Friday 19 October 2012

Trade Tools

This blog is fairly informal so I won't be offering carefully planned lessons and training.
I will however, do what I can to introduce and explain some of the basic equipment and skills.

Today I relied heavily on my portable table-saw.
A table-saw is a circular saw blade fixed in the middle of a flat table that requires the user to move the wood against the saw rather than guiding the saw along the wood.
Many table-saws are large and heavy giving them accuracy, stability and safety.
Others are portable and can be easily moved from place to place.
The portable units are usually much cheaper to buy and very basic in design.

The main purpose of the table-saw is to 'rip' wood.
That means cutting long pieces lengthwise along the wood's natural grain.
You can take a board and cut in into whatever width you need.
If you need a 2inch wide board but only have a 6inch wide piece, the table saw will turn what you have into what you want.
This is of great benefit if you are scrounging materials.
It's easy enough to buy exactly what you need from the store, but when you are on the hunt for salvaged wood, or want to make good use of leftovers, then the table saw will help you make the wrong size fit.

Aside from ripping, the table-saw will cross-cut wood as well.
The cross-cut is cutting the board to the length that you need it.
The lower end table-saws don't usually do a good job of this and it's best avoided whenever possible.
Though I happen to know someone who started out his career as a carpenter using only a table-saw for cross-cutting.



The table-saw also rips a range of angles on a board to bevel a board lengthwise for more complex cuts.
I don't have a good picture of this so I'll have to show you an example when I use a cut like that.
For now, it's important to know that the table-saw is responsible for the cuts that run the long length of a piece of wood.

With today's project, I only had certain sizes of boards to work with in order to suit many purposes.
The table-saw did most of the cutting while the hand-held circular saw cut long boards into manageable pieces.
A professional can use a hand-held circular saw for most of the cuts that a table-saw will make.
But for the beginner, the table-saw gives great results safely and easily.

Old table-saws are usually easy to find used for cheap or free.
These are normally good quality tools, but are cast iron and heavy.
If you think you'll need to move one around a bit, look for a portable.

For myself, wood working began in earnest when I bought my first table-saw.
It's versatile enough to allow you to experiment with different cuts and advanced wood shapes without any instruction or frustration with jagged or crooked edges.
The confidence that tools build is more important than the projects they create.
And the table-saw should be one of your first.


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