Is it me, my blade or my table saw? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 09-27-2020, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Is it me, my blade or my table saw?

Is it me, my table saw blade or my Hazard Fraught (Harbor Freight) Hercules table saw?

Recently I have been having some problems with burnt out cuts (rips) and indentation saw marks on the cut piece using my somewhat new Hercules Table Saw that I bought from … well … you know …. I’m bad …. From Harbor Freight Tools.

The original general purpose 10 inch blade from Hercules is not very old. However, I bought two new Diablo blades (a 40 tooth general purpose blade and a fine finish 60 tooth blade). All three blades exhibit the same behavior.

I am ripping through four ¾ inch hemlock pieces laminated together.
To me, it appears that the table saw is having to “strain somewhat” to make this cut. Thus, the burning.

In your opinion, is the problem:
1. Me
2. My chosen blade (though I tried two new ones)
3. My Hercules saw just not quite delivering enough power to make this cut

Thanks
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post #2 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 12:11 AM
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3" of one of the toughest woods around, using fine tooth blades, on a contractors table saw?
I dont think you can blame the saw

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post #3 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 12:41 AM
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Being about 1500 miles from you I can only guess:

1 ~ The fence is not exactly parallel with the saw blade. Generally, the way to do that is to align the saw blade with the right miter gauge slot. Then align the fence with the miter slot. Your user manual should have instructions on how to do this. A fence that is tight can cause this problem.

2 ~ Normally, riving knives or splitters are intended to work with standard kerf blades. (1/8 inch kerf) Every time a blade is changed the splitter alignment may be off enough to cause the problem that you are experiencing. Ideally the riving knife / splitter should be aligned with the arbor flange. There are no, to my knowledge, jigs or fixtures to accomplish the task. I have seen this problem occur by misalignment. I have seen this problem happen by changing from normal kerf to thin kerf blades. Most people remove the riving knife / splitter and use a push stick that allows downward pressure.

3 ~ I am uncertain as to what you mean by "¾ inch hemlock pieces laminated together". If you are making a 3 deep inch cut, then I would guess that the side of the hemlock against the fence is not straight AND improper blade. Your best choice is probably a combination, 40 tooth blade, with 8 groups of 4 ATB teeth and one raker tooth over a large gullet.

Let us know the solution.

One other thing. Regardless of the blade used, you will have to sand the cut. Sometimes more sanding, sometimes less sanding but none the less SANDING.
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post #4 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 01:01 AM
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Yes, it is normal for your saw. You are asking too much of it in one cut. The burning happens because more teeth are spending more time inside the wood, creating friction.

Here are suggestions:

* Choose the blade with the fewest teeth. Consider buying a true rip cut blade.

* Choose a thin kerf blade. It may vibrate more, but requires less power to make the cut.

* Make the cut in multiple passes. Start shallow, then raise the the blade a little and make another pass. Keep raising the blade and making passes, until you make the final through cut.

* Make the cut you want with burning but make it a little wide. Next, move the fence over a "couple of knocks" closer. (It should be much less than a full blade kerf over.) Slice off the burned edge, leaving a clean, unburned edge.
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post #5 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Yes, it is normal for your saw. You are asking too much of it in one cut. The burning happens because more teeth are spending more time inside the wood, creating friction.

Here are suggestions:

* Choose the blade with the fewest teeth. Consider buying a true rip cut blade.

* Choose a thin kerf blade. It may vibrate more, but requires less power to make the cut.

* Make the cut in multiple passes. Start shallow, then raise the the blade a little and make another pass. Keep raising the blade and making passes, until you make the final through cut.

* Make the cut you want with burning but make it a little wide. Next, move the fence over a "couple of knocks" closer. (It should be much less than a full blade kerf over.) Slice off the burned edge, leaving a clean, unburned edge.

That 4th suggesting is unique and should work.


George
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post #6 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 10:56 AM
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Don't forget to keep your blades clean. Pitch built up on any blade will decrease its performance greatly.

Gary

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post #7 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 11:16 AM
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I would say 3,2, then 1.

Power and crummy fences are the big issues for cheap saws. You have to constantly check for alignment.

That said, put a thin kerf rip blade on that thing!!

Robert
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post #8 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Is it me, my blade or my table saw?

Wow!

All I can say is, "Wow".

This is my first question/post submitted to this forum and I couldn't be happier. ALL of the answers to my question were professional and helpful.

Thanks, everyone
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post #9 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 04:06 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Glad your were helped out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaJeff View Post
Wow!

All I can say is, "Wow".

This is my first question/post submitted to this forum and I couldn't be happier. ALL of the answers to my question were professional and helpful.

Thanks, everyone

Allow me to elaborate on table saw blades. There's a reason there are so many types of saw blades, simply .... one blade won't do everything well..... well enough!


