Table Saw Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Table Saw Question

Firstly, I apologize that I have a Harbor Freight table saw - it's what I have and what I can afford and it, mostly, satisfies my needs for a table saw....BUT....I can't, for the life of me, get it to saw a square crosscut. I square the miter gauge to the blade with either a drafting triangle or carpenter's square, then draw a square line across the board. When I make the cut, it always ends up straying from the line - as much as 1/8" on a 1x10! I also had an old King Seeley that did the same thing and I ended up parting it out (not an option with the HB...LOL). Is there some sort of adjustment that I can do to make this thing cut square or should I just scrap it and try to find something else? I don't use a table saw much as I mostly build guitars but do make the occasional table or bench for family and friends and it would be nice to just toss a 1x up there and know it would cut square.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 12:33 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Set up the saw properly!

There are numerous videos on You Tube about checking and setting up a table saw properly..... blade parallel to miter slots, fence parallel to miter slots, blade 90 degrees to table at full height, miter gauge to blade at 90 degrees....

Then sticky tape some 100 grit sandpaper to a wood fence about 20" long
screwed to the miter gauge face, extending to the left of the blade about 15". Run the new fence through the blade at a height that will NOT cut it off, it needs to be about 3" high, your maximum full height. This is called an "extended" fence and it will make all cross cuts 100% easier and more accurate.

Then come back and tell us how that works after installing a new 40 tooth Diablo thin kerf blade.
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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)
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 01:47 PM
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There is no reason to apologize for the type of saw that you have. You are not the only one using a Harbor Freight tale saw.


The problem could be the miter gauge that you have. I would make a simple crosscut sled. If you "google" "how to make a crosscut sled" you will find many articles that will explain in detail.



The primary item in making the sled is to ensure that the fence (back) of the sled is absolutely perpendicular to the blade.


Have you checked to be sure that the square that you are using to draw the line on the board is in fact square?


George
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 06:40 PM
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The saw may just be too little to make cuts like that. Sometimes that can get difficult with a professional cabinet saw. Many people have to make a sled to do that because it difficult to hold the wood against a miter gauge tight enough to cross cut with it. Larger panels I use a homemade T-square and make the cuts with a hand held circular saw. As far as squaring the miter gauge I have better luck putting a board in the opposite miter slot and squaring the miter gauge with a framing square.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 06:56 PM
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Yes, no need to apologize. I have a friend who has a HF lathe and turns out some beautiful bowls and other turnings. Not an expert on table saws but it seems the others have pointed you in the right direction. Let us know how you got your TS adjusted.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 08:53 PM
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The problem with miter gauges is that they have a small face. Small angle differences at the miter gauge turn into larger deviations at the blade. A crosscut sled would definitely help.

I plan to build a crosscut sled one day, but in the meantime, I get by with a "miter fence." I take a straight, flat board and drill two holes in it. The board should be the same length as the distance from the left side of the blade to the left side of the table saw, and be as high as the miter gauge itself. I slide the miter fence gently against the blade tips, then clamp it in that position to the miter gauge. I cut a 1/8 inch rabbet on the bottom of the face to create a pocket for any sawdust that might otherwise interfere with the cut. I should add sandpaper to the face to prevent slippage, but it seems to work well enough as is.

I use these universal fence clamps, because the clamp posts go inside the miter fence, so they don't interfere with the wood to crosscut: https://www.rockler.com/universal-fence-clamps

You can also clamp your work to the end of that same miter fence (near the blade) to cut tenons or notches.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-08-2018, 09:49 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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My "extended fence" on the miter gauge

This is what I described above see post 2, and it's really very simple and easy to make:


I have several miter gauges that I've collected over the years. Some are more precise for cutting angles than others, which may only cut at 90 degrees:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/m...ges-one-13121/
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-09-2018, 01:53 AM
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@woodnthings' photo is pretty much what I was trying to describe in post #6. It is what I call a "miter fence." The differences between woodnthings' photo and my miter fence are:

* His fence goes past the blade, so there is a gap in the fence for the blade kerf. One advantage of his choice is better support for the cut, because there is support on both sides of the blade. His solution may result in less chipout.

* My fence uses the universal fence clamps, his uses bolts from behind the miter gauge. They are equally good. My miter gauge does not come with proper cutouts and holes for the bolts, so I would have to drill my miter gauge. A drilling template page is in the user manual, but I prefer the clamps. They are fast, toolless, and simple (compared with the bolts and countersinks for my miter gauge).
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-09-2018, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
...I plan to build a crosscut sled one day, but in the meantime, I get by with a "miter fence."...
I "got by" for years until I had a major project that required lots of accurate square cuts. The 2-3 hours I spent building and truing the sled was well worth it; my sled is unquestionably the best tablesaw accessory I've ever had.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-09-2018, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
Firstly, I apologize that I have a Harbor Freight table saw - it's what I have and what I can afford and it, mostly, satisfies my needs for a table saw....BUT....I can't, for the life of me, get it to saw a square crosscut. I square the miter gauge to the blade with either a drafting triangle or carpenter's square, then draw a square line across the board. When I make the cut, it always ends up straying from the line - as much as 1/8" on a 1x10! I also had an old King Seeley that did the same thing and I ended up parting it out (not an option with the HB...LOL). Is there some sort of adjustment that I can do to make this thing cut square or should I just scrap it and try to find something else? I don't use a table saw much as I mostly build guitars but do make the occasional table or bench for family and friends and it would be nice to just toss a 1x up there and know it would cut square.

Hey Skip, the first thing you need to do is set up your saw for the best accuracy. Here are some You-tube videos. Don't just watch one video, watch several and get ideas from each one. Take your time and do it right. If you have more questions come back and ask them.

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...able+saw+setup

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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