Frustrated just cutting a straight line


Ben@FineWoodworking
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Some of you may remember my post about building bookcases for our dining room.

Man, am I glad we haven't taken the plunge and bought the lumber for that project.

The other day my wife mentioned some shelves for our bedroom closet. Well... found mold and a week later all new insulation and drywall and I am ready to build the shelves.

The BORG had a killer deal on 3/4 birch ply so I got two sheets and set about ripping them.

-Sorry... a little back story.-

While in the planning phase for the dining room epic bookcases I made some jigs. A dado jig for my router and a zero clearance straight edge jig for my P.O.S. skill saw.

I put a decent plywood blade in the skill saw and noticed it had a hard time cutting trough the mdf. I lubed it up and it seemed to work ok... binding a little. So the skill saw is already a little suspect.

--back to today--

I set up a straight edge and went about ripping the plywood. My skill saw wouldn't track straight to save it's life. Motor kept bogging down and the cuts were awful. Ok... not the end of the world. I was going for a finish cut with the skill saw. Wanted 19" rips. Fine... I'll make them 18" and true them up on my equally horrible crapsman table saw.

I figured that since the pieces were ripped down already they would be easier to handle. Put the factory edge on the fence and buckled up.

The rip on the table saw is only incrementally better than I could do with my skill saw. I have a rip that is 18" on one end and 17" at the other.

I'm going to go ahead and just assemble this since it is going to be for the most part not very visible.

My main concern is this. I have been planning on getting a decent table saw the next time a good chunk of change comes in from the day gig. Now I am rethinking that.

I am fairly new to woodworking but I can already tell that the majority of my work will be plywood based and I am thinking that instead of spending $600-750 on an "ok" table saw my money would be best spent on a GREAT tracksaw.

Any thoughts? If you didn't have a decent TS could you see yourself getting by doing most of your work with a TS-55?

The concept of pushing the ten pound tool over the 80 pound piece of wood makes a lot more sense to me.

Am I wrong in this thinking?

Thanks,

Ben

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I once asked Marc for advice on a topic similar to this. I shall pass along advice I learned from him, and my avoidance of his sane advice. (okay, so I didn't avoid it so much as couldn't find appropriate sources.)

The cheapest route to go is to get a straight 2x4, clamp it to your plywood, and cut with a circular saw down the length of the cut. you can also use longer levels, metalic framing supports, store-bought straight edges, frame/guides available at many stores (including BORG, Slowes, Rockler, and Woodcraft), or make your own.

As all the 2x4s at my local BigBoxRipOff store were construction grade (meaning bent), I opted to purchase a 98" cutting guide from them. It comes in three pieces, two 50" lengths and a center joint piece, and some small C clamps (maybe 1 1/2"?) Line up the cut, remembering to add for the base of your circular saw, and then go through your safety checks. (concrete? check. Open toed shoes? check. Nobody nearby to call an ambulance? check. No witnesses? check. Landlord out of town so they can't accuse you of negligence or willful destruction of property? che...hello, no, I'm not up to anything.)

Alternatively, you can purchase one of the Clamp'n sets from Bora (?), that come in many lengths.

After my ripping and cross cutting were finished (and I do hope everybody realizes I'm joking about my checklist, I do have *some* sense...), I found a link to a home-made jig from somebody (don't remember who but I copied their photo) for a half-lap jig. It's designed for a router on one side, and a circular saw on the other, but you can set it up for pretty much any tool, or combination of tools. The other benefit to this is that you don't have to use it for just half-lap construction, as it's basically a straight edge cutting guide.

The other side of this question is related to tool performance. As for that, I'm horrible at maintaining or setting up the tools correctly. I'd start with the videos Marc has set up on the table saw maintenance, and try to apply it to the circular saw (as far as blade alignment goes). I have used a craftsman table saw, and stock fence, and noticed the fence does not stay true during the cut, so I'd suggest an alternative fence, be it the afore-mentioned straight 2x4, or professional aftermarket variety. (then again, getting a $10 sheet of foamboard and cutting plywood on the back deck is so much easier on the back...)

