Downstairs Built-ins Extravaganza! #4: The saw and I get chummy

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Blog entry by BethMartin posted 04-06-2009 02:00 AM 1153 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: I Haz Saw Now. Plz Check Work. Part 4 of Downstairs Built-ins Extravaganza! series Part 5: I got a little more done today than I thought I would! »

So I’ve been doing my research on table saws for the past couple of days. I have a lot of tools, but I have never used a table saw – just jigsaws, circular saws, miter saws. I don’t think I’ve even really seen one used before. My dad used a radial arm saw, and that was a long time ago anyway. The only thing I really knew about table saws was that ripping boards was very precarious.

First step was to download the table saw’s owner’s manual since my friend didn’t have his anymore. Then I watched a bunch of videos on youtube. There’s a great one on there that shows you how a board can get snagged and chucked right at your head. Very dramatically gets the point across.

My husband set up a “containment field” in the garage. Basically plastic sheeting separating my woodworking space from my ceramic tile studio. We have to park the cars outside temporarily. Thank goodness it is finally warming up around here – I will miss parking in the garage! I have the shop vac attached to the table saw also, so hopefully the mess won’t be too bad.

My goal for the day was to cut a piece for a sacrificial fence, make a featherboard, and then make a panel cutting sled since I will be needing to cut a lot of panels and I want them square. You’ll be pleased to hear that I did all those things and I still have all my fingers and eyes. The panel sled I did just like in a New Yankee Workshop video from youtube here:
I think it will help me a lot! It came out pretty bitchen, if I do say so myself. It is perfectly square. I should take pictures. ;)

So I think I’m about ready to start on my cabinets. I need to do some final measurements and figure out how big to make everything accounting for the depth of the dadoes and all that. And then the other thing I need to wait for is I had to order a dado insert for the saw since my friend did not have one. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get here. Oh, and I also need to set up some tables or something behind the saw.

The next entry I make should have something looking like a cabinet in it. Stay tuned! :)

-- Beth

14 comments so far

View Betsy's profile


3333 posts in 3314 days

#1 posted 04-06-2009 02:03 AM

I admire your ambition in tackling such a large project. Sounds like you are doing your research. Looking forward to following your progress.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

#2 posted 04-06-2009 02:23 AM

Ditto what Betsy said, and, we need pictures!!!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View oldskoolmodder's profile


799 posts in 3098 days

#3 posted 04-06-2009 02:41 AM

All the more reason to use the table saw, so you can build a new place for the cars. Table saws are scary and you have to be on your toes all the time, but boy are they useful.

That’s a nice basic sled, I just wonder after watching the video, why he didn’t trim the whole thing at once, instead of two cuts to size the sled.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2811 days

#4 posted 04-06-2009 02:41 AM

You have everything on wheels Beth!
What I do when handling sheets of plywood is to cut them with the “Skil Saw” first on a couple of saw horses, downd the size needed + half inch, so its much easier to manage smaller pieces on the table saw.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View BigBard's profile


114 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 04-06-2009 03:00 AM

always use push sticks!

-- Carolina Panther fan!

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3192 days

#6 posted 04-06-2009 03:17 AM

Good for you Beth! There are some really good videos and books on the use of a table saw. Everyone new to woodworking should do their homework before operating one. I work at Lowes part time and one night a guy comes in and wants to buy a table saw and power miter box saw. As I am loading them on the cart he asked me which side of the saw do you feed the board from!!!!!!!! When I asked him if he ever ran a table saw, I get NO! I told him, you need to read your instruction manuel over, watch videos and get some books on table saws before you use it. BE CAREFUL!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 2796 days

#7 posted 04-06-2009 03:24 AM

Betsy and Lew – thanks!

oldskoolmodder – I was wondering the same thing. Maybe he just wanted to be sure us newbies didn’t saw through a fastener on the back stop.

Moai – I actually had the lumber yard rip my sheets in half longwise for me, so I don’t have to haul the big pieces around. I love my lumber store.

BigBard – no worries, I’ve got some fence cutting system thing that my friend had that helps push the wood through. I am the ultra-paranoid type and I’m not putting any of my parts anywhere near that saw blade. My husband is the non-paranoid type, and he’s not allowed to use the table saw. :)

Tom – I’ll be careful! I promise! :) I’m still reading and researching too.

-- Beth

View Dusty56's profile


11800 posts in 3106 days

#8 posted 04-06-2009 03:30 AM

So which table saw did you end up with , Beth ? Let us know how that shopvac works out for you on the tablesaw .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 2796 days

#9 posted 04-06-2009 03:39 AM

I’m borrowing a craftsman saw from a friend that lives nearby. I’m not sure how old it is, but it is big and heavy. 10” sawblade.

I’ve only cut those few things, but the shop vac seems to work okay so far. I’ll know if it’s doing anything once I really get going. :)

-- Beth

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3131 days

#10 posted 04-06-2009 04:48 PM

Bet, I admire you for tackling a project like this particularly with tools that you’ve never used. Perhaps a new woodworking motto ‘read twice, cut once’

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 2796 days

#11 posted 04-06-2009 06:43 PM

I finally took a moment to take a picture of the little things I made yesterday. :)

-- Beth

View BethMartin's profile


111 posts in 2796 days

#12 posted 04-06-2009 06:48 PM

oh, and Oldskoolmodder – I realized why he cut the sled twice in the video. It’s in case you didn’t put the runner on exactly parallel to the edge. So, you put the runner on, cut the plywood end off, then you add the back stop exactly square to the freshly cut edge, and then trim that off if any is sticking out.

-- Beth

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 2791 days

#13 posted 04-23-2009 11:00 PM

Now that saw looks familiar…. i think i inherited one just like it. Ummmmmmmm could u make me a sled also? This looks like a well thought out project.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View Dusty56's profile


11800 posts in 3106 days

#14 posted 04-24-2009 07:02 AM

Nice sled and fingerboard , Beth : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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