Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... #7: Using the improved table saw, and making zero clearance inserts

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 11-09-2009 04:13 AM 1381 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Switch Done - all dressed up for the dance Part 7 of Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... series Part 8: An ELECTRIFYING WEEKEND, When Peter Power Pillar Got More Power, & Tammy Table Saw Got More Whine »

Got 4 blanks cut for the zero clearance inserts (ZCI). Using MDF. Drew out 4 blanks on a 48×40 sheet of left over MDF, cut the section out with table saw, then split that section in two length wise so I had two pieces with two rough blanks. Then split it into 4 with the RAS. I had cut some plywood earlier today, and some fiber board.

Why the detail in the description? Since I put those machined pulleys on, and the twist link belt (along with my Forrest WWII thin kerf blade with stabilizer) the saw just seems to effortlessly float through stuff, like it isn’t even cutting. The pulleys and the belt made the biggest difference!! That surprises me. I knew it would be smoother, everybody said it would be smoother. But the performance change I guess I just didn’t believe would happen. I’ll have to cut some tough stuff to be sure, but the difference is amazing to me at this point.

When I changed blades, I was going from a very good Freund Avanti thin kerf crosscut blade to the WWII and the stabilizer. Big difference for rip, but not for crosscut. So I thought I would see minor changes with the belt and pulleys. Not so. At this point, that seems to be the major improvement I have made in cutting performance. I will have to verify this with more cuts in varied material, but it seems to be real at this point.

The saw now has an excellent Vega fence, a Wixey digital readout (most useful for being able to zero to a different blade or dado quickly, and to repeat a cut) a first class…........nah…......lets admit it…......unparalleled switch…..I know because I made it myself, and I would never be biased (-: It has a great blade, stabilizer, new pulleys and belt, and it is beginning to feel like a mean machine. It gets 220 volts this week. In the next month or so, hope to improve dust collection, and then nail the guard and splitter scenario. Then it needs a new cabinet including a router table and first class home made extensions. This is a lot of fun.

Back to the inserts. I did the classic bandsaw to eliminate most waste, followed by the router using the Delta dado insert (no splitter notch to dodge around) as a template. Used my router trimmer bit from my heretofore unopened Hickory router bit collection.

An aside:

I have a Hickory Forstner bit collection and this router collection. The Forstner bits are excellent, much better chip handling than my very old and limited Craftsman set. I have nothing bad to say about them. The case for the Forstner bits and for the router bits is just great. The router trimmer bit (never used one before) worked great.

So now I have 4 ZCI blanks. Have to make a kerf in back with the dado set (still unopened in its box) and then put in the hex set screws I bought today at Lowe’s.

So this week, hope to finish the ZCI’s and do the 220 power for both the big saws. Might get to the monster sled. I am going to plagiarize Neil (nbeener) on that one. Working this coming weekend, so don’t expect much more.

I would like some feedback. Has anyone out there noted the performance change with the pulleys and the belt upgrade?

Have good week, have fun, be safe…..............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#1 posted 11-09-2009 12:17 PM

You will have a great set of tools when you are done there Jim. It sounds to me that you are going about this the right way. First the machines and tools and then the projects.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4174 posts in 3164 days

#2 posted 11-09-2009 05:53 PM

Guess I can put up with waiting for the projects, primarily because I have been constantly building shop things as I go along. But once I get the ZCI and big sled, the shop is ready for a number of things. Nothing too big, because my band saw would probably be limiting for certain projects. A new band saw will go on its own mobile table, so it would take up space I don’t have right now. There are a couple of things I could get rid of, but then I would have other storage issues. I will have to tackle the small power tools (drill press, grinder, sander, band saw) all installed on an old built in bench that was here when we bought the house in 1985. That bench needs to go, most of the tools go mobile, and then I need to simultaneously build cabinets, shelves, etc to take over tool and othe storage. Oh well, always something to do, but nothing of life importance. That’s what makes a good hobby.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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