Setting up table saw for a beginner - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-15-2015, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Setting up table saw for a beginner

Hi all.

I am a beginner to the world of word-working - at least in the finer points of the trade. I can build a house from the ground-up, but would never dream of making my own cabinets.

That said, my family thinks I can do anything, so I'm going to "wing-it" by starting a new project for my 14-y-o daughter. She wants the outside wall in her bedroom turned into a library complete with window seat.

We have numerous ideas gleaned from Pinterest so I'm almost ready to begin. My biggest hurdle-to-date has been the table saw. This past weekend, I found a good deal on a Hitachi C10RA2 10-Inch Portable Table Saw that is mounted to a custom-made rolling cabinet ($100!). I need to true-up the surface of the table top, which also has a cut-out for a router (his was a Craftsman, mine is Porter Cable - hoping mine will mount ok), and shim the saw so the deck is flush with the cabinet's top, but my biggest concern is the fence.

What recommendations do members have for mounting a fence? Should I make my own, or buy one aftermarket? Personally, I dislike the stock fences on most table saws (and their single clamp design).

What about the blade? I assume I should manually check camber and toe before making my first cut.

Keep in mind, I am a journeyman millwright and have considerable experience with industrial machinery - except I work with steel, et al.

Thanks for your input!

Brian

Last edited by Rileysan; 06-15-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-15-2015, 04:01 PM
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Welcome here to this very friendly wood working forum, where there is always room for one more. It is always best to be certain BEFORE you start any project that every tool is in perfect working order. Seems strange that your Hitachi TS did not have a fence included with it, or did the seller decide to keep it or sell it separately? Check on line as to what fences are available for your TS, and perhaps also get a book on "tuning up a TS". Be safe.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-15-2015, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchux View Post
Welcome here to this very friendly wood working forum, where there is always room for one more. It is always best to be certain BEFORE you start any project that every tool is in perfect working order. Seems strange that your Hitachi TS did not have a fence included with it, or did the seller decide to keep it or sell it separately? Check on line as to what fences are available for your TS, and perhaps also get a book on "tuning up a TS". Be safe.

It has the original fence as well as a home-made (wood) fence to fit the cabinet the saw is mounted on (uses a Jorgensen wood clamp to secure it) - I don't trust it. The cabinet is 60" long by 28" deep, allowing for larger cuts. I plan to take some photos tonight to help with visuals.

I spent some time reading a thread on setting up a fence http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/s...-47244/index2/ which has been very helpful. In the interest of time, I want to buy an aftermarket fence as opposed to making one for myself and want recommendations on the best universal fences.

Brian
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 08:22 AM
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Brian,welcome.

First thing that pops into my pea brain regarding TS fences is.....Are we talking "full length" fences or the short style?Further,one that adjusts its termination point....AKA Delta Unifence.

Not trying to confuse anything but there are some real inerrant differences.We make use of a "unifence"(shop built) on a short stroke slider TS that honestly,I couldn't live without.Yes you can clamp pcs on a std fence and have it "act" like an adj,but they are a trifle cumbersome in actual use.....mainly wrestlin with clamps.

But it isn't a problem,more of an opportunity......just need a clamp-less way to adj/slide the auxiliary fence.Use some Tee bolts(or sumthin)coming through the std fence to engage a matching slot on the backside of the add-on fence.And you don't have to mill that slot.It can be formed by building up layers,which will create any necessary offsets.A cpl of those nice,adj lever lock handles you see on much equip these days can be had from the usual suspects(Rockler,Woodcraft,etc).

If you make an aux fence....shoot for 1" thick and your rip scale will be an easy read(vs having some oddball number).Get on Ebay,IMO...can not be beat for "real time" research on what is currently available,and what the price point is.Then you can go find one or build one.

Steel pricing these days,unless you're hooked up with a shop that you can piggy back a small order.....is almost a deal killer when comparing shop-built vs buying used.It can be done,but doesn't fully come into focus(saving/making money)until you are building one off's that simply don't exist.And even then,finding bent,broken,abused stock fences and rehabbing them still makes a little more $$ sense.Best of luck,BW

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post #5 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 08:41 AM
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More info for building your own TS fence. The Woodwhisperer has a video (#188) about doing just that, from a company "Very Super Cool Tools"@ www.VSCTools.com. If your fence is a square tube Biesemeyer type now, this will (probably) fit your needs. Be safe.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 10:20 AM
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It is possible to accomplish what you mention, but, you are starting out with a job site saw which is the heart of the entire set up and has so many limitations that it may not be practical. I would simply tune up what you have, put on a good quality blade and live with double checking the existing fence.

A contractor style saw on the other hand would be a worthwhile project to throw money into as it will serve you much better.

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post #7 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchux View Post
More info for building your own TS fence. The Woodwhisperer has a video (#188) about doing just that, from a company "Very Super Cool Tools"@ www.VSCTools.com. If your fence is a square tube Biesemeyer type now, this will (probably) fit your needs. Be safe.

Great information! This is exactly the sort of thing I am looking for. I'm sure what I'm trying to do seems overkill but it's how I am wired. I just have to be careful not to put more time into setting up my tools than working on my daughter's project, lol.

I would welcome any other information on setting up my table that members think important.

Thanks you!

Brian
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 01:03 PM
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An aftermarket fence can certainly be an improvement to your saw, but I can't help but think that'd you'd be better off selling the Hitachi, and looking for a saw with better bones in the first place. No matter what fence you add, you're still going to have a small table area with a direct drive universal motor, sloppy bearings, limited accessory compatibility, and low resale value.

A full size cast iron saw with a belt drive induction motor, and standard miter slots is the way I'd go. They're often in the range $75 to $200 on CL....some may even have a decent fence already. Either way, there's far more potential for upgrades and growth down the road.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by notskot View Post
An aftermarket fence can certainly be an improvement to your saw, but I can't help but think that'd you'd be better off selling the Hitachi, and looking for a saw with better bones in the first place.
I absolutely agree! However, I have other limitations at this time (including space and budget) and given my propensity for buying tools, I didn't want to push my luck just yet. I figured (right or wrong) that a universal fence can stay with me no matter what saw I own in the future. If this project goes as planned, I will make my sales-pitch to the wife for a much nicer saw - perhaps something like this Powermatic saw I came across at an estate sale this past weekend ($1300)

I came away from the sale with only a couple trinkets ...

http://www.estatesales.net/OR/Salem/97306/907800
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 02:35 PM
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Keep saving, keep looking, and eventually the right TS/right $ for you will appear. If you buy the VSCTool fence, save it for your "new" saw. Be safe.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-16-2015, 06:01 PM
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Rileysan
I think you will be fine with the saw you purchased and the fence that came with it to build the project for your daughter.
Don't assume it's no good until you try it.
There's no use in spending more money on fences when you already have two.
Step one: cut some wood. Check everything out by trying both cross-cutting and ripping. I would not even buy a new blade until you're sure it's needed.
I suggest birch plywood for your daughters project. It will finish nicely.
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