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No doubt the TS-55 is a nice saw. A friend of mine doesn't have a table saw, but has a TS-55. He makes everything from huge picture frames to end tables with sculpted legs (read: 8/4 cherry stock). He rarely uses plywood. For him the TS-55 is definitely enough though a nice table saw would make some of the operations a bit faster.

The clamping rails you can buy with after-market sleds for your circular saw do look like they work well. I think ProtectedVoid ordered one after a thread on this forum; maybe he'll chime in.

Another consideration is that the TS-55 has a 30 day money back guarantee and honestly if you keep it, you could resell it on eBay for 10% off new in a couple years; that's typical.

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Take what I'm saying kindly as from someone who winces when people blame their tools.

No saw can be asked to cut straight if the blade isn't sharp. I read about you cutting a short piece and it was out by 1 inch from end to end. I can only assume your measurements were off or....the blade is so bad it's pulling the saw (and your straightedge) out of alignment. (also...wouldn't be the first time I've seen a blade put in backwards).

I read about your (quote) horrible crapsman table saw (unquote).

Friend, I'm not sure I would "dis" my tools quite so quickly. Most of us in the forums can remember watching older woodworkers in bib overalls back when we were barely in our teens, and they cut the most exquisite lines on a tablesaw that rattled and shook. The secret often was that he knew his saw, made sure the blade was sharp and true, and worked with the Idiosynracies of his equipment. If a person is unable to cut straight, no fancy tracksaw is going to save him from errors.

Sure, I too have my favorite circular saw that has served me faithfully on many jobsites as I built houses, etc. That said, there are still times when I'm helping a neighbor and he hands me his red or orange plastic "consumer" saw he bought on special. I check the blade and make a cut and you know what?....9 times out of 10 it's where it should be.

Until recently I had an 8" Makita benchtop table saw. You know....the one with plastic body under a stamped aluminum top. I ran it with 7-1/4" thin kerf, circular saw blades. It endured many house builds, dumped in the back of the pickup, and travelled with me to the jobsite in -40 temps and then brought into a warm house. Long ago someone dropped it and the switch was hanging out so I rigged it so it would turn on when you plugged it in. The fence was out of alignment if you let it ride naturally ssoooo...I always measured the fence from the front and the back of the blade, giving it a tap here, a tap there to get it even. Mostly it squatted on the ground with one of my toolboxes behind it acting like a brake, waiting patiently for me to lay the next sheet of 3/4 fir plywood on it....or cutting through 2x6's that I needed cut down to 2x3's. I sold that faithful saw to someone starting out in woodworking for $25.00, blade included. They were thrilled...and I was a little bit sad to see it go off down the road.

A decent circular saw with a decent blade running alongside a steel stud used as a straight edge will cut true providing there isn't some other force at work.

Sure, a Festool track saw is nice....but necessary? Not really.

So thanks for reading my tale. Just trying to add some perspective here before you run out, spend a wad of cash, and think there won't be any errors in the future 'cause you're running a $600 tool.

B)

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Saddlestrum... you're right.

I to HATE it when people blame their tools. In my day job I hear it all the time and it drives me nuts. A buddy and I were just talking about it a couple of hours ago... and it hit me. That's what I am doing in my woodworking.

Although...

My table saw is really, really difficult to work with. Dangerous too. The actual fence only goes to 12 inches. Past that you need to extend the wings and push them "up" kinda. There is maybe an inch worth of lip to grab on to.

I actually find that this saw breeds bad habits. Many times the only way of getting the cut you need is actually very dangerous. I have caught myself multiple times about to do something that will easily lead to kickback or worse. The miter gauge is absolutely useless. By the time that you have enough of it in the slot to true itself up you are 2 inches from the blade. There is no way to cut anything accurately with it. There is a very big difference between the saw that I have and the cheap Ryobi that my boss uses when I help him out building. His bottom of the line Ryobi looks like a gem compared to my Craftsman.

