contr TS how close good enough? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-03-2008, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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contr TS how close good enough?

I'm new at woodworking. Have delta contractor saw. Have aligned blade to the mitre and unifence and all appears to be square although with my mitre there is some play 90 degree to the blade. Have made one simple plant stand that ended up off square due to either my cross-cutting on the saw or to my assembly are not right on square. I've read other threads and get different tolerances- 1/64th off in 6" cut is ok, no, 0.001" is even too much for a cross-cut.

So, here's questions to contractor saw users who make simple small furniture for fun like coffee tables, plant stands, etc

-how much can I be off on a 6" cut and still get a good square product from your experience?

-when setting up the saw, how much can the front-to-back blade be off to the fence?

Nubie at woodworking-old in years!
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-03-2008, 03:39 PM
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Personally, I do very little crosscuting on the tablesaw, most of my crosscuts are done with a mitersaw, I feel I have more control of the board on a mitersaw. About the only time I crosscut on the tablesaw is when the board is too wide to cut it in a single cut on a mitersaw, then I generally use a sled on the tablesaw.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-03-2008, 10:04 PM
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Hi Nubie:

I hope your Delta is a good old one that weighs a ton. They were pretty good. The newer ones don't seem to have the same ???? than the old ones.

Accuracy? I introduce enough errors into a project I don't need the table saw adding to the confusion. I use a 6" engineers square that I got at Lee Valley Tools. (24N07.06 @ $15.20) "Machined to continental engineering standards (the code used is British Standard 939 Grade B which means less than 0.001" deviation per inch over the entire length of the blade)." Translation: it's more accurate than I can tell!

Next, I follow the manual religiously to set it up as accurately as I'm able. I don't know how accurate I am but when I do a cross cut, the blade seems to run true. If you don't have a manual, the Ridgid TS3660 Cast Iron Table Saw should be sufficiently similar that you can follow their manual. The Delta I think you have to buy.

Note, like Woodchuck1957, I too use a crosscut sled -- homemade is better than store-bought.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-18-2008, 12:40 AM
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cross cutting on table saw

If you want to create an accurate cross cut on a table saw use a sled, very easy to make, you will need a sheet of 1/2" plywood for the base, about 27"x30" should be good. Then attach a 2x5x30 on each end of the plywood, (so that one will be in front of the saw blade and one behind it). Finally cut two strips of wood that will fit in the mitre slots on your saw table. Place the strips in the slot, then place the sled square, (can use the fence) to the blade, attach the strips to the sled with small screws from either end of the saw table. You now have a save and fast cross cutting tool.

Now using the fence with a block of wood or using the sled by clamping on a block of wood at the proper length you can repeatedly cut the same length piece everytime. You can also use it to cut tapers on wood with the use of wedges screwed to the sled at the proper position. The other advantage of this sled is it creates a zero clearance cut. You make additional sleds for dado blade and angle cuts or attach scrap wood over previous saw cuts to create zero clearance and avoid tearout. The limitation is it only able to cut wood that is less than the width of your sled, but if your wood is wider it may be best using a skill saw and guide.

Good Luck
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-18-2008, 07:09 AM
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" Note, like Woodchuck1957, I too use a crosscut sled -- homemade is better than store-bought."

I have to disagree on this one. I had made and used a homemade sled for many years. I thought that it worked quite well. That is until a month ago I saw a Rockler sled on sale and just could not refuse. I cannot believe the difference! This is night and day. The Rockler sled is heavy to handle because it is heavier built and also has a miter feature. That miter feature is very, very accurate.

I can tune the miter much closer than on my Craftsman sliding miter saw because I am dealing with a much larger instrument. I can easily adjust to within 1/4 degree. This comes in very handy when working with baseboards and crown moldings because all corners are not square.

I now find that with the Rockler sled I use the table saw about as much as the sliding miter saw even for smaller boards. My miter saw cuts up to 12".

Regardless of home built or store bought, a sled is a must item for a table saw.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-18-2008, 09:19 AM
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Further to GeorgeC's comments:

This is what is great about the internet. I expound on a philosophy and someone comes along with a different experience and presents their point of view.

You are the beneficiary of two people's divergent experiences. Now, you will be able to test my theory with little cost and that may be adequate for your purpose. However, I stand by my comment "I introduce enough errors into a project I don't need tools adding to the confusion."

On the flip side, GeorgeC has found a factory made item to suit his purposes. I would then challenge you to purchase an excellent protractor, something with precision, and see if you can duplicate the accuracy that GeorgeC purports. Then, if you're rich, go out and buy the factory made item and compare the accuracy of that to the accuracy of the other methods.

Personally, I measure with a proven scale, I mark with a Striking Knife (LeeValley 50CD01.01,) I markup my parts with pencil and tape, I use the best equipment I can afford set as accurately as I can see and I still screw up the project badly enough that it looks like S---! I've not yet attempted something that goes into the house or that resembles furniture.

In all fairness though, I use poor materials, scraps from the local pallet factory (and if they can't use it in a pallet, it's got to be worse than bad) and I still have a bunch of 100 year old studs with holes, burn marks, nails still in them, etc.

So, learn with the scraps, develop your own techniques for doing things, use templates of your own design, acquire a shop that meets your purposes, don't race the Joneses they'll always be ahead in your mind, be prepared to redo a project two or three times before you get it right, and _enjoy yourself_! All the rest of it is garbage!

I come by my handle honestly -- Allthunbs
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-18-2008, 12:33 PM
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I always check for square by cross corner measurements...every sheet of ply has one edge out of square. Find it before you cut! One of the first...if not the first thing I learned in shop class in highschool was...cut a square or rectangle as close to perfect as possible...with a hand saw! Check the edges with a Machinest square! Try it! Rick

Never... I mean always... never mind Rick
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-19-2008, 09:07 AM
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Your observation about plywood is well heard.

There is no way in h--- that I could cut a straight line with anything but a CNC milling machine and even that I'd figure some way to screw up.
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