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Discussion Starter #1
After joining this page to help me decide between a portable tabe saw vs. a router table, I settled on a jobsite table saw... only to be sent a link to
.

In the video, the woodworker explicity mentions one should NOT use a table saw on "rough-cut/non-straight" wood. Which is the whole reason I wanted a table saw in the first place. :crying2: Because I'm terrible at keeping my circular saw straight (even with a laser, I can't follow the lines), I wanted a saw that could make even, precise cuts both horizontally and vertically on leftover boards that we used to build a fence. The boards were cut on-site* from a big tree. That roughness works with our fence, but not with my idea of making an 8ft long dining room table.

*the tools that were used belonged to the tree people and aren't accessible to me

In the video this guy says I need a joinder? jointer? If I get buy that, will I still need a table saw? Any advice is welcome and feel free to ELI5 (explain it like I'm five).
 

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where's my table saw?
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They are "companion" machines .....

The first rule of using a tablesaw:
Never place curved, warped or twisted boards on the table or against the fence. Boards must be straight and flat! Here's why.....
Imagine the tablesaw blade as a portion of a plate, which is flat with teeth. It wants to cut in a straight line because it's a flat "plane", a geometry term. OK, that plane won't allow you to move the board around because your board is snug against the fence .... or is it? Not if it's curved or twisted! It wants to change direction up and down and sideways. So what? When board changes direction it will wedge against the spinning blade and bind it up causing it to get thrown back at the operator ... you! It's called a "kickback" which is explained again here:
http://www.raygirling.com/kickback.htm
and here;


The jointer doesn't saw wood. It's got a round cutter like a rolling pin with sharp blades that remove "chips" from the surface or edge of a board. When it's used on the edge it's called jointing because that edge will mate up with another board and form a tight fitting joint when it's glued and clamped up. When the wood is place on the jointer so it's face down, not on edge, it's called surfacing. Surfacing removes all thewarp, twists and cupping and makes that face flat. So now we have a board that has a flat face and a straight edge..... so it's ready to be safely sawn on the tablesaw. :smile2:


Got it? :vs_cool:BTW, all experienced woodworkers have had a kickback at least once, or they are not actually "experienced" ...JMO.
 
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I stand by my recommendation in the previous thread:

-> @Alexia Johannes would be better served using a circular saw with guides.

I made that statement before I learned that the trigger switch on her circular saw is broken. She plugs in the saw to turn it on. That is a serious safety issue, in my opinion.

I amend my recommendation to add:
-> Fix the trigger on her saw, or buy a circular saw that works safely.
 

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Please see my post above, where I recommend that @Alexia Johannes would be better served using a circular saw with guides to match her immediate needs. I note that a guided circular saw is less fussy about the flatness of boards, and doesn't care at all if the edge is straight.

If Alexia is still planning to buy a table saw, then:

* Alexia should know that table saws are designed to cut boards that have a flat face and a straight edge.

* If the board does not have a straight edge, then Alexia can still cut it on the saw using a "jointer sled" like the one that @BigJim showed, above. Cutting it with the jointer sled will give her board a straight edge. She can flip the board over and put that new edge against the rip fence to give the other side a parallel straight edge, too.

* If the board does not have a flat face, that's a bigger problem. Alexia can flip it over to see if the other face is flat, but if it isn't, the she must flatten it, otherwise she risks a dangerous kickback.

* To flatten a face, Alexia will need extra tools:
+ She could use a jointer to flatten the face, if the board fits. Most consumer jointers are 6 inches, but a few are 4 inches, and expensive ones are 8 inches.
+ She could also use a planer, but she will need to build a planer sled. Typical planers are 12 inches wide.
+ She could use hand planes like they did in the 1800s. That requires a lot of skill, which comes from a lot of practice. She would also have to know how to maintain the planes and sharpen the blades, another "high skill." I do not think this is practical.
+ Alternative: She could turn the non-flat boards into firewood and use only the flat ones.

* If Alexia gets a table saw, she would want to buy or make proper safety aids - good push blocks (not push sticks) and featherboards.

As I said previously, I still think that a repaired or new circular saw with different guides for rip cuts and crosscuts is the best solution for Alexia's immediate needs.

Having said that, you gotta' start somewhere. A table saw is how most woodworkers get their start, and it is the hub of a lifetime full of fun and creativity, making wonderful things from wood that started out as real trees from Nature. Just learn all the safety rules until they are ingrained, and always think about where your hands will be before, during, and after the cut. Good luck and be safe!
 

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Yeah, three posts in a row in one thread. Sorry.

