6'+ capacity table saw

Sense and Sound

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Hi everyone, I need some expert opinion.

I'm building up my business' manufacturing shop. A substantial amount of the cuts I need to make are 6', for 1/4" Luan and 3/4" Plywood. I aim to build a table for my table saw with more than 6' cutting capacity. It's a Dewalt 2 phase 3HP Unisaw. I'll build the table around the thing and extend the fence with an additional section.

However I've had some people tell me this is a bad idea because at such large sizes it gets easier to push the sheets through not quite straight. With such a powerful saw, this increases the chances of this thing hurting my worker/carpenter.

Now I've mostly not really had kick back issues when the majority of the sheet is between the fence and the saw. Mostly when cutting on the other side of the saw when the fence really only holds a smaller part of the sheet, and you're fighting the mass of the sheet on the open end. So I thought by extending the saw to my cutting needs this won't be an issue.

I am an acoustician and a studio designer, for which this shop is. I am not an expert wood worker as my woodworking needs are pretty limited for my business. So anyone with the know tell me if I should be planning otherwise. I've had upright panel saws suggested to me. But not that's one more thing I need to acquire/build/find space for etc.. But if this is the only way then so be it.


Thanks in advance,


Sense & Sound

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A panel saw would definitely be safer and more efficient for your worker(s). Or a big sliding table saw, though that will take up more space and be far more expensive. If you already have space to store and move the sheets around in your shop, chances are you can find space to put a panel saw.

If your volume of cuts is low and space is that much of an issue, you could potentially use a track saw. 

“Mostly never really having kickback issues” is one thing if you’re doing this yourself once in a blue moon. But to ask an employee to be doing this regularly is asking for a worksite injury, in my opinion.

There are some people on here that work/worked in commercial shops so hopefully they will chime in.

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If you are cutting 6' from standard North American sheet goods of 8', that means the end against the fence is shorter than the distance from the fence to the blade. That geometry often leads to twisting the work and kickback.

A sliding tablesaw is designed to manage this type of cut safely, but will be expensive and has a large footprint. A vertical panel saw should be much less costly, and might even be constructed of wood and an ordinary circular saw, especially if the cut is always the same. IMO, the panel saw requires less manuvering of the large sheet, so is safer in that regard, as well.

To do the operation safely and accurately at the tablesaw, you need to add structure to support the sheet completly through the cut, infeed & outfeed. I would also add a fence extension so the work is guided completly through the cut. Personally, I prefer to use a sled when cutting across the narrow side of a workpiece. You could do that, and approximate the funtion of a sliding table.

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I agree with the above. 

Track saw with 8' track.  Put your plywood on the floor  on top of a 4' x 8' sheet of foam board insulation and you can make a very accurate cut. 

Get the big SawStop* with the big slider attachment.  Keep the Unisaw for smaller jobs or sell it.    *It will reduce your workman's comp risk.

Make or buy a panel saw.

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