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Archive for August, 2012

How to Extend Your Tablesaw’s Crosscut Capacity

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Miter extension on a  table saw improves capacity and safety when cross cutting wide stock

Doesn’t it always just seem like when you go to cross cut a wide panel that your tablesaw is just an inch or two too short to make the job safe? It’s not a smart move to start a cut using the miter gauge with it not fully supported by the miter slot. Surely, though, we’ve all risked it when the work piece is so large that it forces the gauge  to hang off the table by just a bit.

But now there’s an effective solution you can whip together with some plywood cutoffs.

We just saw this solution to the problem in the September/October issue of Fine Woodworking, by a fella named Dan Sweeny. We liked it so much that we had to give it a try. The extension is built out of Baltic birch plywood. Take a close look. It straddles the tablesaw fence rail with two fixed cleats sized to hug the rail, and uses Rockler’s universal fence clamps to keep it in place. The plywood platform has a perfect dado sized to match the miter slot in the tablesaw, 3/4″x3/8″.

We can’t give you plans for this because the exact sizes depend on your tablesaw. But you can figure it out. Build yours to suit:

  • Extension top should be perfectly level with your tablesaw top
  • Cleats should hug your fence rail snugly
  • Standard miter gauge slot is 3/4″ wide and 3/8″ deep. Verify on your own saw first.

With this miter gauge extension in place, you can now safely use the miter gauge or a sled when your work piece is larger than the  space of the table in front of the blade.

 

Extension table built by Danny Lopez, Woodworkers Source Tucson store

Use Rockler’s Universal Fence Clamps on this miter gauge extension.

Bandsaw Won’t Cut Straight – How To Fix It Once and For All

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Bandsaw Fix won't cut straight blade drift

Believe it or not, it’s the nature of a bandsaw to drift either left or right of being perfectly parallel with the bandsaw fence.  It doesn’t have to do with the quality of a bandsaw. But it’s not necessarily the quality of the blade, either: if you swap the bandsaw blade with a new quality blade, the only thing that changes is the angle at which the blade drifts. Rest assured, it still won’t cut straight with the fence. Being a happy bandsaw owner (and user) has a lot to do with your approach to coping with the fact that a bandsaw simply will not cut straight, or, in the sage words of veteran woodworkers, “adjusting for drift.”

The trick is in adjusting the fence, not the blade.

powermatic bandsaw fence

The Powermatic 14" bandsaw uas 4 bolts on top of the fence. Use these for adjustment to make the saw cut straight

While adjusting for drift is a process you’ll have to do every time you change the blade, it’s a very quick and painless exercise as long as your fence has some adjustment to it. And it may not be obvious. Even the top performing 14″ bandsaw on the market, Powermatic’s 14 Bandsaw 1791216K, comes with a no-frills fence with 4 bolts on top rather than easy and obvious thumbscrews or knobs that say, “Adjust me here!”

The tried-and-true method to adjusting for drift goes like this:

  1. Take a board about 20″ long and mark a straight line along the length, parallel with (and about an inch from) the edge of the board.
  2. Turn on the bandsaw and begin to cut that board, following the line as perfect as you can (note: freehand, not with the fence.
  3. Stop the cut about halfway through the board
  4. There’s your angle. Using a pencil, trace the edge of the board on the table top
  5. Adjust your fence to match the line you drew on the bandsaw table. Now the fence is aligned to cut straight with that blade set up

Our demonstrator, Joe, came up with this auxiliary bandsaw fence that uses his factory bandsaw fence that didn’t have any adjustment to it.  Making the bandsaw cut nice and straight with this fence is a snap. The only tool required for adjusting is a screw driver.

Materials Required:

  • 1 x 4 hardwood suitable for new fence.  Length slightly longer than bandsaw table width.
  • Round Head Machine Screws –  2pcs –    ¼” x 20 x 1 ½”
  • Flat Washers –  2 pcs  –    ¼” flat washers
  • Dowel –  3/8”  approximately 4” long

Making the Fence:

  • Cut 1 X 4 material slightly longer than bandsaw table width.
  • With router cut a shallow channel across wooden fence approximately aligned with the bandsaw blade.  Use ½” core box bit
  • Use 7/8” forstner bit to countersink screws in face of wooden fence
  • Drill wooden fence with 9/32 bit for screws
  • Mark holes on factory fence
  • Drill and tap factory fence to accept 1/4 x 20 machine screws  – drill with 7/32” bit and tap with ¼ x 20 tap.
  • Assemble with ¼  X 20 X 1 ½” screws through fence with dowel in the groove.  Note:  dowel could be glued in place, but I chose to keep it loose in case I want to use a smaller or larger dowel in some situations.

auxiliary bandsaw resaw fence fixes drift