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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 01-07-2015 02:12 AM 2077 views 0 times favorited 60 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


01-07-2015 02:12 AM

Pro, amateur. really what’s the difference. I have less experience than some hobbyists yet I make a living at woodworking so am I a pro? Either way, when it comes to tools you can tell the real pro’s from the hobbyists.

For instance, I know a few pro’s that would have a fit if I were using a table saw for a cross-cut. Consequently, I hardly ever do that, there are better ways to kill yourself in your shop than crosscutting on a TS, even with a jig that took you a week to make. I measure and clamp a guide board and buzz it with a really nice circular saw, or saber saw.

Table saw is the most dangerous tool in your shop. Respect it, it’s really really quick. So quick you don’t even feel your finger or hand being detached from your arm.

I’d invest in a Saw-Stop but I’m convinced I’d go broke buying new blades for it.

So when my TS is not being used as a bench with a piece of mdf over it, I only rip with it.

I use a Freud thin kerf blade and let that blade do what I paid for, in other words don’t choke your work let the blade do the work.

Remember, cross cutting with a TS may not get you every time, but it WILL get you sooner or later.

Now can you figure out if I’m kidding or not…..no I didn’t get hurt, but thanks for asking.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.


60 replies so far

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1783 days


#1 posted 01-07-2015 02:26 AM

The difference between a pro and a hobbyist is pretty simple. The pro does it to earn money, the hobbyist is mostly doing it for enjoyment.

When it’s time to do unpleasant work such as sanding 200 lineal feet of trim the pro dives right into it and gets the job done. The hobbyist takes frequent breaks and takes all day to complete the task.

As far as cross-cutting on the saw, I’ve seen many people do it using a sled (myself included). So far, I’ve never heard of anyone injuring themselves that way.

Cross-cutting freehand or with just the fence as a guide is a different matter. People have been severely injured trying to do that.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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rantingrich

372 posts in 812 days


#2 posted 01-07-2015 02:41 AM

I agree. Seriously every time I use my TS I am literally terrified. I always have a clear head and FOCUS! I have every push devise known to man and USE THEM.

Thats what I think has kept me from being nicknamed “9 fingers”. or worse

I would go a little farther than calling it respect for my R4512 TS. It literally is terror. She’s got 100% of my attention when I am using her.

One thing I have thought about getting SAWSTOP TS is one might loosen up using it thinking your not going to have to file for disability using it. HENCE getting sloppy and unsafe. BUT the cost of replacement blades and brakes might negate that

I can assure you, my R4512 has got my full attention when I hit the start button.

BUT if I had the money I would get a sawstop tomorrow.

ALSO if you had a shop where you had employees or let others use your TS. You would be an absolute fool to not use anything BUT a SAWSTOP saws. The litigation would break your ass.

I have seen where SCHOOLS will not use anything but sawstops and for good reason.

I can see in the near future because of litigation where all TS will either have a SAWSTOP device or on of their own design.

I was skeptical about sawstop until I watched the videos and testimonials, it really is something else

-- Rich

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1402 days


#3 posted 01-07-2015 02:57 AM

JAAune hit the nail on the head with the sanding comment. I could be a pro… if I could just make myself sand

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 953 days


#4 posted 01-07-2015 03:03 AM

And screw these European saws with the sliding table. They’re so dangerous that I know a pro like you wouldn’t use a contraption like that.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#5 posted 01-07-2015 03:12 AM

This is the first time I’ve ever heard the taboo on cross-cuts via table saw. Seriously. If it can only rip, how can it be the ‘cornerstone of every shop’ as I’ve read so many times here on LJs?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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ShaneA

6476 posts in 2065 days


#6 posted 01-07-2015 03:16 AM

Seems to me, that if you use the saw properly on a cross cut, it would present less danger than ripping. Probably have fingers closer to the action on rips, and kick back is a factor with rips. As long as you aren’t cross cutting long boards, or using the fence improperly on cross cuts, I see them as way less dangerous.

