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post #1 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I am starting a new phase in my build, I am making panels similar to Greg Power's fabric frames. I have a table saw, but this will be its first significant project.

I am emulating Greg's approach by cutting down both plywood and mdf (with a bevel edge), joining them together and making frames. He was able to find 1/2" Ply and 1/2" MDF. I only found 1/4" ply and 3/4" MDF.

At my request, my wife is quality control, and the mandate is to make the cuts as straight as possible. Any tips to help make that happen is greatly appreciated.

Here is the first batch. 55 pieces cut. I think I have about 400 pieces to cut total. They are decent, but there are some imperfections.


I had Lowes cut the sheet goods into smaller sizes for transit, and it makes feeding the saw a little easier. The fence and top of my saw has some dupont lubricant on it. I couldn't find Top-Cote or Boeshield which I saw mentioned in another thread locally. I find that as I make multiple cuts its not always easy to keep the pressure on the fence consistent while feeding the saw. And wood is pretty imperfect. The blade is a little higher than what the manual says, because the ply is warped in places and it would start to catch if I set it too low.

Any tips about where to place my hands (besides not near the blade), best speed to feed the wood, or the like is appreciated.

Thanks,
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post #2 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 07:47 AM
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A power feed for your table saw would help alot to keep all of your cuts consistent. Problem is they cost alot too. If your plywood is warped to begin with it's making everything else more difficult. Instead of using fir plywood have you considered using birch, maple or oak? They do cost more but you won't be fighting them like you are the fir.
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post #3 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 07:51 AM
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Got one of these? Your hand should never get closer to the blade than the end of the handle.



use it to apply pressure if you have warped panels.

When feeding a big sheet you should stand so that you can grip the sheet with one hand on the left on one hand on the trailing edge. In that position you can apply pressure against the sheet keeping it against the fence and push it from the rear.

Think of standing at the diagonal opposite the cutting action.

Keep the push stick in your pocket and use it whenever you feed the stock near the blade.
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post #4 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 07:56 AM
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Slow and steady! The biggest single piece of advise I can offer is to make sure your blade and fence are square. The manual should explain how to adjust if necessary. I am also an advocate for high quality blades. I never really thought they would make a difference until I switched to one. Cheap blades tend to flex a lot and will also dull quickly, both resulting in a poor cut.

Also make yourself a finger board, this will make sure you have even pressure across the board you are cutting and should also aid in holding down any boards that have slight bowing. you can make on for free out of scrap. If you are cutting thin strips this will also help to keep your hands away from the blade.

Hope this helps!

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post #5 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvd maniac View Post

A power feed for your table saw would help alot to keep all of your cuts consistent. Problem is they cost alot too. If your plywood is warped to begin with it's making everything else more difficult. Instead of using fir plywood have you considered using birch, maple or oak? They do cost more but you won't be fighting them like you are the fir.

Yeah. Power feed is probably beyond the budget. Birch, maple or oak is possible.

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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Got one of these? Your hand should never get closer to the blade than the end of the handle.



use it to apply pressure if you have warped panels.

I have a piece of pine thats hacked up to look kind of like that. The Bosch manual (or maybe some website) had a comment on making a push stick. I used it for the last cut of each of my pieces. I'll have to think about the ergonomics to apply consistent downward pressure. Maybe clamp something to the fence to guide the ply?
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post #6 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 08:14 AM
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I got this, the block allows you to put pressure on the top of the board, and keep your fingers safely away.

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Horn-10225...2720359&sr=8-8

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post #7 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 08:15 AM
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Also, here is a link to buy the top coat, I think bigmouthindc pointed me to this, so credit goes to him.

http://www.hardware4.com/ProductDeta...uctCode=251145

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post #8 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatnogin5877 View Post

Slow and steady! The biggest single piece of advise I can offer is to make sure your blade and fence are square. The manual should explain how to adjust if necessary. I am also an advocate for high quality blades. I never really thought they would make a difference until I switched to one. Cheap blades tend to flex a lot and will also dull quickly, both resulting in a poor cut.

Also make yourself a finger board, this will make sure you have even pressure across the board you are cutting and should also aid in holding down any boards that have slight bowing. you can make on for free out of scrap. If you are cutting thin strips this will also help to keep your hands away from the blade.

Hope this helps!

Definitely helps. Is the fingerboard the same thing as a push stick? Google image search gave me a bunch of guitar links.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

When feeding a big sheet you should stand so that you can grip the sheet with one hand on the left on one hand on the trailing edge. In that position you can apply pressure against the sheet keeping it against the fence and push it from the rear.

Think of standing at the diagonal opposite the cutting action.

Okay - my hands were in a similar position. But I was standing square behind. I can see how the diagnal spot could be superior. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mastiff34 View Post

I got this, the block allows you to put pressure on the top of the board, and keep your fingers safely away.