This thread is mostly about kickback, so I want to mention that the current issue of Woodsmith Magazine has a four-page article titled, "Avoiding Kickback." They describe six different ways that kickback can occur on a table saw, and solutions for each.

Woodsmith Magazine, Vol. 42 / No. 250, Aug/Sept 2020, pp. 62-65.
 

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I thought that I covered kickback above ...?

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth a thousand mega bites! This is the best demonstration of kickback on You Tube I have ever seen:

 
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the most common things can mess you up for life.
a toothpick can and has been fatal many times, yet restaurants still give millions away every day.
you think nothing of putting the family in a vehicle and zooming down the road, yet millions have died.
get a life, don't be afraid of living one
 

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Agreed!

the most common things can mess you up for life.
a toothpick can and has been fatal many times, yet restaurants still give millions away every day.
you think nothing of putting the family in a vehicle and zooming down the road, yet millions have died.
get a life, don't be afraid of living one

But always benefit from the wisdom of others when you can .....:vs_cool:
 

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Re:

-> @Alexia Johannes would be better served using a circular saw with guides.

I made that statement before I learned that the trigger switch on her circular saw is broken. She plugs in the saw to turn it on. That is a serious safety issue, in my opinion.

Me: Alexia - please do NOT use the circular saw with a broken trigger switch
 
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
The first rule of using a tablesaw:
Never place curved, warped or twisted boards on the table or against the fence. Boards must be straight and flat! Here's why.....Got it? ...JMO.
Got it, thank you! This tells me my boards require both surfacing and jointing before it would be safe to run through a table saw (or at least surfacing before trying @BigJim jig idea). Since I'm not going to purchase a jointer or a power planer, I would either need to purchase and learn how to use a trio of hand planers:
  • jack
  • jointer
  • smoother

OR build a circular saw jig, as suggested by you and @Tool Agnostic and @johnepd34

I have a few questions about the specific jig you linked:
  1. Using this exact setup on my 2x8's, I could make cross cuts and 45 degree angles, but NOT rip cuts, right?
  2. Would I need an 8ft long jig to make 8ft long rip cuts? (Or is this what @automatedingenuities was warning me against?)
  3. Would I also need additional jigs for varying board heights? For example, cross cutting a 2x4 vs thin MDF?

Link to previous suggestion:

Thanks to everyone who warned me about the circular saw. I will refrain from use until the power switch is fixed. @kiwi_outdoors @GeorgeC And finally, thank you for the encouragement @_Ogre
 

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Everyone has got to start somewhere. We will do our best to help keep you safe.
The safer you are, the more you will enjoy your future projects with all ten fingers.
Above all, have fun doing it.
 

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This link was very helpful and straight to the point. He demonstrates the "what-not-to-do" well. Now I need to learn the "what-TO-do". Thank you for sharing.
One of the things that is very definitely a to do will go against the preference of most who post here.don't use a stationary machine that doesn't have a crown guard and a riving knife.One will stop you getting a faceful of sawdust every time you cut something and the other will drastically reduce the likelihood of kickback.I now expect an avalanche of -yes,but......


Fact is if your machine won't do the job with these items in place you either went too small on the saw or you are inviting an accident.Please don't bleat about needing to see what the saw is cutting,it will cut whether you can see it or not.


One other thing about using a circular saw with an inoperative switch-get it fixed or take it out of commission.I have read too many accounts of people who wished they had not made a mistake that led to serious bloodshed to be convinced that tales of "my father and uncles have been doing it this way since the fifties".... are actually relevant.In those days we drove cars with no seatbelts and used asbestos for all sorts of things and now we know better.
 

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Against the "grain" ...?

One of the things that is very definitely a to do will go against the preference of most who post here. Don't use a stationary machine that doesn't have a crown guard and a riving knife.One will stop you getting a faceful of sawdust every time you cut something and the other will drastically reduce the likelihood of kickback.I now expect an avalanche of -yes,but......


Fact is if your machine won't do the job with these items in place you either went too small on the saw or you are inviting an accident.Please don't bleat about needing to see what the saw is cutting,it will cut whether you can see it or not.


One other thing about using a circular saw with an inoperative switch-get it fixed or take it out of commission.I have read too many accounts of people who wished they had not made a mistake that led to serious bloodshed to be convinced that tales of "my father and uncles have been doing it this way since the fifties".... are actually relevant.In those days we drove cars with no seatbelts and used asbestos for all sorts of things and now we know better.