So yes... my tablesaw is crap and just shy of unusable. I am not one to blame tools before I blame my skill. That would be hard to see in my above post... I'll agree.

I would probably kill for your old Makita.

My skill saw... it's old. Under powered and even with a sharp blade has a hard time getting though the 3/4 ply.

What I was really getting at is this.

At some point I am going to upgrade one or the other. Right now I am leaning towards going the tracksaw route... because I feel like I would use it more than a decent tablesaw.

I was wondering if I am missing something considering that a track saw can do 90% of what a table saw can do.

Here is a pic of my tablesaw to give you a better idea. I can guarantee you it does need a new blade. Not much wear on it but it is the stock blade... and the whole saw was $125.

post-1863-0-96448400-1289361413_thumb.jp

Here is the 48" jig I made for the skill saw... I can get straight cuts with it. Still the saw bogging down leaves me with a lot of burns.

post-1863-0-42967800-1289361699_thumb.jp

I need to make the same thing in a 96" version for the rips I'm doing. The straight edge I got at BORG today didn't work for me. Not enough mass when I am pushing the saw against it.

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How do you guys do it?

Oh I just lift on one side (with your legs not your back!) until it's upright. Very easy :)

The track saw setup you have is a good start. If there is truly a problem with your circular saw, then replace it. Actually you said it burns a lot and wanders. Put it on your track (it has a zero-clearance edge, right?) Plunge the blade (SAW IS OFF!) and see how the blade lines up with the cut edge. It should be parallel or very very slightly toed out on the backside. If your base plate edge that's on the track fence is not parallel to the blade, you'll get the problems you described. Go check. We'll wait.

I started out with a demo Craftsman tablesaw my dad owned. Cutwise it was okay; I had a new blade in it as the previous one was toast from flooring. The fence though was very difficult to calibrate and lock down (turns out the 'demo' model had a fence for a different model :-/) When I used it, I'd use a quick-clamp on the far side of the fence. Royal pain, but you could get it to work.

Now I have a nice tablesaw and a TS-75 so "how I do it" isn't going to be like you will when you pick up something. I've demoed a bench setup with the TS-75 a dozen times when I used to stream that could effectively replace a tablesaw nicely. As convenient? Not for all the cuts, no. Can you do about everything? Mostly yes. Maybe I'll record that demo and post it. You don't need an MFT; I used to do it on a home-made bench with great accuracy. Oh, the techniques, while demoed with a TS-75, are equally applicable to a guided saw like you have setup (though one or two things you'd have to adapt... I'll think before recording :)

A tablesaw and sheet goods sucks. If I only had a tablesaw, sure, it works. Having both lets me breakdown the sheet goods then finish up with manageable pieces on the tablesaw. Usually I have final pieces from the TS-75, though.

So that's how I do it. Your tracksaw, though, once fixed will do a lot. If that track isn't zero-clearance, it needs to be for cut quality and lining it up. If the saw is indeed jacked... new ones aren't that expensive. My Amex still isn't talking to me since the TS-75 purchase ('alright, I go out with Visa now ;))

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I started out with a demo Craftsman tablesaw my dad owned. Cutwise it was okay; I had a new blade in it as the previous one was toast from flooring. The fence though was very difficult to calibrate and lock down (turns out the 'demo' model had a fence for a different model :-/) When I used it, I'd use a quick-clamp on the far side of the fence. Royal pain, but you could get it to work.

The table saw I use most often today is a Craftsman. It has the same issues you describe, but it's the stock fence. It's not mine, and every time I bring up getting a different one (be it another benchtop/contractor or a full size) I get the "why not use what's already down there, save yourself some money" speech. (I keep trying to reply that I want something with a little more features, durability, reliability, flesh detecting technology, and something I purchased, but it hasn't been able to budge the argument yet. Since I don't own the house, I'm not pushing too hard.) And since the cuts that come off the saw are not off all that often, I'm putting the money to better use getting other tools and more stock. (that's the theory, anyway.)