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Horn-10225...2720359&sr=8-8

Link didn't work - but amazon has some wonky thing on cutting and pasting links. I found it by searching big horn and featherboard. Though the reviews seem to hate everything but the push block. Looks like a trowel - I have a trowel, any reason that wouldn't work? (not being cheap, just don't want to wait for shipping).
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post #9 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 10:15 AM
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I suppose you could use a trowel if you want to put some sort of rubber on the underside of it. Thats basically what the push block is...
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post #10 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastiff34 View Post

Also, here is a link to buy the top coat, I think bigmouthindc pointed me to this, so credit goes to him.

http://www.hardware4.com/ProductDeta...uctCode=251145

baby powder works too.....a little messy but its cheap
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post #11 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 11:05 AM
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Yah, on the bottom there is a big rubber pad for traction, so you can definately use a trowel, if you put some rubber on the bottom I would think.

I am also sure you can pick them up and big blue or big orange if you didnt want to wait for shipping.

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post #12 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 11:10 AM
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I made a featherboard that I use on my radial arm saw.

Here is a website that shows you how to do it.

http://www.woodzone.com/tips/featherboard.htm

clap it to your fence and it will work great. It will help kickback too.
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post #13 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, helpful input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by advertguy2 View Post

I suppose you could use a trowel if you want to put some sort of rubber on the underside of it. Thats basically what the push block is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mastiff34 View Post

Yah, on the bottom there is a big rubber pad for traction, so you can definately use a trowel, if you put some rubber on the bottom I would think.

I am also sure you can pick them up and big blue or big orange if you didnt want to wait for shipping.

Okay, there is rubber beneath. Good to know. I didn't see them in the store, but wasn't looking for them either.

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baby powder works too.....a little messy but its cheap

Interesting. I think this is what I wound up using. Seems to be better than before.


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Originally Posted by HeyNow^ View Post

I made a featherboard that I use on my radial arm saw.
clap it to your fence and it will work great. It will help kickback too.

Looks easy enough to make. Might as well give that a shot too.
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post #14 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 12:24 PM
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Make sure you cut the slots first then cut the featherboard at a 45 degree angle. Much easier to handle. Oh and make several, you will use them all. And don't forget to buy some C clamps to attach them.
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post #15 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hit Lowes looking for a push block didn't find one, but picked on of these up instead.


I was going to make a couple, but the store bought meant more time for cutting.

Didn't really find it that handy for keeping the wood against the fence. Maybe its a lack of creativity on my part, but cutting 2" strips would mean a lot of adjustments. Instead I clamped it to the fence, and used it to push the ply flush with the saw's table. After a few adjustments, I think it helped. Made another 78 strips tonight [total of 132/200 ply cuts], so I am almost done with the plywood cuts. I think they were better cuts (all seem to be usable) - but the test will be when I start assembling frames.

Thanks folks!
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post #16 of 38 Old 10-18-2007, 09:38 PM
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Sears sells Boeshield now--you might have to look hard, but they have it.
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post #17 of 38 Old 10-19-2007, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

Hit Lowes looking for a push block didn't find one, but picked on of these up instead.


I was going to make a couple, but the store bought meant more time for cutting.

Didn't really find it that handy for keeping the wood against the fence. Maybe its a lack of creativity on my part, but cutting 2" strips would mean a lot of adjustments. Instead I clamped it to the fence, and used it to push the ply flush with the saw's table. After a few adjustments, I think it helped. Made another 78 strips tonight [total of 132/200 ply cuts], so I am almost done with the plywood cuts. I think they were better cuts (all seem to be usable) - but the test will be when I start assembling frames.

Thanks folks!

When your cutting sheets, a featherboard would be used to hold the wood from lifting up from the table. The way you described that you used it is correct. Holding the sheet on the corner as stated earlier is the proper way to keep the wood along the fence.
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post #18 of 38 Old 10-20-2007, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatawan View Post

Sears sells Boeshield now--you might have to look hard, but they have it.

I appreciate the tip, and hopefully it benefits others. As for me, Sears and I have a litigous history, so I don't shop there anymore. Not that you'd have anyway to know that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by outcast_p View Post

When your cutting sheets, a featherboard would be used to hold the wood from lifting up from the table. The way you described that you used it is correct. Holding the sheet on the corner as stated earlier is the proper way to keep the wood along the fence.

Thanks for the confirmation. I am doing a lot better in this position.

Okay. I finished cutting my ply, and started cutting MDF this morning. The MDF is to be beveled as I am going for this look:


I was hoping to just set the blade to 45 degrees and cut away. The result would be a parrellelagram. But I was having real difficulty on the second cut, when a beveled edge was next to the fence, to keep the pressure even. The net result was a fair bit of curve to the cut, which made lining up two beveled edges suboptimal. I'd post a pic, but the camera's charger is MIA, besides it would make me look bad.

I had a few pieces of mdf already cut into strips from some prior testing, I re fed those in with the blade at 45 degrees, and it was much easier and straighter. Looks like I am going to cut everything into strips, then re-feed it to add the bevel. Just added another 200 cuts to the project. Oh well.
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post #19 of 38 Old 10-20-2007, 12:16 PM
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One idea might be to put a good finishing blade on a circular saw, and make a jig out of a factory straight edge to get your ripping done.....

Specially if u have 400 pieces to do....

