Transferring Power

Have you thought about the blade on your tablesaw, or in your circular saw, and actually considered how the power of the motor is transferred to the blade?

Although the arbor is spun by the motor, the power doesn’t transfer directly from the shaft to the blade.  Instead, it is the arbor flange, and arbor washer that do the final transfer of power, and that is achieved through the tightness of the arbor nut.  Yes, yes – what is the point I hear you ask.

Simply, the more contact area there is between the arbor washer & flange and the blade, the less chance of slippage.  Not only that, but these two items also provide significant stability to the blade, especially thin kerf blades.

About the only weakness I’ve found with my powerful TS10L is the arbor washer.  It appears to have been formed by a stamping, rather than a machining process.  Over time, this has compressed / collapsed, so the contact area was reduced to a thin strip all round, and has gone from contacting on the outside edge, to a ring very much (and undesirably) closer to the centre.

So it has become time to replace.  In the first instance, I have replaced it with a very stocky, machined arbor washer.  However it has also reignited a desire to track down blade stabilisers.  They don’t seem to be very common.  CMT have some in their range, so I am trying to source them through Carbatec.  They are effectively a large arbor washer for both sides of the blade, providing excellent load transfer, and primarily significant blade stability.  They do have a drawback that they reduce the maximum depth of cut, but for cuts where that is important, you can always remove them and resort to the normal flange & washer.

Replacement washer, Original (crushed) washer, Nut

A blade stabiliser is 2-3 times the diameter of the typical arbor washer.

Episode 51 The Tablesaw

Episode 51 The Tablesaw

Grand Central Station

Been like the proverbial around here today (and will be even more so tomorrow!)

Plenty of successful eBay bidders picking up their new tools (hope everyone is happy!).
Had Carl around to have a look at my TS10L.  Not sure if he was convinced or not, but I’m a big fan of the saw – wonder if it came across!

Also (with all that going on), had a mate around with his new lathe for the first mini-turnfest.  While there was a window of opportunity, we had both lathes up and running, making plenty of sawdust & chips.

Got to use my new Tormek jigs as well, to tidy some of my chisels that needed some TLC.  It’s a slow process, so not something I plan on doing as the only sharpening method, but with an aluminium oxide wheel on a grinder for quick touch-ups during turning, and then being able to get them back to an ideal shape as required.

Tomorrow Grand Central opens again nice and early, with the last collections of tools occuring, and more excitingly, finally some real power will arrive at the shed.  No, not another tool (yet), but real green steam.  I’ve ‘made do’ for so long, running extension cords, upgrading extension cords to ones that can carry more amperage, and still struggled to run the tools I need simultaneously.  (Lights, dust extractor, air filter, tablesaw or router, stereo).

Hopefully after all this, I will again be able to restore a sense of order to the shop, and get back on track for the longer term progress.  That router table is certainly begging to be completed.

Using Timber for Zero Clearance Inserts

I’ve been discovering why timber is not used as a zero clearance insert on tablesaws.

The first problem discovered was with the anti-kickback pawls that on my table are attached to the riving knife, so they rise and fall with the blade height (which is a good thing), but the dig into the soft timber surface as you drop the blade height (pretty much doing what they were designed to do – stopping the timber moving backwards relative to the pawls), and that stops the blade height from being able to be dropped.

The second problem I discovered yesterday is that I made the inserts on a warmer day than it was yesterday, so when I went to raise the blade, the insert was binding one the blade as the whole insert was being squeezed by the now smaller hole in the tabletop, and the insert broke, being so tightly held in place.

Not even sure how a different material would react in the same circumstances (perhaps I can find one with a similar thermal coefficient of expansion to that of the tabletop). I might also look to see if I can source some of those grub screws that have the spring loaded bearing at the end and include those in the next insert.

Does go to show one other thing – despite nothing obvious having changed between one workshop session and the next, it is worth checking that the blade is spinning freely before use. It also proved useful that I leave the saw with the blade wound down and parked below the table surface, so the first job I had to do was raise the blade to the required height. If I had just left the blade exposed, and had not checked if it was spinning freely then in this case I probably would have stalled the motor, and blown a circuit breaker at best, or at worst, ripped the insert out of the table and thrown it across the room (in my general direction).

The Battle of the Blades has begun

Had an opportunity over the weekend to start running the sawblades though their paces.  There were some unexpected, and rather surprising results from the tests.  I certainly haven’t gotten through all the blades yet, but already there were some definite stand-out blades, and some that fell rather short of expectation.

Had a couple of other woodworkers around to help (and I think they were interested in seeing what the various blades could do as well), so it was a good shed day.  (It was also the fomal commissioning of the saw 🙂 )

To start off, we replaced the standard insert with a zero clearance one.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly, it minimises tearout, and secondly (and more importantly for this session), we wanted easy access to the riving knife quick release. It’s how the original insert should have been designed.  No so much the zero clearance (because the blade cannot be tilted with one – you need a different insert for each blade angle), but the opening at the back to allow the riving knife and guard to be added and removed without having to lift the insert and reach underneath each time.