Table saw blades are like teeth on a dog's mouth....
The big canines in front can do a lot of ripping and tearing. So, when you are ripping on the table saw you want a blade with only a few big teeth for maximum efficiency. This is because a high speed spinning blade needs to eject the material it has just cut away and the faster, the better. The longer that sawdust stays spinning around within the blade, the more heat it generates and that will burn the wood and warp the blade. To prevent this, ripping blades typically have 30 or fewer teeth, or 24. They have large spaces between them called gullets, to carry away the sawdust.

Next, the thicker the blade and the wider the teeth, the more horse power it takes to make it cut. Engineers figured that out and started making very thin blades which use less HP or horse power, and they are called "thin kerf" . The good news is, you can get thin kerf blades in all numbers of tooth configurations for your table top and other "underpowered" tablesaws..... 24 tooth, 40 tooth, 50 tooth even 60 or 80 tooth. So, the more teeth the finer the bite or cut and the less tearout when cutting across the grain.

Grain direction is important to determine what blade to use. A ripping blade is used to cut down the length of a board because that grain runs parallel with the length. Those fibers are more difficult to slice off and get removed from the kerf, so larger teeth and larger gullets. Cutting across the grain is easier since the fibers are easier to cut, so more teeth and a finer cut. A "compromise" blade, or general purpose or "combination" blade will have 50 teeth or 40 teeth, and will do a pretty fair job in most materials up to 2" thick.
Anything thicker than that you would want to use a ripping blade.

Regarding the saw ...... as long as the motor is in good shape, and the power supply cord and wiring is heavy gauge number 12 or 14, that's the first concern. Next, the saw blade "must" be aligned parallel to the fence which in turn, "should" be aligned to the miter slot. If the blade and fence are not parallel, there's a "wedging effect" and that will bind the blade, overheating it, warping it and potentially causing a kickback. A properly setup table saw has both the blade and the fence aligned parallel to the miter slot for greatest accuracy, and best operation.

Safety is the last issue. Kickbacks occur primarily because the operator fails to maintain the work registered along the entire length until the cut is completed. If for any reason the workpiece is allowed to move away from the fence behind the blade, it will go for a short and vicious ride up and over the top of the blade and will come back directly at the operator. There are two devices that come with the saw that help prevent that. The older saws had splitters a long tall metal plate onto which the blade guard was mounted. Most tablesaw owners removed them and because they didn't understand how they functioned, were victums of their own undoing. That thin plate helps keep the workpiece lightly registered again the fence to prevent it from moving away. NOW, never reach behind around or over a spinning saw blade for any reason! Not to grab a cutoff, or workpiece especially.

So, to keep the feeding movement going forward, you need a push shoe that will press downward, inward and forward all at the same time and to insure safety by keeping your hands and fingers out of the blade path. The insert in the saw is usually painted RED and that is the Danger Zone, so keep fingers away from that area. You will note that I said push shoe, not push stick. The typical long, slender push sticks that are so common, are actually unsafe because they can only apply forward feeding force. The inward and downward force that are so necessary can NOT be accomplished with that very small area under the tip of a push stick.

Like this:


If your table saw has a lrge gap on either side of the blade where thin cutoff can slide down and get stuck, that another safety hazard. You are always tempted to grab for it before or afterwards and that will get your fingers separated from your hand very quickly. You need a "zero clearance" insert:

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; 09-28-2020 at 04:37 PM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 08:33 PM
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I agree with almost every thing you said , except for the blade. I would recommend a 24TPI blade made for ripping.
Amana, Freud and many other brands will do the job. 40 TPI is fine for most work but his hemlock is 3" thick.
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post #11 of 22 Old 09-28-2020, 08:39 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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The 24 tooth blade was mentioned 2X

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwoodhands View Post
I agree with almost every thing you said , except for the blade. I would recommend a 24TPI blade made for ripping.
Amana, Freud and many other brands will do the job. 40 TPI is fine for most work but his hemlock is 3" thick.
mike

So, you missed it twice?



3rd paragraph:
....... ripping blades typically have 30 or fewer teeth, or 24.


4th paragraph:
The good news is, you can get thin kerf blades in all numbers of tooth configurations for your table top and other "underpowered" tablesaws..... 24 tooth, 40 tooth, 50 tooth even 60 or 80 tooth.


Along with the explanations about fewer teeth, larger gullets for ripping ..... just sayin'