It would be easy if it was a 90deg rip, but the 45deg rip might create challenges

P
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post #20 of 38 Old 10-20-2007, 07:57 PM
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Teflon (TM) spray (I assume this is the DuPont brand product you refered to)
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post #21 of 38 Old 10-23-2007, 06:46 AM
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I did mean to say feather board. Ive been calling them finger boards for years (habit).

I got the pistol so I get the pesos
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post #22 of 38 Old 10-23-2007, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbarron View Post

Teflon (TM) spray (I assume this is the DuPont brand product you refered to)

Yes, that's what I got. I think I need to re-apply it, as friction was a bit more as I started cutting the MDF last night. 67 strips cut.

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Originally Posted by phatnogin5877 View Post

I did mean to say feather board. Ive been calling them finger boards for years (habit).

That was my guess. Thanks.
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post #23 of 38 Old 10-23-2007, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petee_c View Post

One idea might be to put a good finishing blade on a circular saw, and make a jig out of a factory straight edge to get your ripping done.....

Specially if u have 400 pieces to do....

It would be easy if it was a 90deg rip, but the 45deg rip might create challenges

P

I tried the circular saw approach on a prior project, and bought a table saw. I guess there is a reason I went into accounting for pay.
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post #24 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

I tried the circular saw approach on a prior project, and bought a table saw. I guess there is a reason I went into accounting for pay.

I'm about to move past the framing phase in my thater and am at a crossroads. I have a good circular, but with the riser, columns, etc, I'm thinking about springing for a table saw.

Has anyone been successful ripping via a circular, or is it really not worth the effort?
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post #25 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 11:19 AM
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I have not tried ripping with a circular saw. I would definitely want a table saw if I was doing much ripping.

However, for the riser and stage work, I almost never used my table saw. My compound miter saw got all the work (as well as my jig saw and router for the OSB top trimming). Everything was made out of 2x lumber and I just had to cut it to length, and sometimes angle the ends.

On the columns, do you see a need to do much ripping? If you can make your frame out of 2x2 stock, you won't need to.

The acoustic treatment frames being built in this thread did require a lot of ripping to get the relatively narrow strips, and the mitered edge. For that, a table saw is very helpful.

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post #26 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmeyer View Post

I have not tried ripping with a circular saw. I would definitely want a table saw if I was doing much ripping.

However, for the riser and stage work, I almost never used my table saw. My compound miter saw got all the work (as well as my jig saw and router for the OSB top trimming). Everything was made out of 2x lumber and I just had to cut it to length, and sometimes angle the ends.

On the columns, do you see a need to do much ripping? If you can make your frame out of 2x2 stock, you won't need to.

The acoustic treatment frames being built in this thread did require a lot of ripping to get the relatively narrow strips, and the mitered edge. For that, a table saw is very helpful.

I guess I'm using the wrong terminology

I have a Mitre saw that I've been mostly using for the 2x4 and 2x2 work.

Where I see a potential problem ahead is using the Mitre/Circular to cut 2x4 panels into proper shape for the riser and some ceiling work I'm doing.

Is there a good way to use the circular saw for these cuts? Or would it be a lot easier to get a table saw?

Thanks!
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post #27 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 12:44 PM
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I've been a woodworker for many many years and I've come across several tips along the way.

A circular saw can give very accurate cuts, if you have the right jig built. You need a piece of plywood, about as long as you think you will need to rip (8' maybe?), and you need a straight piece of 1x3 lumber. Take the piece of plywood (about 8-9" wide), and screw the 1x3 to it about a third of the way in. Now take your circular saw, and keeping the shoe of the saw tight to the straight 1x3, cut off the plywood. Now whenever you have to rip a piece of plywood, make your mark on the plywood, align the edge of your jig with the mark, clamp it down, and the circular saw cuts exactly on your mark.

It looks like this (first page I googled, but there are many others):

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...d/RipCirc.html

Good Luck!
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post #28 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forseti View Post

I guess I'm using the wrong terminology

I have a Mitre saw that I've been mostly using for the 2x4 and 2x2 work.

Where I see a potential problem ahead is using the Mitre/Circular to cut 2x4 panels into proper shape for the riser and some ceiling work I'm doing.

Is there a good way to use the circular saw for these cuts? Or would it be a lot easier to get a table saw?

Thanks!

When you say "2x4 panels", what do you mean? Can you describe the cut you need to do on these panels?

A table saw is very good for cutting with the grain (ripping) relatively long, relatively narrow pieces of wood. Think taking a 2x4 and cutting it in half lengthwise into 2 ~2x2's. Very hard to do quickly and accurately with anything but a table saw.

If you are cutting a sheet of plywood in half, a circular saw with a straight edge is better than a table saw, unless you have a panel saw.

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post #29 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 01:06 PM
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As a former arcade builder, I do tons of straight cut on both mdf and plywood. This is one me and other use. very accurate and fast.


No table saw? Build a $15 Sawboard for your small budget project!
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post #30 of 38 Old 06-11-2008, 01:35 PM
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Nice link xmen.

I've only cut a few large sheets on my tablesaw, and it's very difficult. I think I'll make a sawboard for when I need to rip mdf and the like.

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