A tablesaw and sheet goods sucks. If I only had a tablesaw, sure, it works. Having both lets me breakdown the sheet goods then finish up with manageable pieces on the tablesaw. Usually I have final pieces from the TS-75, though.

I can't remember the last time I used a table saw for something other than holding sheets of sandpaper to rip into the right size. Most of my cutting is done with either an 8" hand saw (Yellow Stanley number 81 milligram) or a Craftsman circular saw. Admittedly, I haven't done a lot of rip cuts, but the rip cuts I have done have been on sheet goods, where the straight edge "track" works well for me. I don't mind cleaning the edge up (compared to other things) that much, and getting a replacement blade was such a great idea for what I was trying to do. Now, I just need to get some of the better blades down to my price range, and figure out how to run a dado stack on the circular saw...

(Good thing I have the router, right?)

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I absolutely agree that one shouldn't blame the tools. Part of this is knowing to use the right tool for the job. A small bench-top TS may not be the right job for ripping a large piece, such as full length parts of plywood. Even with my larger contractor saw, when I have to work with sheet goods, I always have the box store make the first or second cut for me to make the piece more manageable. (I will always true-up what they cut)

Part of using the right tool for the job is also making sure the tool is in working order. Keeping a sharp blade on the tool is paramount. Also making sure everything is in alignment is critical as well, which it sounds like your skil-saw may not be. I used a craftsman circular saw to pull up some old flooring in a kitchen that was getting new tile. In the course of the day the tool got dropped/banged/kicked/who knows what, as several people were using it. The next time I used it, I started getting the same isue as you described, even with a fresh blade. The issue was the blade was no longer true to the edge. Thankfully the saw was still under warranty and Sears replaced it no questions asked.

Last, I think you are also starting to see what many of us have also learned the hardway. You will spend more on cheap tools in the long run then you will buying quality tools from the start.

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I have that same saw, without the wings. While I am on board with those who advise in favor of working on skills rather than blaming tools, I'll say that my experience with that TS is that it has so many deficiencies as to warrant an upgrade of some sort. The two main problems I had with it are the amount of slop in the tilt adjustment (I could never get it quite right) and the horrible "miter slots", which have a pair of nubs (what else can you call them?) that hang during use, rather than a groove that runs the length like a normal miter slot. I spent a lot of time thinking of how to improve that saw when I stumbled across a deal on a decent replacement (Ridgid R5411). I've now given up on trying to redeem that old "saw".

IMO, a decent circular saw offers a nice benefit for very little cost. I would personally start there, because even if you end up with a track saw, I can still see times where it would come in handy. With a good guide (there are lots of options), a decent circular saw, and good technique getting straight cuts should not be a problem.

As for guides, I have a few that work fairly well. The single piece units are fine simply clamped to the piece, but the 100" one (two pieces plus a piece to join them together) flexes at the joint. If I'm not careful, the middle of the cut will be off by as much as 1/8". It needs to be mounted it to a piece of hardboard to hold truly straight, I think. Also, if you use a stick to align the ends of the guide (rather than a tape measure), your cuts will be more even, in my experience. Also, a drywall square is a great help in getting the cuts perpendicular (and it works great for cutting drywall, too!)

Good luck!

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...just wanted to repeat something that some might have missed in my earlier post.

For a cheap straight-edge for cutting, I've used a long steel stud. Make sure you buy the heavier of the gauges available so it doesn't flex. It's easy to clamp to the sheet and is a minimal investment. When not used it just stands in the corner.....like I used to do in school. Hey!..what a min.. :blink:

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Ok... sooooo... here are my findings.

The blade is not true to the plate. But not enough that I would blame it totally on that. I looked... there is no good way of aligning that.

Two other findings though.

