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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
I have a table saw from Harbor Freight and I was wondering if anyone here owns the same saw, could tell me if any modifications can be done to it. First thing I noticed is that the fence is total crap and the riving knife is not aligned to the blade by maybe 1/16". I tried fixing it but it's no use. I'm thinking of adding 3/4" plywood to each side of the fence. The other problem I see is the blade insert which is pretty much crap also. My main purpose is to cut small pieces of wood for small projects since space is very limited in my garage. I'm not a pro, just a beginner so I'm still learning. I want the cuts as accurate and square as possible. Anyway, I attached a picture so you can see what saw I'm talking about.
 

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Not a saw I would put any money into upgrading as it's pretty much a portable jobsite saw. You can put wood faces on the fence (try melamine if you must), and you should be able to bend (by hand) the riving knife to be in line with the blade.
You can get a good hybrid saw that will have the same footprint as that one (with it's stand) and will be much better off.
 

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It sounds harsh, but I'd add a for sale sign to it, and leave it at that. Seriously....get what you can and cut your losses. Saws like these have such poor design and construction that's there's not much that can be done to help them. In it's place, see if you can pick up a full size cast iron saw with a belt drive induction motor. Craigslist in our area has offerings on a regular basis that would be an upgrade for your HF saw.....$30-$100. If you were to list your geographic location, someone here might be able to offer or find a deal for you.

Some reading to help with your replacement saw....
 

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where's my table saw?
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depending if it's not that old

They may take it back. I bought a sliding miter saw, and hated it and back it went, no questions asked.

Cheap saws, with sloppy fits and with low tolerances can be dangerous. Things get tweaked, jam and then you are tempted to use more force, not good with spinning blades. I'll bet it's noisy also.

A smooth running saw with a easy sliding fence will make a world of difference. See if you can find a used cast iron tablesaw, Craftsman, rigid, Delta, Rockwell, IF you are going to do more than hobby stuff.

A bandsaw is very useful for smaller projects,also with a cast iron frame and table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the reply. However, looking at good quality saws, well it'$ not in my budget for a long time, unless I win the lotto. I'll just work with it the best I can. As I said, it's for jobs other tools can't do. Small easy cuts. I'll add ply to the fence and will have to work without the riving knife.
 

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I understand fixed income plenty. The fence can be overcome but in the interests of safety you find a way to either improve the splitter on the saw or adapt it. A simple 1/8 "threaded pin fitted behind the blade would suffice, this is what I use. I drilled a hoke in the inser and tapped it to thread the pin in.
 

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Not a saw I would put any money into upgrading as it's pretty much a portable jobsite saw. You can put wood faces on the fence (try melamine if you must), and you should be able to bend (by hand) the riving knife to be in line with the blade.
You can get a good hybrid saw that will have the same footprint as that one (with it's stand) and will be much better off.
He already owns the saw.l

G
 

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Look into making a zero-clearance insert, and if you can muster $50 or so invest in a Freud Diablo or similarly respected upgrade blade. The insert will keep small parts from dropping or jamming against the blade. A good upgrade blade can leave edges that are as smooth as a jointer can do.
 

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Old School
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I have a similar saw that goes to the jobsite. It's small, light, and fits well into the truck with other tools. It's not a production saw, but you can upgrade it without spending hardly any money. I made a longer fence (add on), which helps. It has a blade guard with a splitter. You can make a good ZCI. And last, put a good blade on it.






.
 

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Beside a Unisaw in my shop, I have a saw like that. A cheapo Ryobi.
A good blade is key. Getting slop out of the miter gauge bar to slot, is also important.
The saws a screamer, but it cuts wood.
At my fil's he has a Craftsman contractor saw, and a cheapo Craftsman direct drive saw, similar to yours.
I had to rip some 2x4's when I was there, and I preferred the cheapo over the bigger saw. The fence on the contractor saw should be against the law!
 

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I have that table saw, and it works great for me. I did do a few modifications to make it more productive. I changed the blade with a Diablo thin kerf. I made a more reliable fence, a dust collection and I rebuilt the stand it was on, by adding extensions on it. I don't have alot of money so I had to take what I have and make it work. Someday I will upgrade, but I am a weekend warrior and build projects for fun. So I really can't justify spending 1000.00 or more on a table saw. Now I can rip a 4x8 sheet by myself safely. Here is a photo of mine.


Then the upgrades

 

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Wow Stephens73 really took that saw and made it amazing - well done sir! I applaud you for turning an honestly not amazing beginner saw into a really high utility workstation center! My wife frowned when I told her I spent $60+ on a blade for a craigslist saw I got for $160, but it really is worth every penny. That thin kerf blade lets a lower power saw keep up with thicker material nicely.
 

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Thanks MattS, I have been watching New Yankee Workshop and have learned so much from these videos. That is where I got the ideas. A friend once told me, its not the car, it's the driver. A skilled craftsman can take almost any tool and create a masterpiece. It's just a matter of how fast and precise they can be with the tools they have. I still have a long list of tools that I would like to have in my collection. Someday I will get them. Here is the current project I am working on, I am building a coffee table out of mahogany with the 1/4" plywood on the ends. Gives it a variety for color.
 

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part of the learning process is buying tools. you do get what you pay for. generally, the more a tool is the longer it should last - in theory.

you've got to bite the bullet to get something decent and know that it will perform better than most anything at harbor freight. me personally, I'll never order anything moving blankets from them. I've heard nothing but disappointing reviews of their tools.

a folding contractors saw will do much better for you. get the ridgid - great fence.
 

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I think it all depends on where you're at financially, and woodworking. Unless we're born with a load of money, most of us have bought cheaper tool in the beginning because that's what we could afford and we weren't doing that much woodworking then that required better machinery.

As the years go on and the need and desire for better equipment arises, and the finances allow, we get better/higher quality tools to do more complex and refined woodwork.

It's a process.
 

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Buy a good saw with a credit card with zero balance. Transfer the balance to another card offering a zero interest deal for 12 months. Banks are begging people to do these kinds of transfers. Divide the payment by 12. Pay it off in a year or less and enjoy owning a saw that will be worth more than any car you will ever make payments on and most likely last far longer. It will cost less than a pack of cigarettes.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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Buy a good saw with a credit card with zero balance. Transfer the balance to another card offering a zero interest deal for 12 months. Banks are begging people to do these kinds of transfers. Divide the payment by 12. Pay it off in a year or less and enjoy owning a saw that will be worth more than any car you will ever make payments on and most likely last far longer. It will cost less than a pack of cigarettes.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.

What companies are offering 0 percent nowadays?
 
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