Is building furniture with a portable table saw a lost cause? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Is building furniture with a portable table saw a lost cause?

Hi,

I only have room for a portable table saw (I lack a garage or any other place for a permanent table saw). Is using a portable table saw simply a non-starter for building furniture? What would be the most obvious flaw that would be insurmountable given enough care in setting it up and in using it?

Thanks,
Duncan
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dejones View Post
Hi,

I only have room for a portable table saw (I lack a garage or any other place for a permanent table saw). Is using a portable table saw simply a non-starter for building furniture? What would be the most obvious flaw that would be insurmountable given enough care in setting it up and in using it?

Thanks,
Duncan
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Not really a flaw, but having the capacity of longer rails/fence assembly. If you're cutting sheet goods having a surround table/outfeed table would be beneficial, and that could be portable. The saw may not be as powerful as some, but having the correct blade helps.






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post #3 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 12:33 PM
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Welcome,

I'd have to say not a lost cause because people built furniture without power tools. It will be more difficult and if your not careful it could be less accurate because of a smaller table and not as good of a fence. Just get hlp for the larger pieces and make sure the fence is properly aligned.
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 12:55 PM
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NO! You just have to take greater care and not to engage in projects where the wood mass would overcome the saw.

I have a friend that builds very nice pieces of furniture with a "portable" Craftsman saw. He used to have a fairly well equiped shop, but in one of his military moves did not have the space for all of the big pieces.

George
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 01:34 PM
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I agree, it is doable but you will need to devise a way to cut parts which are wider than your fence will allow. I have a larger saw which will cut wide as I need but I can't handle the plywood sheets now days so I use a straight edge and circular saw to get the sheet goods down to manageable sizes.

I had a portable saw to take to the job and it did a great job and had enough power to rip 2X4s, it was a Makita. It is not a cheap saw as you could probably buy a fair contractor saw for what it cost but it was strong and did a good job.

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Last edited by BigJim; 10-15-2010 at 01:35 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 01:51 PM
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If its warm, you could always cut the big stuff outside.
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 03:46 PM
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There are plenty of guys (and gals) building furniture with circular saws and cutting guides. So no, it is not a lost cause. Actually, you will find many small shops feature bench top / portable table saws to be space efficient. There are some drawbacks to this idea, mostly mass, table size, and fence related. Sure a $3,000.00 Sawstop cabinet saw would do a great job making parts for that book case... But would it do any better than a $200.00 used Bosch portable table saw? I kind of doubt it... What is FAR more important than the saw is technique...

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 06:14 PM
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If its warm, you could always cut the big stuff outside.
I'm not sure what that has to do with the OP's question.

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There are plenty of guys (and gals) building furniture with circular saws and cutting guides. So no, it is not a lost cause. Actually, you will find many small shops feature bench top / portable table saws to be space efficient. There are some drawbacks to this idea, mostly mass, table size, and fence related. Sure a $3,000.00 Sawstop cabinet saw would do a great job making parts for that book case... But would it do any better than a $200.00 used Bosch portable table saw? I kind of doubt it... What is FAR more important than the saw is technique...
It would be allot easier to make accurate cuts especially larger ones. Larger sheets on a portable saw can also be more dangerous if care isn't taken to support the wood with either a helper or mechanical device.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 06:54 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Portable vs stationary

A cheapie portable AKA Skill, Craftsman, B and D around $200 or so is a waste of money in my opinion. Too cheap, too light, under powered..I could go on.
A used $200 10 Craftsman cast iron TS would be a big improvement assuming good condition or needs a little TLC.

Next level: $300 -$500 will get you an newer contractor saw with a motor out the back but a real decent saw. Or an older cabinet saw that needs lots of TLC. Or a recon'd portable like this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001546SVK/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000S5S5CW&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1RKDM9R49EDEBZ9DT9DV
http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-4100-09-10-Inch-Worksite-Gravity-Rise/dp/B000S5S5CW Next level would be a new portable for $650 or so.

The problem is "room" A safe sized cast iron table saw on roller stand will take up just about the same room as any portable.
You still need a safe "roomy" space to work especially for ripping.
If you need to store it on a shelf then yes you will want a portable.
News Flash! There's a reason they call them table saws. They often get used as tables! So a saw can be used as a table and when you need to work with it clear it off and saw away. There are swing down rear extensions you can buy or make and support tables as well. So it's really not a matter of "room" if you are clever.

Personally I used a 10" Craftsman series 100 from the '60s for 55 years until I just parted it out and saved the table. There is nothing like cast iron for durability and smoothness. True, the newer portables have great safety guards and nice fences but the aluminum tables will not hold magnets, the latest rage in hold down and feather boards! I have a Bosch 4000 portable and it's the greatest, but it wouldn't be my first choice to make furniture with which was your original question. Confused?
The newer hybirds take up less space since the motor is underneath rather than out the back and dust collection is much better. I got a steal of a deal on a Craftman closeout reg $1200 saw for $486.00 cash and carry, grunt, grunt. There are deals, you just have to find them.
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/w...able-saw-9629/
bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-15-2010 at 07:21 PM.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rrbrown View Post
I'm not sure what that has to do with the OP's question.



It would be allot easier to make accurate cuts especially larger ones. Larger sheets on a portable saw can also be more dangerous if care isn't taken to support the wood with either a helper or mechanical device.
Richard is right, the portable saw can be very dangerous especially cutting long stuff, even with two people. I have seen times when ripping a 4X8 sheet of plywood for bookcases or whatever, the portable saw and stand would slide, twist or tilt and that was with two people so please be very careful.

http://www.diychatroom.com/

BigJim

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Last edited by BigJim; 10-15-2010 at 07:19 PM.
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