The blade was not 90 degrees with the fence either. I wouldn't think this would cause tracking problems but it would just cause a slightly beveled cut. The 90 degree stop was way off. Good to know.

The last thing I found was what I would consider a ridiculous mount of play in the arbor. This is the only saw I have ever owned so I am going to go to Home Depot and compare with other saws. There was about 3/16" wiggle. The blade was tight on the arbor... the whole thing just wiggled.

That I can see being the main factor in my saw binding so much.

Thoughts?

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The blade is not true to the plate. But not enough that I would blame it totally on that. I looked... there is no good way of aligning that.

It doesn't take much too cause the saw to bind. The saw will want to travel the direction the blade is pointing. Even off by a small degree will have the tendancy to push the saw against your guide causing it to bind. The plate is usually rivited to the saw body, so loosening screws and realigning may not be an option.

The blade was not 90 degrees with the fence either. I wouldn't think this would cause tracking problems but it would just cause a slightly beveled cut. The 90 degree stop was way off. Good to know.

Most saws this can be adjusted.

The last thing I found was what I would consider a ridiculous mount of play in the arbor. This is the only saw I have ever owned so I am going to go to Home Depot and compare with other saws. There was about 3/16" wiggle. The blade was tight on the arbor... the whole thing just wiggled.

Frankly, that sounds like a defective saw to me. (Probably a bad bearing) Even for a cheap saw that is considerable wiggle. That is over an 1/8" of play! The arbor shouldn't have any movement at all, except of course the rotation.

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For a cheap straight-edge for cutting, I've used a long steel stud. Make sure you buy the heavier of the gauges available so it doesn't flex.

I loved this idea... went to three suppliers and couldn't find any that seemed suitable. Back in the day I remember the ones you were talking about. Couldn't find one that didn't have a "bulge" in the middle (have at it guys... tehe).

I think I'm gonna wind up getting a new Porter Cable circ saw. They can be had for under $100 and I'll take my time doing up a high quality edge guide for it.

Although... looked at a Makita that was pretty great too.

I'm thinking a piece of 1/4" MDF and an 8' piece of angle iron will probably do the trick nicely. Hopefully my 48" edge guide will still work... but no big deal if it doesn't.

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As much as I love my TS-55, I got along without it for most of my professional life using just a Makita 7-1/4 and a factory edge off a piece of plywood. I've never had the room for a big table saw with side and outfeed tables so I've always busted down sheets of ply outdoors on a couple of sawhorses with the Makita, a good 40-tooth blade and that factory edge.

I've gotten too old for the heat and cold and don't wield a Skilsaw (that's how it's spelled) for a living anymore, so I've moved inside for most of my woodworking. Inside, dust makes a difference and I really appreciate the difference the TS-55 makes. Aside from the dust collection and (most of the time) not needing to clamp down the guide rails, I can't really say there's much difference in the old and the new. Both give really straight cuts with good-quality edges. The Festool guide rails sit right on the cut line, I used short pieces of Masonite ripped against the against the straightedge to align the Makita to my marks. Either way, you've still got to accurately mark your cutline. The TS-55 won't wander off if I'm not paying attention, with the Makita I have to make sure I keep the saw against the straightedge. The Makita will cost you around $125, the TS-55 with a couple of 55" guide rails, connectors and clamps around $800. And if you want the added benefit of dust collection, add in another $400-500 for a vacuum.

It's just a case of paying your money and taking your choice. Either way you'll get equivalent results, the Festool system has its benefits but you're the only one who can decide if those benefits are worth the cost.

BTW, table saws have their own uses and, while they may not(or may) be the best way to bust plywood, they do lots of things that a TS-55 can't. The TS-55, IMO is definitely NOT a substitute for a table saw. Try cutting a dado, groove or tenon on a TS-55.......

HTH,

Bill

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Try cutting a dado, groove or tenon on a TS-55.......