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


#7 posted 01-07-2015 03:22 AM

I was only kidding about that Smitty. I just don’t have a use for cross cuts that my mitersaw or circular saw can’t handle. But then again I’m the kind of guy who removes the riving knife and shield I just want a spinning blade and a fence. Plus I mainly rip pine and cedar. I never felt comfortable with a cross cut, miter or not. I know just how quickly things can go awry. I’m not that concerned with my safety as I am about ruining my work though. I keep my hands well away from that blade.
I darn near cut off my pinkie on my left hand while bringing a 1/2” wide dado through a new zero clearance insert. I put a 4×4 piece of cedar over the insert to hold it but the blade caught it and before I knew what happened, my left hand was a bloody mess. Never felt any pain it happened so fast.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


#8 posted 01-07-2015 03:26 AM

Shane, I’ve found that the miter saw gives a much more accurate cross cut than the TS does. Unless you cut small pieces. Most of the pieces I’d cut are long and tend to bounce no matter how tight you hold it to the miter. Sometimes even a knot will try and make it turn on you. The miter saw holds the work against the direction of the blade so it wont throw your work or bind. Wish I had gotten the sliding DeWalt, I had the money, I just got cheap.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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rantingrich

372 posts in 812 days


#9 posted 01-07-2015 03:27 AM

Seems to me many first timers fall for the trap of using the RIP fence as their guide to CROSS cutting on a TS. ONE SHOULD NEVER EVER BUT the end of what ever they are crosscutting against a RIP FENCE.

Tragedy, missing teeth and fingers are sure to follow.

I say this because of a lot of ILLUSTRATIONS posted on many manuals about cross cutting using their TS.

-- Rich

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Loren

8314 posts in 3114 days


#10 posted 01-07-2015 03:27 AM

An interesting discernment in pro work is cuts get planned
and they get done. There is little fussing about what’s the
best tool for the job, the tools on hand best set up for
the task get used. The cutting is a minor part in the
larger scope of a job and the pro knows about cutting and
gets it done.

The lack of recommendation for stroke sanders is a glaring
oversight in almost everything I’ve read about transitioning
from hobbiest to pro as a cabinetmaker. Orbital and drum
sanders are jokes in comparison, no offense intended.

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NoThanks

798 posts in 995 days


#11 posted 01-07-2015 03:30 AM

If you use the saw properly you can cut any wood any direction safely.
Maybe that’s part of being a pro?

I’m not sure you can classify a pro by just doing it to make a living.
If that does make you a pro then I think there are huge skill levels of pros out there, some extremely skilled and some just so so.

In my opinion from reading your posts and projects, your not a pro, although you are gaining more experience and are on your way to being one. I don’t think making a few bucks and paying some bills makes you a pro.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#12 posted 01-07-2015 03:31 AM

Russell, I do believe you on the lost riving knife and shield, and I’m with you there. Of course, my Eisenhower-era Craftsman saw (King-Seeley) likely never had a knife or shield. But I’ve never used a saw with either, so it’d definitely take some getting used to.

+1 to everything Shane said. But then, it’s always +1 to whatever Shane says; he knows his stuff.

So now that we have those items out of the way, the question is Pro vs. Amateur. I know there are accepted definitions, but I’d say $ plus speed is the difference. Kinda like JAAune said. And with that, it’s clear: I’ll NEVER be a pro, way too slow. I can be a hobbyist, though, and make $ some day. A friend of mine once said, a hobby has to be fun and/or make you money. If it doesn’t do either, it’s not a hobby.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Paul's profile

Paul

721 posts in 1032 days


#13 posted 01-07-2015 03:34 AM

I cross cut a wrapped up bundle of at least 6 different styles of quarter round in one swipe today, 16’ of material from the mill work company we use. The client wanted samples, I obliged. A 16’ cross cut, no guide, no fence, no knife. I must be nuts. I’m putting my 2 weeks in tomorrow.

Paul

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

8314 posts in 3114 days


#14 posted 01-07-2015 03:35 AM

If you get a special set of skills under your belt, like doing
federal reproductions or whatever, and can find a market,
then the tedium of sanding ordinary cabinetmaking can
involve can be lessened. Of course one can hire a person
to do the sanding but that puts additional pressure on to
get more and bigger jobs and deal with higher general
overhead. There are avenues to going pro and still being
working wood and having fun at it, but one may wish to
think a bit strategically in terms of what skills will be needed
to get to the level of work you want to do.

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


#15 posted 01-07-2015 03:38 AM

You know that when the work comes in, you don’t sweat the small stuff. My shop is so small that many times I have to either rearrange it around my work or just use plan B. Spring and summer I make outdoor furniture primarily, but winter I do larger pieces that take more time and tonnes more room. A couple days ago I had a 10’ slab across the saw doing finish work on it, while the rest of the shop was taken up with two 6’ bookshelves. I try to choreographic the work before I get boxed in, but once the MDF goes over the TS, the saber saw and circular saws are at work. I have sanders stationed at all four corners too, lol. Good thing I’m not a big guy.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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