Monday, January 29, 2007

A table saw

I started out trying to mount my circular saw upside down to a piece of plywood. That has a few problems.
  • No mitre slot
  • No parallel guide - you can clamp a piece of wood in place, but that's fiddly
  • No blade guard - That's a biggy. I'm fond of each and every one of my fingers..
Either you mount the blade through the plywood, so the guard is always open, or you mount the base plate of the saw through the ply wood, but then the spring loaded guide tries to lift your work piece. No fun.

Given that you can buy a cheap circular saw for about €150 it makes little sense to try to save money this way. Sure it will have limitations, it's not a precision high end machine, but neither is your circular saw mounted through plywood.

I eventually settled on the SIP 01321 for €150 form McQullians in Dublin (no web site). The one I bought comes without a stand.

So far I have simply assembled it, but there is one or two things to be aware of.

Adjusting the blade to make it parallel to the mitre slot
The saw is held in place by 4 bolts. You loosen these, with a socket wrench, it's inaccessible for spanners, and then you move the blade, and then you tighten them. It's very hit and miss. I was expecting some manner of screws or micro adjuster. But then this is a €150 saw.

The mitre guide is a little sloppy
You can move it about 1/2 a degree either way. I see a few grub screws in it's future. Tap holes into the side of the mitre bar, place grub screws in, and adjust them to get a perfect fit for the mitre bar.

The Fence is not rigid.
The fence locks parallel to the mitre slots. This is GOOD. But a small amount of force can move the end of it up to 3/4 cm (1/3 of an inch). I imagine the simplest solution to this is to place a piece of wood perpendicular to the fence, and clamp it at the edge of the table.

The table is not flat.
If you place a straight edge across the table, there is light visible in the middle. Not a lot, but light none the less. I'm not sure how much trouble this will cause. I'll update this as I start using the saw.

The angle guide is a gross approximation
But I kind of expected that. It just means that I always need to check the actual angle of the blade, even for vertical. The stops for vertical and 45 degrees are too coarse to be useful.

Once I start cutting things, I'll post a little more about how many of these short comings are problems in real life and how many are just niggles.



Darren said...

You're starting to amass a serious collection of sharp things on motors. Should we all worry?

Rational Root said...

Hey, You're in Australia. What do you think my chances of getting a table saw on as cabin luggages are these days?