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 #12 of 22 Old 09-29-2020, 03:43 AM
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Apparently I read your post too fast and missed that info.
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post #13 of 22 Old 09-29-2020, 09:17 AM
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So many things.. One of the huge problems with cheap saws is fence alignment. It may look aligned, but being off by mere fractions of fractions of fractions can throw everything off.
I had a cheap Ryobi (actually still have it, but it's just turning to rust in the shed) and I could never align that fence no matter how many measurements I made. The moment I'd tighten it down the measurements would nudge off just a hair every single time. This problem is compounded if the blade isn't aligned straight and with something like Hemlock you'll be lucky if you're not eating that wood the hard way. If you're using the original blade forget it. HF is notorious for cheap and inaccurate and I'm not even sure the motor spins at a consistent rate, ie: fast/slow/fast/not slow/maybe fast/maybe slow? You get the gist.
Personally I'd scour craigslist for at least an old craftsman contractor saw, even a piece of junk like my direct drive, aluminum top and invest in an Align-A-Rip fence and install it properly. You're looking at about $150 for the saw and another $100 for the fence, so $250 and your life will improve 10 fold overnight.. That's my personal opinion, but you're under no obligation to listen to a word I ever utter.
Just for the record, my old crapman still does a half way decent job and I rip a LOT of lumber. In fact I typically end up with 3-4 kitchen sized trashbags full of sawdust every week or so, but I also use a planer and a jointer which generates a bunch as well.. I still plan to get a better saw someday soon as the mythical winning lotto ticket lands smack dab in my hand during a hurricane and I actually check the numbers and don't lose the damned thing. I'm not asking for too much....am I?
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Last edited by allpurpose; 09-29-2020 at 09:26 AM.
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post #14 of 22 Old 10-01-2020, 10:43 PM
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The internal mechanism of low priced table saw is generally flimsy, sloppy, and weak. Under load it can deflect enough to cause cut smoothness problems. Most people migrate to the old Unisaws or Powermatic model 66 saws for 10" table saw that is build as good as it needs to be. Good blades these days will cost a c-note or more. Bad blades can be had for $20-$30.00. Considering the level of usual performance, the bad blades are overpriced for what you get.
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post #15 of 22 Old 10-02-2020, 12:55 AM
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Bad blades can be had for $20-$30.00. Considering the level of usual performance, the bad blades are overpriced for what you get.
Now, now.
HF will put 10 inch blades on sale for sometimes $6. They are usually worth several hundred dollars.

You're thinking, "Rich you're up in your nightie." Well. . . .
The blades are incredibly useful for finding nails and screws in reclaimed wood. You'll be cutting and sparks fly. "Oh, just saved a c-note." Does it still cut? Keep going to more sparks. "Oh, just saved another c-note." After 5 or 6 sparks, look at the money you have saved.
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post #16 of 22 Old 10-02-2020, 12:50 PM
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Super good discussion.

Underpowered saw, too many teeth, misaligned blade/fence. Any or all of these can cause burning. I think all of the above suggestions are good.

I would like to suggest a simple test to see if the blade is misaligned to the fence. Rip a length of wood (3/4 might be enough but I would try something thicker, maybe 1 1/4). Pay close attention as the cut reaches the back of the blade and begins to pass by the riving knife. If you start to get a lot of saw dust thrown into your face there is an alignment issue causing the teeth of the blade to contact the wood at the rear of the blade rather than just at the front.
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post #17 of 22 Old 10-02-2020, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elden Cozort View Post
Super good discussion.

Underpowered saw, too many teeth, misaligned blade/fence. Any or all of these can cause burning. I think all of the above suggestions are good.

I would like to suggest a simple test to see if the blade is misaligned to the fence. Rip a length of wood (3/4 might be enough but I would try something thicker, maybe 1 1/4). Pay close attention as the cut reaches the back of the blade and begins to pass by the riving knife. If you start to get a lot of saw dust thrown into your face there is an alignment issue causing the teeth of the blade to contact the wood at the rear of the blade rather than just at the front.
Care to elaborate as to what and why? It sounds fascinating and I would like to understand more.

Just never too old to learn.

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post #18 of 22 Old 10-03-2020, 11:51 AM
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Care to elaborate as to what and why? It sounds fascinating and I would like to understand more.

Just never too old to learn.
I might be wrong but here is my experience.

If the blade and fence are aligned, the the teeth at the front of the blade will make the cut on their downward path and as the wood reaches the back of the blade the teeth moving up will glide through the kerf already created. A majority of the sawdust created will drop out of the gullets as the blade rotates.

If the blade and fence are not aligned, the teeth will cut wood at the front of the blade and as the wood reaches the back of the blade the teeth will once again cut wood on the upward movement of the blade. This sawdust will then be come out of the gullets and towards you.

Of course, sometimes the kerf will close slightly after the front teeth have cut and the there will be some sawdust thrown as the back of the blade "reopens" the kerf. Also, even with a well aligned blade, there will be a slight amount of sawdust that remains in the gullets and is thrown out on the top.

A misaligned riving knife can also cause thrown sawdust. If the riving riving knife is not centered behind the blade, it can push the wood slightly left or right after the wood passes the back of the blade. My riving knife is approximately .110 inches wide and my blade is .125 wide creating a difference of .015 inches. As an example, assume the riving knife is too far to the left of the blade. After the wood passes the blade, the riving knife then pulls the wood to the left causing the back of the blade to cut the right side of the wood and widen the kerf slightly. This again throws sawdust at you.

So, in my experience, a lot of thrown sawdust is bad, a little is unavoidable.
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post #19 of 22 Old 10-05-2020, 01:29 AM
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Elden,
Thank you for taking the time to explain that.

Rich
Just a dumb old paper boy from Brooklyn, NY
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post #20 of 22 Old 10-05-2020, 11:46 AM
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Elden,
Thank you for taking the time to explain that.
You're welcome
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