Lumpy tablesaw surface!

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Forum topic by Mark Shymanski posted 09-24-2009 05:25 AM 1726 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3675 days

09-24-2009 05:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: humor jig tablesaw joining

I guess this is one of those good news bad news situations. The bad news is that I’ve discovered that the surface of my table saw table is not planar and has a couple of bulges in it. The good news it that I have developed my skills enough to notice these bumps and how they were affecting my getting a clean slip joint. So I have abandoned using my dado blades and will be making the joints on my router table now.

It has slowed up my bathroom reno a bit while I fiddled around trying to figure out what was wrong with my joints…my technique was pretty darn good if I do say so myself LOL… First I blamed my home made tennoning jig then I blamed my technique then I blamed the set up of my saw never suspecting my table saw was lumpy. Turns out that my jig was bang on 90 degrees in every direction, my crosscuts of my stiles and rails spot on 90 degrees, I tweaked the blade settings so everything was 90 degrees but when you put a straight edge across the table you see daylight here and there. At one point the straightedge rocks up and down about 1 or 2 mm! And I suspect this is enough wobble to give my joints ugly and weak gaps. I guess this is another nail in the coffin for this Craftsman TS…now I really have got to start saving my pennies!

Good night all, thanks for letting me vent.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

16 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4363 days

#1 posted 09-24-2009 06:33 AM

Mark Sorry for the bad news. But with a new saw then it will be good news.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#2 posted 09-24-2009 07:27 AM

I gave up on craftsman power tools years ago. I just buy there wrenches and measuring tapes because of there free replacement policy.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3784 days

#3 posted 09-24-2009 01:26 PM

Vent all you want to Mark, I feel your pain. I fought with my old Craftsman saw for over a decade and struggled to get a decent cut every time I used it. I share Jim’s philosophy on Craftsman tools.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View raymcinnis's profile


25 posts in 3171 days

#4 posted 09-24-2009 03:43 PM

Mark, what kind of TS are you considering as a replacement? Not sure, but is the General still Canadian-made? Might be a little pricey though. What sorts of options for a good used-vintage TS in Brandon? 3hp, 10” blade, good flat CI table? I guess I’m talking about an old Unisaw.

-- Raymond McInnis Washington State

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#5 posted 09-24-2009 03:48 PM

uuugghh,.. sorry to hear that. not a fun thing having to fiddle with the tools in order to make a simple cut instead of focusing on the woodworking itself.

hope you get a better replacement soon enough so that you can streamline that process and not have to worry about it. I recently upgraded mine, and never looked back.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4181 days

#6 posted 09-24-2009 04:24 PM

I worked my way through college with a part time job in the hardware department at Sears back in the late 70’s. In those days their power tools were still first-rate. But during the early 80’s, the company changed its whole philosophy regarding quality and service… and NOT for the better.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3427 days

#7 posted 09-24-2009 04:57 PM

i had to check to make sure that it wasnt ME who had posted this!

i have a craftsman TS with a lumpy table too. it’s not bad except for a spot a few inches to the right of the blade. banging it with a mallet helped a little, but i dont want to push it, even if it is just aluminum.

my “solution” was to make a thickly-based crosscut sled, use the router table since it’s much flatter (just MDF!), and to learn how to clean up cuts with hand tools – shooting boards and such.

oh well.

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4262 days

#8 posted 09-24-2009 08:09 PM

I wonder if you could remove the table top, & maybe try to get it lapped down’

I used to work in a diesel repair shop that had a large lapping table. we used to lap warp cylinder heads.

It was a two man job, pushing it back & forth.

You could possibly do it yourself on a sheet of heavy plate glass, with some grinding compound.

It just takes a little time, & patience.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4040 days

#9 posted 09-26-2009 05:43 AM

bummer news…good luck with the search…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3675 days

#10 posted 09-26-2009 03:35 PM

I bought the Craftsman partly on the reputation of their mechanics tools, as I had been making my living as a mechanic and had mostly Crafstman tools. My Dad had a RAS from Craftsman that my Mom had bought him when they first got married back in in the 50s. It was still working in 2005 when my Mom sold it…I kick myself that I didn’t buy it from her then :-(

There isn’t budget right now for a replacement saw, but I will be looking in auctions and various web pages to see if I can get a ‘once in a lifetime deal’ to replacement :-)

I thought about lapping the table and haven’t completely discounted it; my concern is that the table is probably pretty thin so there won’t be margin for flattening the table. It is also fall here so time in the shop is probably coming to a close once the cold weather sets in…and I am not sure I could work up the enthusiasm for lapping a table when it is – 20C outside LOL!

I had been hoping to buy a band saw…mow the question is replace the TS or just get a bandsaw?

I like the idea of using hand tools and am slowly acquiring good quality hand tools ( see my avatar :-) and learning how to use them. Just made myself some shooting boards and am super impressed with the control I am getting from my plane because of these. I now also appreciate the difference between a general plane and planes that have no shoulder for trimming tenons.

Thanks for all the replies!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3427 days

#11 posted 09-26-2009 05:36 PM

re: BS or TS

hmm, i dont know. it obviously depends on the work you do – if you use lots of sheet goods etc. but if I had to do it again, I’d get a BS instead. For anything the BS couldnt handle I’d just use a saber or circ saw and clean up on the shooting board – or even router w/straight bit.

i’ll be interested to hear what you decide.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3488 days

#12 posted 09-26-2009 05:59 PM

All the mechanics I know use snap on tools since they get professional service and quality from them. Craftsman hasn’t made a quality tool of any kind in a while in my opinion.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View rrdesigns's profile


531 posts in 3148 days

#13 posted 09-26-2009 06:12 PM

I would purchase a band saw before replacing the table saw. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without one. You can reduce your “lumpy” problem with a crosscut sled for now. I have used a Rikon band saw for the past 5 years and have been very happy with it. And, although pricey (their tools are worth it) you can use a Festool plunge saw for cutting panels much more easily than trying to navigate large sheetgoods through a table saw.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3675 days

#14 posted 09-26-2009 09:39 PM

Yeah Julian I know about Snap On and drooled everytime that truck rolled up to the shop. But I was a young kid barely covering my living expenses and good tools were way out of my range. The Craftsman tools got me started and I still have many of them to this day so I can’t complain. I acquired Snap On as money would allow. Mind you those tools are …I don’t wan’t to think how old those tools are now LOL!

Beth I like the idea of a cross cut sled, and that will probably be the short term solution, pesky TS has non-standard mitre slots so I will have to be clever figuring out how to slide a sled effectively.

My gut is agreeing with you AaronK and Beth, that maybe I should go with a bandsaw. My TS is really too small to cut sheet goods effectively, the sheets from my current projects were cut mainly at HD on their panel saw. I’ve been using my CircSaw to make shorter cuts on the sheet stuff.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3427 days

#15 posted 09-26-2009 11:06 PM

a tip about using the sled on craftsman TS with non-standard/T-slotted miter tracks: forget the tracks. Make the sled have its tracks stradle the entire table. Mine has extendable sides that slide out. I open them up, place the sled down on the table, then slide the sides back in and clamp them down so the sled slides tightly in the resulting “track” – does that make sense? it works really well, actually, and will do better than those awful t-slot tracks.

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