How much $$ did you spend on tools to build your theater ??? - Page 8 - AVS Forum
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post #211 of 233 Old 06-20-2014, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Question:

I want to buy a high value Dado blade for my table saw. I want to build some shelf and closet organizer out of MDF and I want to inset the 3/4" MDF into a 3/4" dado.

Suggestions? Where to buy ? Model?

This better than using the router with a straightedge to make the dado cut ? What's better?

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post #212 of 233 Old 06-20-2014, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redstopgreengo12 View Post
i try not to think about those expenses. it has to be over $1,000....and still shopping in my experence, a few extra dollars spent buying the right tool for the job will save hours of anger and frustration.
I guess I invested in anger and frustration. I refused to buy quite a few things as I didn't think I would use them again.

Took WAY longer though.
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post #213 of 233 Old 06-20-2014, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
Question:

I want to buy a high value Dado blade for my table saw. I want to build some shelf and closet organizer out of MDF and I want to inset the 3/4" MDF into a 3/4" dado.

Suggestions? Where to buy ? Model?

This better than using the router with a straightedge to make the dado cut ? What's better?
Router vs table saw will depend on how much you need to do. I will generally use a router if there are only a couple pieces to cut or the pieces are very large and might be difficult to get through the table saw. If I'm going to do several pieces or the pieces are smaller, then I'll use in a table saw.
A while back I purchased a rather nice dado set with grand intentions of using it on almost every project. I think I've used it twice.

One thing to watch out for is a short arbor on some less expensive table saws. My first had a very short arbor and I couldn't use a full dado set.

This one is probably the best value that I know of. It has all the shims you need to set it up for undersized plywood cuts.
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post #214 of 233 Old 06-20-2014, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I've used the router a few times and the results were good. I haven't used a Dado before, at least not since I was a teen. This is one area am lack experience with, but it seems handy for making shelf and a closet organizer for the laundry room.

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post #215 of 233 Old 06-20-2014, 07:45 PM
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As long as your router isn't underpowered and your router bits are decent, your router should easily take care of MDF (very soft compared to ply....which is more difficult!). Make sure you have a quality straight edge as your route.

I've used dados on my table saw...and the struggle of changing the blades out and watching out for the arbor is a pain in the tail end.

MDF makes a bunch of nasty sawdust...good dust extraction is a must.

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post #216 of 233 Old 06-21-2014, 10:47 AM
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Where dado blades shine is when you need an ultra-precise dado groove. You can dial a size down to the closest 1/32" on some sets. If you really want quickly repeatable close fitting joints, then dado blades are definitely the way to go. I got a Freud Diablo 8in stacked dado set for $100 that has served me well over the years.

Getting that kind of repeatable accuracy with router bits varies. There are special router bits that are sized specifically for plywood and the like and if you have those bits AND they match up with the thickness of plywood that you bought, then you simply can't beat that. But in my experience, there's simply too much variance in sheet good thicknesses between batches to really count on just one size router bit.

A far more accurate way (possibly the most accurate) is to build a router jig that has an adjustable width (one of many examples: http://www.woodsmithshop.com/downloa...bledadojig.pdf). In this case, you just stick your actual mating board in the jig and then route up one side and down the other to get a perfect match. Setup definitely takes longer if you are doing a lot of joints, though.
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post #217 of 233 Old 07-15-2014, 06:22 AM
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I thought I would follow up on my previous post (here). I finally had a chance to use my new track saw. I have to say, I'm not sure how I've managed without this thing! I used it for cutting the decking to go on my riser. Once I figured out how everything worked, it was just as fast for me to grab the 4' or 8' track and rip a sheet of ply than it would have been for me to grab a straight edge, mark the sheet, then cut it freehand. I also used it to cut the nosing on my riser as well. Again, in the amount of time it would have taken me to draw a line with a straight edge or pop a chalk line I had the nosing cut, and it is perfectly straight.