Zero Clearance Insert

Riving Quick Release

Closeup view showing the riving knife quick release

Creating the hole was made significantly easier with the addition of the Pro Drill Table on the drill press.  Might sound like a bit of a sell, but I found that it really did make the drill press more functional, and particularly for this job, having the fence to keep the individual holes lined up, and of course the superior holddowns.  Ok, enough of that, I just wanted to say that it really is a good upgrade!

DrillPress Table

Of the blades themselves, I won’t do a blow-by-blow (as yet), but one surprising result was the Linbide 24 tooth ripping blade.  We were all standing back when it came to cutting the melamine sheet.  The teeth, we thought, was going to literally eat and spit out this sheet, but instead it was “I can’t believe it’s not butter” (or in this case “I can’t believe it isn’t a dedicated melamine cutting blade”) as it was the cleanest of all the blades so far (and that includes the 100 tooth ones), on both the top and bottom surfaces.  Where it came to its actual forte, ripping, it was butter (and what it was cutting went as easy as if it was butter too!)  Quite outstanding.

***Update*** btw, I also discovered why pine isn’t typically used for zero clearance inserts when there are anti-kickback pawls.  Trying to lower the sawblade (which carries the riving knife and attached anti-kickback pawls) causes the pawls to dig into the surface of the zero-clearance plate, and stops the blade from being able to be lowered.  This isn’t true for all saws obviously, as many don’t have an attached riving knife, or anti-kickback pawls either.  In my case, I will look at getting some appropriately thicknessed UHMD plastic, or in the interum some MDF cored melamine.***

Tablesaw and Fence Calibration

During the setting up of the Miter Express, I was giving some thought to the whole issue of sawblades and their different kerfs (thicknesses), the location of the arbor stop and the fence.

This may be an idiosyncrasy of left-tilt tablesaws, but with the arbor stop on the opposite side to the fence, it means the fence scale has to be recalibrated each time you change to a blade with not only a different kerf but also a different thickness body. If this holds true for right-tilt saws as well, I wonder if there is a market for a shim set you use with every blade to end up with a standard blade to fence distance.

In the meantime, I just hope the new Wixey Digital Fence gauge has an easy zeroing button like the others in the range. More research required!

Saw Alignment and Incra Miter Express

It takes some time to really set the saw up properly as I’ve discovered recently. There are so many different variables that can affect saw accuracy.

Carbatec TS10L Cabinet Saw

However, with a combination of the Deluxe Alignment Kit I got from Carbatec, and a couple of the Wixey Digital gauges (the angle gauge and the height gauge), I think I got it all set up within ridiculous tolerances. Not that I’m complaining – I love the accuracy that they have allowed me. Now if only my woodworking was that precise!

Now on top of the saw, you might recognise a rather interesting contraption – yup, I got to set up the Incra Miter Express from Professional Woodworker Supplies, and even got to make a couple of quick cuts! I was rather indecisive for a while whether to mount it on the left-hand side, the traditional side for miter gauges (and yeah, I keep switching between the US spelling and the Oz spelling – can’t be helped – the product is called a Miter gauge), or because it is a left-tilting saw, it is meant to be run in the right-hand track (so the saw when tilted doesn’t cut into it).

I decided to go the right-hand side so I can do both mitre directions (angling the fence, and tilting the blade) while using the sled. I’ll probably (and the jury is still out on this one), mount the Incra SE1000 on the Miter Express, and set up the mitre gauge that came with the saw on the left-hand side for my general purpose cuts, which will pretty much all be 90 degrees. I have a bit of Incra fence from an old SE1000, so might look at mounting that to the mitre gauge so I can still use the Incra stop.

Incra Miter Express

This is the Miter Express as I was first setting it up (and before I decided which side to use it on). It is basically a commercial version of a crosscut sled, done with typical Incra accuracy, and incorporates a Mitre gauge for precise angles.

Incra Miter Express

Here on the correct side for a left-tilt saw (and it is now cut providing zero-clearance), so the decision is made. It takes any typical mitre gague, and not just the Incra ones. Here I was using it with the one that came with the TS10L. The built-in track provides channels for hold-downs (and it comes with an Incra holddown).

All in all, it provides a very smooth way to feed your work into the blade, with good ability to secure the work and keep fingers well away from danger. I can see it getting a lot of use as I start to try to improve my box-making skills, and other precise work. Sure, you do loose some resaw height, but when you are doing precision stuff, you are less likely to need full blade height, and you haven’t lost any more than if you made your own cross-cut sled that everyone seems to recommend anyway.

I’m looking forward to bringing some results to you from this (as you can see though from the last photo, the next project has to be dust extraction!!!)

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