Very true. But I can't do dados with my table saw anyways and have gotten pretty used to doing them with my router.

That's kinda what got me thinking about wandering away from the table saw. I think I could do most everything I would do on a table saw with a TS-55 (or circ saw) and a router.

Haven't figured out how I would do tenons. But I have never done one anyways... so... hmmm... I really need to build something with tenons.

Ok... great food for thought there.

Thanks

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Haven't figured out how I would do tenons. But I have never done one anyways... so... hmmm... I really need to build something with tenons.

If it helps, you can think of tenons as a version of rabbets, with longer edges. You can set up your router just like a dado, just not as deep. I'd suggest starting at the end of the tenon first, otherwise you end up with a tapered tail. (voice of experience.)

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Ben

It's funny you should bring this topic up as I recently had issues with my circ saw resulting in money flowing from my pocket. Up until recently I have been using a task force circ saw with 10 dollar blade and a homemade straightedge. I thought this setup worked well enough but more often then not the final cut would be crappy and usually not even. You see the saw didn't have enough power even with a fresh blade to cut 3/4" ply with ease and often times would bind. Finally I had enough(after ruining a sheet of ply) and went out and bought the Milwaukee saw available at Home Depot. Additionally i bought a nice diablo 60T blade and the woodcraft clamping edge guides. Woodcraft sells these plates with a lip that you can mount anything to so that they run in the track of their edge guides. Let me tell you what the difference was seriously night and day. I don't have to worry about the cutbeing off by any means as the saw is mounted to the plate which rides in it's track. Best investment yet. I also own the bosch 4100 tablesaw and loath cutting down ply on it. Dangerous would be an understatment. Dang good saw though

Here are some links

here is the 56" edge guide. I bought two and then the clamps, and center connector and can cut down a full 8' sheet

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2080310/28348/56-WoodRiver-Guide-Rail.aspx?ss=f86c1323-913b-4db1-8836-cb06d714aa00

I also bought two of these. One for my router and one for the circ saw(a plus is that plunging the circ saw into the blank plate creates a zero clearence insert!!! can you saw no tearout.

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2080310/24552/WoodRiver-Clamp-Guide-Universal-Base-for-Routers-and-Circular-Saws.aspx

after the great success with the longer edge guide i bought the 50" clamping edge guide for crosscuts and love it

http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2021082/24548/WoodRiver-Clamp-Guide-50-inch.aspx?ss=703ae94e-2fb9-458a-b041-a4287d5eb5c1

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good tools make you a better woodworker is kind of like saying a nice typewriter will make you a better writer.... ;)

But seriously, if your saw is that far out of alignment then you need to invest in a better quality saw. However, the TS-55, while gorgeous, is a bit pricey for what it brings. A sub $100 saw with a good blade and the stock cut long side of a 1/2 piece of plywood with a 1/4 piece of hardboard underneath will give you clean reliable cuts for a long time. Make sure the hardboard is a little wider than your base plate and trim it off ast the first cut. Then you will know every time where it will cut.

In the end, just take your time and be safe. You can always buy more lumber.... fingers and eyes, not so much.

As for tools, I just invested in a new Incra TS fence for my 20 y/o Delta 32-670, as well as some alignment tools to ensure precision of the blade to the mitre track and fence. I was constantly struggling with a stock fence that was never square to the cut which required me to square it up on both ends before each cut. Ugh. Should have it up and running on Saturday.

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Saddlestrum... you're right.

I to HATE it when people blame their tools. In my day job I hear it all the time and it drives me nuts. A buddy and I were just talking about it a couple of hours ago... and it hit me. That's what I am doing in my woodworking.

Although...

My table saw is really, really difficult to work with. Dangerous too. The actual fence only goes to 12 inches. Past that you need to extend the wings and push them "up" kinda. There is maybe an inch worth of lip to grab on to.