A couple caveats. I work alone almost exclusively. Part of the reason this tool works so well for me is it's much easier for me to lay a #70 piece of ply on the floor on top of a sheet of foam insulation to cut than it is for me to try to wrestle it onto my table saw. Even with in feed, out feed, and side support rollers, cutting a full sheet of ply on a contractor table saw is difficult, and I'll admit now, dangerous. If you've got some help, it's not so bad.

Next, I have to have a guide line to cut from. I've seen people that can cut a sheet of ply with just the mark at both ends, and it's amazing how straight the cut is. I'm not that guy. So I have to have a straight edge with me anyway. A chalk line will work, but I usually end up with a straight edge for marking stuff.

So I am now firmly in the track saw camp. It can't replace a table saw, but if both my track saw and table saw died today, I'd be hard pressed to decide which one to replace first.
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post #218 of 233 Old 07-15-2014, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnsteph10 View Post
MDF makes a bunch of nasty sawdust...good dust extraction is a must.
I had never worked with MDF before I attempted a few of my first DIY speakers.

I was cutting MDF in my garage. After my first two speakers were done I had completely covered every surface in the garage with that nasty MDF dust.

Needless to say, I ended up moving any cutting/sanding that needed to be done outside the garage.

Mother nature makes an amazing dust extraction system. :-)
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post #219 of 233 Old 07-22-2014, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
I had never worked with MDF before I attempted a few of my first DIY speakers.

I was cutting MDF in my garage. After my first two speakers were done I had completely covered every surface in the garage with that nasty MDF dust.

Needless to say, I ended up moving any cutting/sanding that needed to be done outside the garage.

Mother nature makes an amazing dust extraction system. :-)
You mean like this:

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post #220 of 233 Old 07-22-2014, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post
I thought I would follow up on my previous post (here). I finally had a chance to use my new track saw. I have to say, I'm not sure how I've managed without this thing! I used it for cutting the decking to go on my riser. Once I figured out how everything worked, it was just as fast for me to grab the 4' or 8' track and rip a sheet of ply than it would have been for me to grab a straight edge, mark the sheet, then cut it freehand. I also used it to cut the nosing on my riser as well. Again, in the amount of time it would have taken me to draw a line with a straight edge or pop a chalk line I had the nosing cut, and it is perfectly straight.

A couple caveats. I work alone almost exclusively. Part of the reason this tool works so well for me is it's much easier for me to lay a #70 piece of ply on the floor on top of a sheet of foam insulation to cut than it is for me to try to wrestle it onto my table saw. Even with in feed, out feed, and side support rollers, cutting a full sheet of ply on a contractor table saw is difficult, and I'll admit now, dangerous. If you've got some help, it's not so bad.

Next, I have to have a guide line to cut from. I've seen people that can cut a sheet of ply with just the mark at both ends, and it's amazing how straight the cut is. I'm not that guy. So I have to have a straight edge with me anyway. A chalk line will work, but I usually end up with a straight edge for marking stuff.

So I am now firmly in the track saw camp. It can't replace a table saw, but if both my track saw and table saw died today, I'd be hard pressed to decide which one to replace first.
I love my tracksaw. Since I usually work alone, there's no way I could handle the sheet goods. Last weekend I broke down three sheets of 3/4 Birch ply all by myself in no time at all. It makes near finish quality cuts, and takes so little space compared to a normal table saw. The only issue I have with being hooked on the Festool Koolaid is the $$$.
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post #221 of 233 Old 07-23-2014, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
You mean like this:

Haha, oh hellllllll no. If it had become anywhere NEAR as bad as that I would have ceased garage work immediately. I'm kinda anal about my garage staying clean so think a dusting over every horizontal surface in the garage. It bugged the absolute **** out of me.

Once I moved it outside, I don't care that my driveway was covered in MDF dust... mother nature would take care of that over the next few days.

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post #222 of 233 Old 07-26-2014, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I was inside the garage, but I set up a fan blowing out. That pic is taken from inside the garage looking out. I was trying to get that horrible dust out of the air in my work space. Took another hour washing the driveway lol.. And another hour after that washing cars. It was bad idea.