I added bold to the text above:
Don't use a stationary machine that doesn't have a crown guard

This is my tablesaw(s) with a DIY blade cover that will stay at any angle I choose and keep the sawdust out of my face and my fingers away from the blade. Painted Orange for safety. Made of 1/4" plywood with washers for spacers on the splitter. A Nylok nut creates the exact amount of friction I need. It's mounted to the splitter that's "permanently" in place, a Craftsman blade guard that's been "modified" by drilling out the rivets and removing the cumbersome clear plastic guard and anti-kickback pawls. Years of experimentation has resulted in this configuration and while it may not satisfy all the "safety police" it's what I use on my saw, in my shop and my fingers.




Old school framing carpenters used to wedge the guard of their circular saw in the "open" or blade exposed position, and may still do so today, I donno? This meant having to stick the saw in a scrap of wood to stop the spinning blade before you could set it down or on the decking in some cases. It also meant it would cut into your leg if you weren't totally focused on what you were doing .....:vs_OMG: :surprise2:
Speed was of the essence and safety was and acquired skill. Blood was the red/brown stain found on some work sites. I may have done this once or twice, but it was for specific operations where the blade wouldn't allow the cut. For those brief occasions, I treated the saw like it was a loaded gun and was very careful where it was directed.

Don't do this in your shop, to your saw, and with your fingers!

:vs_cool:
 
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Back to circular saws and guides:

I don't own a fancy jig. When I want to guide the circular saw, I find a board with a straight edge that is long enough for the cut and get out a couple clamps.

Hints:

* I use a single edge guide, but not everyone agrees. I hold the saw against the board and keep it there as I make the cut. It works for me. If you don't keep the saw against the guide, you won't get a straight cut. So far, I have not had a problem, and I have been doing it that way for a long time.
-> Others prefer a guide where the circular saw is confined between two guides (like the crosscut jig in the video) or with some kind of "hook" that fits in a track or over a guide rail to keep the saw from drifting away from the guide during the cut.

* Yes, you need a guide that is as long as the cut. I would not recommend trying a partial cut and then moving the guide. Getting it to line up might not be so easy.

* The factory edge on plywood is usually straight.

* The blade has thickness (kerf). When you are setting the guide, keep in mind which side of the blade is the "waste" side on your workpiece.

* You need a way to support the workpiece before, during, and after the cut. You don't want the protruding blade to damage anything. You don't want the workpiece to move during the cut, and you must prevent the weight of the workpiece parts from pinching the blade as you make the cut. Many people use a thick piece of foam to support the workpiece. The blade cuts into the foam slightly, no harm done.
(I still use 4x4 posts laid on their sides, with the gaps strategically placed and the workpiece well supported, but that solution is far from ideal.)

* Your circular saw base has a wide side and a narrow side. Which side to place the guide depends on the cut and how the workpiece is supported. Use common sense, but in general, I prefer to place the guide on the wide side of the circular saw base to maximize support for the saw, and especially if the cut off end is poorly supported or unsupported (not recommended, but I sometimes do that for small crosscut trim-offs).

FYI: Circular saws come in left and right blade types.
 

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I had an angle grinder with a switch I could not move. I was told it was faulty.
I wanted some control so thought about a foot switch to turn on power. I bought one but my son said very dangerous and he took the angle grinder. Not heard any more. The grinder had paid for itself by cutting slabs for a patio.
johnep
 

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Old school framing carpenters used to wedge the guard of their circular saw in the "open" or blade exposed position, and may still do so today, I donno? This meant having to stick the saw in a scrap of wood to stop the spinning blade before you could set it down or on the decking in some cases. It also meant it would cut into your leg if you weren't totally focused on what you were doing .....:vs_OMG: :surprise2:
Speed was of the essence and safety was and acquired skill. Blood was the red/brown stain found on some work sites. I may have done this once or twice, but it was for specific operations where the blade wouldn't allow the cut. For those brief occasions, I treated the saw like it was a loaded gun and was very careful where it was directed.

Don't do this in your shop, to your saw, and with your fingers!

:vs_cool:
I am guilty of using a circular saw with the guard wedged many many times. Cutting rafters or especially trying to miter a skirt board to fit the risers was very very frustrating with the guard in place. IMHO it was safer to wedge the guard when cutting the skirt than to have to hold the guard open with one hand and cutting into a board that was not held in place.

I always just laid the saw on it's back when through cutting. Have I seen people get cut because they wedged the guard or the guard stuck open, yes I have, and the times I saw them get cut it was really bad. You don't just get barely cut with a circular saw when it cuts it is always bad. A circular saw does not cut, it just slings flesh everywhere.

If you are a hobby wood worker, by all means never ever wedge the blade. It is not a matter of if you will get cut, but when.
 
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