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Respect The Blade!

Posted by Stev187 on Monday, March 10, 2008

Well, it's been a while since I've done any blogging.  This semester has been crazy.  It's Spring Break, but I'll be going into the office every day to get caught up--reports to write, meetings to chair, and lots of papers to grade.  Oh, and Mid-Term grades need to be posted tomorrow.

I have had time recently to start setting up my woodshop in the basement.  Someday I will be building banjos, but my idea is to build some decent woodworking skills first.

My first project was a utitlity table.  Because space is limited, I needed to design something that could break down fairly easily.  Below you can see my solution.  It's a high-top utitlity table made mostly of constuction grade 2x4s and 2x6s.  This kept the cost way down.  The thing is ugly, but it's built like a brick sh*thouse.  I really like the table-top design.  I was hunting for something heavy and sturdy, and I ended up using pre-fabbed stair treads back to back.  I screwed and glued them to a 2x4 frame and inserted dowels on each side to attach to the base.  The base goes together with 4 carriage bolts and stores very neatly in a small space.  The height of the table is high--very comfortable for standing work, and it's also the perfect height for a sturdy outfeed table for the saw (it's about 1/2 inch shorter than the table saw).

It took me several days to assemble the table saw, and then it just sat there.  The thing scared me to death.  Over the years of being a homeowner I have acquired some basic tools, but this was the first serious tool purchase I've made.  Once you get the saw together, you need to calibrate it and get it all set up.  This intimidated me.  I thought of hiring someone to come over to teach me how to do it.  Finally, I purchased a DVD that handles all the issues.  It's a lot like a music instruction video.  It was perfect.  Mostly, it got me over my fears and I was making sawdust in no time.

In the shot above, you can see the nifty extension I rigged to the right of the blade.  I asked folks at Home Depot how to do this, and they were CLUELESS.  It's official: I now know more about this tool than the people who sold it to me, and that is SAD.  At any rate, it was easy to take some metal brackets and insert them into grooves I cut in the side of a piece of melamine that I cut to fit.  I used some standard bolts to attach the table extension to the rails.  It's great.  Combine that with my sturdy outfeed table, and I feel like I've got a giant cabinet saw.  The best thing is that the saw easily wheels under the basement stairs while I do other work.  When I am using the saw, I can hog all the room in the "workshop," which is really just a 15' x 15' square that I share with the water softener, basement stairs and kitty litter box.


My second project was finished last night.  I call it a "micro sled."  I wanted to make a cross cut sled, but I only had small scraps around.  I made this one completely out of scrap wood.  It will be perfect for cutting little pieces.  I feel so much safer using a sled like this.  The blade really makes me nervous, which is a good thing.  My mantra while working with the saw:<

5 comments on “Respect The Blade!”

brawny1 Says:
Monday, March 10, 2008 @10:13:47 PM

I agree, respect the blade. I have been working as a cabinet maker/carpenter/banjo restorer for the last 25 years and it wasn't until last year that I finally got a few stitches in my hand from the table saw. Actually, I took two different trips to the emergency room for hand work last year. I found out how hard it is to play the banjo with 5, 3 and 7 stitches on your fingers! Lucky for me I am a fast healer! Be safe!


Chuck Lee Says:
Monday, March 10, 2008 @10:19:45 PM


I love my band saw.  My table saw sits outside and is rarely used.  Put the band saw together it's much safer than your table saw.  Of course they can both cut your finger off if not careful, it's just easier to do on the table saw.

Stev187 Says:
Monday, March 10, 2008 @10:47:02 PM

Chuck & Brian: 

You guys are pros.  I'm just a dabbler.  The band saw thing makes sense from you, Chuck.  Just a look at your banjos and you'd wonder why you'd ever need to cut plain straight lines!  I am soooooo looking forward to my Lone Star Deluxe.

The bandsaw is actually together--I just need to get moving with it.

Thanks for the comments.

banjotef Says:
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 @8:33:03 AM

Pre-fab stair treads!!   What a great idea!   thanks for the info.

rinemb Says:
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 @7:10:24 PM

Well, Steve be careful...I now have a flat spot on the side of my index fretting finger from a knife that got in my finger's way.  I can frett now, but it still hurts a bit.  I want banjo #2.  Brad

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