I have already blogged about the poor quality rip fence that came with this model table saw. The minor modifications I noted earlier have made the fence mostly accurate. Eventually, I will either add material to it to build it up in size and maybe make it dead-accurate or I’ll build my own.
Yesterday, I posted a question in the forum about using a Gripper push block system on a textured surface. That generated a variety of comments. What I got out of it is that the rough, textured top that came on this saw was not going to give me a safe working saw. In retrospect, this explains why I have shied away from using it, even when it was the best tool for the job at hand. I just knew it wasn’t safe. I mean, this top is so rough, if I pushed a 12” piece two-by-four on the top, it would move a fraction of an inch and stop dead. I decided I was too far into this project to abandon it. It was time to sand. This is what the top looked like before I got started. That rough texture is not pitting, but hard granules sitting on top of the surface and baked into the powder coat finish:
The aluminum top on the 3410-02 is a very thin casting. The entire saw has to be dead-level to be sure the four corners of the top would be in the same plane. I clamped the saw to the top of a leveled Black and Decker Workmate. I started off the sanding with 150 grit on an 1/4 cut sheet oscillating sander. This got quite a bit of the rough powder coat off and took down to the aluminum some of the high areas. At this point I changed over to wet sanding with 320 grit using a large hand block, using a straight edge as I went to make sure I was addressing high spots and not creating any lows. I finished off the sanding with 400 grit. This is what the top looked like after the sanding:
After sanding, I wiped down the top with a mild detergent and water. When dry, I applied two coats of The Original Formula HC Johnson Wax. The surface now looks like I had applied a couple of coats of Future Acrylic finish to the top:
To test the success of the sanding and waxing, I took that same piece of rough lumber and pushed it onto the top. It skated nicely across and off the back end of the saw.
But of course, this can’t be the end of the tale….
Putting it all together, I once again saw how the riving knife didn’t appear to be in the right plane in relation to the blade. Quite a bit of (more) finagling and I lost patience with. Both bolts came out and I pulled the knife assembly to see what I could find. I blew out the sawdust and made sure it was clean. The knife appeared to be straight. It had to be in the way the mount was securing to the base. Sure enough, the knurled underside of each bolt was moving the mounting plate when tightened down. What solved the problem was the addition of a regular and lock washer to each securing bolt. This is a perfect example of pricing/marketing overriding usability and safety. Here is the riving assembly and mount with the washers added. It’s aligned now:
Next step? Build a heavy wooden base with individually leveling feet. The feet are coming in mid-next-week. I should have the base built by tomorrow.