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Newbie Questions

1151 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  freddy1962
Hello, I'm new to woodworking, power tools and Lumberjocks. I'm taking a woodworking class at the local college and am a bit 'spatially-challenged' related to cutting to the line with the table and chop saws.

I'm in the process of dimensioning wood for my tool box project and need to rip and cross cut down to size. Not being at all facile with these power saws, I've done some hand sawing in the past, I'm not sure where the kerf of the blade is going to go when I have to make the final precise cut to size.

I don't want to screw up at this stage given all the effort I've put into jointing and planing these boards.

Any tips and insights are MUCH APPRECIATED! Thanks : )

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THe kerf will go on the side of the fence away from the cut, so the inner edge will be closest to the fence and the most distant will farthest.
The kerf always goes on the waste side of the cut. When you do your layout make an X on the waste side, so when you get to the saw, you will know which side to put the kerf.
Draw a line on the board where you want the cut and move the board with the fence until the line meets the edge of the saw blade.

Another way is to set the fence at a measurement then rip the board. Using your tape, measure from the fence to the side of the blade towards the fence. Teeth can be offset left/right. Make sure you measure to a tooth offset to the same side as the fence (typically to the right).

For crosscutting, you do the same thing but you would use the left side of the blade. You can clamp a board to the miter gauge and run it through the blade to leave a cut where the blade is. Then just line up your board.

A question does come to my mind, what kind of a class would let you use a tablesaw they have not taught you on? Not trying to be rude but it is a serious question to me. Why don't you ask your instructor to instruct you?
Thank you all … moreso Tin Man … very instructive … and you're right about the issue of 'instruction.' The class has/had about 35 people … fewer now … because the teacher-student ratio is not balanced. We were personally walked through and 'checked-off' on the table saw and received the requisite horror stories and the shop adage of 'The first and last cuts are the most dangerous' ... so while I don't feel comfortable in the techniques of the saw yet … I do feel like I can do the basic set up … square the blade and adjust it's height … and operate the saw safely … KNOCKING ON WOOD (pun intended now that I notice it). But there are too many students in the shop to get questions answered … that's why I'm grateful for the LumberJocks : )
... and the instructor is 'teaching' ... but he's going FAST … the method I'm using to make my cuts is the most basic … setting the fence at a measurement on the fence gauge and then ripping. I have several crosscutting options: miter gauge, sled, or chop saw. I't a WELL EQUIPPED shop.

But like I said, the class has moved fast … first 5 weeks (we meet once a week for 3 hours) has been used introducing the machines and how to use them, and now in the next five weeks it's essentially an open shop for people to continue working on the toolbox and/or move on to another project. The instructor says he'll be moving around the shop and working with us individually.

In any event, I'm taking it SLOW … for safety reasons … while working to figure out this very satisfying and challenging (for me) craft.

I really APPRECIATE having you guys to talk to and learn from …
Good luck to you. Don't get ahead of your teacher. SLOW is the way to go around machinery. Be safe.
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