit. If you just flip a circular saw upside down and run it with a makeshift riving knife, homemade guards and a fence that's probably out of alignment then you are increasing the risks or kickback and serious accidents dramatically. Routers are feisty, dangerous tools but it is easier to mount them vertical and make simple solid fences.

How new are you to woodworking? You might find that you don't actually need a table saw for lots of projects. A good sliding mitre saw can be really beneficial and there are extra jigs and pieces of kit that can add to the functionality of a tracksaw. Check out Peter Millard's youtube channel for tracksaw stuff.
After nearly buying a site saw (changed my mind over noise and dust) I started looking at things like the Axminster AC254TS which looks great. What I should probably do is buy something like that and build it into a workbench along with a router table and if I don't like the fence, upgrade to an Incra system perhaps. I dislike the idea of spending that much money on something if it needs replacing - like the the fence for instance.

As far as converted track saws go, I agree. I initially lusted after the Festool CMS system but have since snapped out of it. I tire easily of tasks like changing router bits let alone adding and removing track saws Peter Parfit makes it look so easy ;)

I'm fairly new to woodworking. Having been a DIYer for decades, I decided to up my game about a year ago and build a kitchen. I already had a Festool TS55 from a previous(disastrous) attempt at a built in wardrobe. I then bought a festool router, dust collection and sander and a Mafell Duo dowller, Benchdogs etc. Built my own MFT/Paulk workbench. The half kitchen(still have to do the base cabinets ) have been a success but I know the hard part is coming in the shape of routed door handles and drawer fronts. I definitely need a router table but could probably carry on with the tracksaw/benchdog workflow. I probably haven't exhausted it yet but I'm not a big fan of the process.
In regards to Peter Millard - me spending all this money is all his fault! :)
 

LJM

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By putting a small saw into a bench, you won’t achieve anything more mobile or compact than saw such as a startrite or smaller wadkin. And remember, the Incra fence system is demanding of space!

In you shoes I would pick up an older used machine (if you have the money, go for a good example from a dealer, as it’s plug and play); the fence will likely be better than those on a comparable new machine, and if you don’t like it, you’ll very likely be able to sell it.

Position such that you open the door of your workspace to use it with larger material, and perhaps wheel it outside for the very largest. You can still attach a (removable or fold-down) router table to the side of the table.
 

Ozi

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If you've got the space for a larger contractor saw, then
none of your reasons has came across as valid to me as an issue.

My 12" Sartrite saw fits in the boot of a wee car, table off and biscuit tin base on top, quite easy to get through a door.

Regarding three phase, as long as it has a dual voltage motor (see 240v
on the nameplate), then that will be easy to hook up a VFD
after a wee bit of reading.
I run mine from a 13a plug with no issues.
My cheapo VFD cost about a hundred quid, and the rest costs a pint and bag of chips for the rest.

It runs pretty smooth with the adjustable ramp up time, and doing up you're own simple switches lends itself to making a nice paddle.


The 275 with sliding table is 210kg and not so tough to move around when assembled, even with the base I made which has a slightly dippy caster, doesn't put up much of a fight and stows away easily.

Tom
I stand corrected, as the person who regularly moves a bench that weighs >400Kg I should have known better, I was assuming better saws were leveled to great tolerance and bolted to the floor - now wondering why?

On the subject of electrical mods are we still allowed to do this, I just found out that legally I cannot change a kitchen light fitting any more! I can feel a rant coming on I will go stand in the corner for a bit.
 

danst96

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My £0.02 worth here, look for a Scheppach/Kity second hand and get a wheel base for it. With the mobile base they move around relatively easily even though they are heavy units, have relatively small footprints and the Scheppach 2500ci in particular has folding side tables (the Kity may have as well) which allows the saw to be used in smaller areas but can be opened up when needed to and also future proofs your investment when you come to move. The incra fence looks amazing but to me it looks like you would need a fair bit of space around your saw to make the most of it as it doesn't run on a front rail, rather moves in from the side meaning if you are very tight for space you won't have a huge amount of adjustability depending on the size of the table you have to the right of your blade (most saws with no side tables are pretty small footprint)

The other thing to consider with getting a bigger saw is motor size. I didn't think to much of this before and got a crappy Clarke table saw and quickly found out that not only did it likely give me permanent hearing damage (even with ear defenders) it also didn't have the power to deal with what I was putting through with it.

From my limited experience my advice would always be, max out your budget and space on the best table saw you can afford, it will be invaluable.
 

danst96

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Just to add, you can pick up second hand kitys and Scheppach for around the same price as the incra fence.
 

LJM

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I stand corrected, as the person who regularly moves a bench that weighs >400Kg I should have known better, I was assuming better saws were leveled to great tolerance and bolted to the floor - now wondering why?

On the subject of electrical mods are we still allowed to do this, I just found out that legally I cannot change a kitchen light fitting any more! I can feel a rant coming on I will go stand in the corner for a bit.
The base of any table saw needs to be levelled, indeed the flimsier the machine, the more care needs to be taken as the whole machine can twist.

You simply have to “competent”; the building inspector had no problem with me doing the electrics and gas in my dad’s house, as he deemed me to be competent.
 

LJM

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Simply an example of what can be fitted, functionally, into a single garage sized workspace:

 

Ttrees

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There are adjustable feet on the base of the saw, and not cheap thread bar either, its the heaviest I could get, so doesn't wobble about,
and no work has been done on the electrics in the shed.

I would be more worried about safe use of the saw, and to me
that rules out any machine that's not worth the bother of going to town on, and getting the saw and workshop to a state which it can be used as safely as possible.
I wouldn't let a pencil pusher have any influence over my future pencil pushing abilities ;)


To me that means not having to be frustrated moving a project off the bench to use it, and be electronically shouted at afterwards.
Just a recipe for disaster, leading to something like this happening,
This is a screenshot from a video on youtube titled
'my planer accident'
Screenshot-2021-4-20 MY PLANER ACCIDENT - YouTube.png


A question one might ask themselves, is how much time and money would someone be willing to spend making everything for a saw that's needed for safe use on something which might let out the magic smoke
any day, compared to having something decent which is worth spending the time on, for as long as it takes
making a good mobile base that is safe, and all the bells and whistles regarding jigs, and what not for as safe use as possible.

Personally I don't resent any time I have spent getting this old saw into a near usable state...i.e as safe as I could possibly make it.
I think I might have if it were some generic portable thing, and I
might find it harder to validate further investment getting the saw and the shed as a whole (if in a tight space) into an honestly usable situation
where it could be safe.

Tom
 
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