I actually find that this saw breeds bad habits. Many times the only way of getting the cut you need is actually very dangerous. I have caught myself multiple times about to do something that will easily lead to kickback or worse. The miter gauge is absolutely useless. By the time that you have enough of it in the slot to true itself up you are 2 inches from the blade. There is no way to cut anything accurately with it. There is a very big difference between the saw that I have and the cheap Ryobi that my boss uses when I help him out building. His bottom of the line Ryobi looks like a gem compared to my Craftsman.

So yes... my tablesaw is crap and just shy of unusable. I am not one to blame tools before I blame my skill. That would be hard to see in my above post... I'll agree.

I would probably kill for your old Makita.

My skill saw... it's old. Under powered and even with a sharp blade has a hard time getting though the 3/4 ply.

What I was really getting at is this.

At some point I am going to upgrade one or the other. Right now I am leaning towards going the tracksaw route... because I feel like I would use it more than a decent tablesaw.

I was wondering if I am missing something considering that a track saw can do 90% of what a table saw can do.

Here is a pic of my tablesaw to give you a better idea. I can guarantee you it does need a new blade. Not much wear on it but it is the stock blade... and the whole saw was $125.

post-1863-0-96448400-1289361413_thumb.jp

Here is the 48" jig I made for the skill saw... I can get straight cuts with it. Still the saw bogging down leaves me with a lot of burns.

post-1863-0-42967800-1289361699_thumb.jp

I need to make the same thing in a 96" version for the rips I'm doing. The straight edge I got at BORG today didn't work for me. Not enough mass when I am pushing the saw against it.

Don't take this the wrong way but that sounds a little contradictory doesnt it. I mean first you say that you hate it when people blame there tools, but you start talking trash about your own... I use to have a craftsman table saw kind of like the one you have/had with the extended wings on the side where you can push them in or out.. I had it for about 7-8 years. It wasnt the best on the market but it served its perpose. It took me a little while to get use to it but the more I worked with it the more I liked it.. It had its quarks. The table saw That I have now has its quarks. Like for example I have to check the fence to the out side of the table saw to make sure its lined up correctly. And its only about 5 months old if that.. And another thing Do or did you operate the saw with the safty gourd on (the plastic saw cover). I think we can all agree those things can be a little dangerous..

It has kick back teeth on it that can cause a lot of trouble.

I think that you just had/have to get use to it. :):)

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Don't take this the wrong way but that sounds a little contradictory doesnt it. I mean first you say that you hate it when people blame there tools, but you start talking trash about your own...

Oh, I think I am very open about how contradictory and even hypocritical I am being.

What I really meant was this. I am a recording engineer by trade. There are websites and magazines filled with people blaming gear. I hate that. I really do. I realized I was doing it with my woodworking.

But the difference is this. I am better at mixing a record than those people who blame their gear. I know exactly how to do whatever it is I am trying to make the song do. It is old hat... rarely is it challenging. I am at the point where I don't need much gear. I am at the point where I know what gear I need and what gear is useless.

I CURRENTLY SUCK AT WOODWORKING!!! I am man enough to say it. I'm gonna learn. Every project I do gets better than the last one. So yes. I am going to blame my tools from time to time. Sometimes they might deserve it (those little bastards), most of the time the blame should be put on me. I totally realize that my table saw could probably work wonders in the hands of many of the people on this forum.

I really started this thread with this originally poorly worded thought on my mind... If I work mostly in sheet goods am I better off buying a nice track saw than upgrading my table saw?

There have been many opinions which I greatly appreciated. Collectively I think we even figured out what is wrong with my circ saw.

Does admitting that my table saw is probably not the only week point in my workflow make it better than a track saw at cutting down sheet goods? Nope.

Does it make my table saw have a usable miter gauge. Nope.

Does it even make it so my table saw would accept an aftermarket miter gauge. Nope.

Does it make me want to eventually want to upgrade my table saw. Nope

Does it mean that I should try harder and figure out ways of doing things that my table saw is not good at or capable of doing until I can upgrade. YES!!!

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