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post #223 of 233 Old 08-05-2014, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post
Well, since we're voting, I actually prefer the longer tape. 16' doesn't reach across my room in either direction and I try to take all my measurements from the same points. I'd rather carry the larger tape all day and not have to make a special trip to find one if I need to measure off 25' or something. That's just me, though.
One thing I have is a tape that is exactly 3/4" wide, and it's useful when working with 3/4" materials like building speaker boxes.

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post #224 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 02:44 PM
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FYI for anyone looking at Track Saws, I noticed this in the Grizzly catalog. Obviously not going to be Festool quality, but for the price it looks like it might be decent enough.

Grizzly Track Saw Master Pack

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post #225 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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FYI for anyone looking at Track Saws, I noticed this in the Grizzly catalog. Obviously not going to be Festool quality, but for the price it looks like it might be decent enough.

Grizzly Track Saw Master Pack
That is a little more do-able for me than $500+. I wonder how it performs.

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post #226 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 04:39 PM
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I still don't get why they can't make a track saw for under $100. No, it wouldn't be a Festool or DeWalt, but a mostly-plain circular saw that had runners that followed an inexpensive track would go a loooong way towards fulfilling this need.


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post #227 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Calling harbor Freight...

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post #228 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 05:14 PM
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A "clamping straight edge" also works great for both circular saw and other tools like router. Rockler have some nice ones, although I found a knock off for half the Rockler price. Cheaper still -- just use an aluminum straight edge and some c-clamps or other clips..


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post #229 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 05:28 PM
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A good circular saw will set you back $100. I know, you can buy one cheaper, but there is a difference. Then you have to add the costs of the tracks. I could see a no frills version where the foot is redesigned to accept a track plus a 4' track for $150 - $200. I guess some modifications would still be necessary to deal with the guard to keep it from catching on the track. That may be why the current designs are plunge cut.

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post #230 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 06:02 PM
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Harbor Freight sells a clamping straight edge. Works well enough for ninety degree cuts.
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post #231 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 06:12 PM
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I've used both the clamping straightedges and the zero-clearance custom DIY fences (example: Circular Saw Guide), plus a Kreg Rip-It jig. All three have their places. I like the clamping straightedges for their ability to work without space below for a clamp. The custom guides can have any length you want, drastically reduce tear-out, and can be placed right on the line making setup quick. The Rip-It allows for arbitrarily long rips with minimal setup.

But.. I have a serious problem with the saw wandering for all three solutions. In the first two cases, my saw tends to wander at random times. For the Rip-It, it always wanders right at the end of the cut. since the "fence" is simply not long enough. That's no big deal if you are only cut one or two pieces, but if you need to repeatedly cut a bunch of pieces (door, window, or floor trim from MDF sheets for instance), then each of those cuts at the end will add up to quite the curve.

So what I want is a way to lock the saw into a groove so that it remains straight the entire way. I also don't want to have to clamp the guide down, since I usually cut sheet goods on the floor. A track saw precisely fits the bill... but at quite a bit more than I'm willing to spend.

I keep thinking that I could make one by just super-gluing a piece of aluminum bar to the bottom of my saw and then cutting a groove in one of those custom zero-clearance guides. Then maybe put some sticky stuff (not sure what) on the bottom so that it wouldn't move when I was using it. Maybe it would work? I haven't tried it.

(And yes, I'm seeing now that good circular saws are above $100 -- forgot how much I paid for mine, it seems!)


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post #232 of 233 Old 08-06-2014, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
That is a little more do-able for me than $500+. I wonder how it performs.
Reviews seem about as I would expect, decent for the price.

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/vide...ck-saw-review/

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post #233 of 233 Old 09-09-2014, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Harbor freight sells a clamp straight edge guide for like $8 that's perfect, and it just happens that my cordless circular saw is exactly one inch from edge, so of I mark exactly one inch short and then line the level on the cut mark I made that is an inch short my cut comes out perfect. That's cheapest most reliable solution I've found. Someday I hope to get a track saw.

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