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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Even though I've owned a table saw for years, I consider myself very new to woodworking. I generally average only one or two projects a year. Part of the reason for this dearth is that my table saw scares the bejesus out of me. Going so long between projects, I don't get to spend enough time with it to build up confidence in what I'm doing.

In my day job, I build web sites. Two lessons I've learned from that gig are: 1) The "Anything that can go wrong, will" idea of Murphy's Law happens faster than you think, and 2) There's a ton of things that can go wrong that you don't even know about until they do. When I apply that same logic to thinking about the table saw, I become very hesitant to spin it up.

I'd like to get into more projects. I'm sure I would if I could move from being so concerned about my tools doing me harm to just having a healthy respect for them. I saw this link on Cool Tools about the EZ-One Powerbench a while ago. It's been on my mind ever since. (Note: the Cool Tools site appears to be down at the moment. Hopefully that's just short term.) Once I saw that, I started looking around and also found the Festool Multifunction Table. I love the basic idea behind the approach these things use. Having your hands on the tool instead of the work piece seems like it would reduce the potential number injury producing things that can go wrong. Especially for people who are new/infrequent woodworkers.

I'm pretty well convinced that I'm going to invest in one of these. Before I do, I'd love to get some thoughts on the direction I'm headed.

So:

- Is there any reason why one of these wouldn't be a good option for someone who doesn't yet have a lot of hours behind him making sawdust?

- Are there other options I should be looking at?

- Are there things I won't be able to do if I move to one of these and (eventually) sell the table saw?

- Anyone have experience (good or bad) with one or the other of these systems they'd like to share?

Thanks,

-Alan
 

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I'd recommend you find a local woodworking class (try your local community colleges and Woodcrafts stores) and take a class on power tool safety. Get comfortable using your table saw. If your wood is square and flat and you follow safety precautions, you significantly reduce the chance of a table saw accident.
 

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Alan Alan Alan. If you are having trouble feeling safe using the table saw. Don't go near a RAS. Have someone that knows check you out and give you tried and true techniques.

Build a sled for cross cutting. It really makes it safer and your work will improve. Stand and feed boards through in the same manor every time. Position your hands the same every time. I have a Uni fence so I hook one finger over the side unless I use a push stick. I've been using a table saw since 1977 and have never had a single board kick back because I use a sharp blade and the saw is tuned. The table saw is a mainstay. I could live without many things, but not my saw.

If you have a cheap crappy little table saw. Take the money you were going to spend on that contraption and buy good one. The pros can't use them so how do you expect anyone else to. If you buy the contraption let us know how it works out.

Al

Friends don't let friends use Craftsman. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sawdustfactory - I tend to be the type of person who teaches myself. Part of the reason I haven't made a lot of progress on the woodworking front is that I realize that mistakes with powertools are way different than mistakes with computer code. It's such a habit for me to just start working on something that I don't think about looking for instruction first. I found that the local Woodcraft store has some classes. (I could have sworn that I did some searching a while ago for local classes but didn't turn anything up. I'll bet I was just bad at searching that day.) They actually have a class this Saturday on "Small Shop Furniture Building". From the description, the class uses the Festool system. This will actually work out great since I can check it out. Then I can do another class they offer in a few weeks that uses a table saw. Getting some more knowledge on both will let me make a more informed decision. Thanks for reminding me that there is outside assistance that's worth looking into.

Al B Thayer - Seriously: No Radial for me. When I was in college we were storing one of my grandfather's RASs in my family garage. Even though I was invincible at that point that thing freaked me out. As for my table saw, I do have a cheap crappy one. One I got from a big box store for $300 I think. I'm sure that's part of the problem. I'll figure out more this weekend when I hit the class.
 

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Alan

The unit you are looking at is a good product and will be safe and cut well. But what a price!

Al

Friends don't let friends use Craftsman. :)
 
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