Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Table Saw

It's been a few days since I got my table saw, so I guess it's time I talk about it a little bit. Since I'm getting more into woodworking and it seems like cabinet building is going to be in my future, my mom got me a table saw for Christmas. I actually just got it recently, but no one's checking about that.

Putting together the saw took me a while, partly because there were a lot of pieces and also because the saw weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 266 pounds. It took me the better part of a day to get everything put together. Spent a LOT of time adjusting the blade and stuff so that everything would be straight and I wouldn't kill myself running wood through it.

The saw is very nice - cast iron table, belt driven, and it runs nice and smooth. To prevent myself from hurting myself too much (read: so Nadine doesn't kill me for working unsafely), I keep the guards installed whenever I can unless the cuts can't be done with the guards in place. I've seen enough pictures of table saw accidents online to know what this kind of machine can do and I've already donated my extra finger to science.

One of the things that people seem to talk about when it comes to table saws is the "nickel test", where you balance a nickel on the table and fire the saw up to see if it vibrates too much. Being that I wanted to see if this was for real, I tried it...

You're supposed to run a piece of wood through the saw, but I didn't have any wood to cut....and in case you're wondering, yes, the saw was running when I took the picture.

I decided to test the saw out with some scraps from Chibi's scratching post, and everything cut nice and square. The miter gauge was accurate and I got the rip fence aligned up all right, so it was ready to go.

The next thing I decided to start doing was building some jigs for it so I can make other stuff. The first thing I needed was a panel cutting sled. Obviously I'm not going to be trying to push a 24" x 48" piece of plywood past the blade freehand, so I built a jig. That was easy enough until I noticed it wasn't cutting square. This was a little confusing because my framing square said it was...

So, after doing a quick test of my square, I found out it wasn't! I must have dropped it or banged it on something, which meant instead of the legs being 90 degrees, it was 89.98-something...or whatever the hell it was. All I know is that it wasn't 90 degrees. After doing some research online, I was able to fix it with the king of precision tools - a hammer.

After reworking the panel cutter, I tried it again and now it cuts square. I was pretty peeved about that, so I'm just glad it's all good now.

I still have to build my sacrificial fence for the rip fence so I can cut rabbets and other skinny stuff, and I need to build the outfeed table so I can cut full sheets of plywood without them falling all over the place. I have enough wood to build a tenoning jig too, but I'm probably going to have to go and get another two sheets of plywood so I can build a cabinet and the rest of my accessories.

The saw doesn't match the rest of my tools because it's orange, but who the hell cares about that? Between my black and red Craftsman tools and my green Hitachi chop saw and brad nailer, none of my tools match anyway.

Now if Amazon would hurry up and send my router, I'd be a lot happier...