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What good is a table saw if you can't use it to it's full potential?

2191 Views 17 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  runswithscissors
Well I started thinking a few days ago in regards to my Table saw, it's the Hitachi C10FL hybrid table saw which is no longer in production, I purchased it new many years ago at Lowes and to this day it's been an awesome working TS, I've made a couple upgrades with a new delta fence and adding an router extension table to it but I've always refrained from using it do angle cuts and or miters as I've been using my Dewalt miter saw and the reason I've not used the TS is because it has a plastic gear housing for rotating the blade so I've never touched it but only a hand full of times due to the stories of the gears failing, so I was thinking what good is a saw if you can't use it to it's full potential with making bevels, miters etc..? If the gears break then it's time to put it out to pasture is what I'm thinking, other then a possible repair.
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You spark a good topic here. Personally, I think the fundamental issue is, or perhaps should be, how much satisfaction I get from using the tool. After all, as long as the blade goes round, it will cut wood. And many a fine project has been built with tools bordering on the primitive. But it isn't much fun.

Ultimately, I suppose it depends on what you want to do with the saw, and your expectations. Thirty years ago I replaced my Craftsman contractors saw because every time I used it it annoyed me in one way or another: either underpowered, or the terrible fence, or a miter that "almost" was OK, kickbacks. etc. etc. I replaced it thirty years ago with a new Delta Beaver cabinet saw (Canadian Unisaw) and with the Incra TS fence it still makes me smile with satisfaction every time I flip the switch. It works like the Lexus it has always been. Thirty years of that warm feeling, not to mention never a problem, is worth a lot. At least to me. I really hate to deal with a tool that I have doubts about. But then, perhaps I'm just getting old and intolerant. LOL
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I am thinking that you should be able to, if I remember your shop layout correctly, to build and use a TS Sled for nearly all of your angled cuts. You seem to be concentrating solely on making small boxes and the like, and a sled would excel with boards of that size. Other than that, a router and chamfer bit (and others) can answer many of your beveling needs as well.

As for me, I have so rarely used my TS to cut bevels, I can see where you are coming from. Many ways to skin a cat, for sure…
Use the table saw to its full potential. If a gear breaks, then worry about it. Until then, make a back up plan. Either replace the whole saw or have someone make steel gears for you if you really like the saw that much.
What good is a tool if you can't get "all the good out of it"....I use my saws for eveything, and eveything I can get out of them….That's what they're made for…My theory is: Things ain't worth a damn if it don't work right, or the way they are suppose to…...If it blows up on you, go get a Delta Unisaw…
I agree with Mike. Make sleds for exact miters etc and use the angle cuts on it as you need to . I have a Ryobi BT300 and mine will get real hard to crank up and down some times but I don't work it like that for long. I either lube it or take the slides apart and clean them so there is not a big load on the gears. If yours works freely, don't worry about it, use it for all it can do!!

I upgraded my old craftsman belt driven table saw to a Grizzly 1023sl cabinet saw for more power to cut hardwood easily. I then have to adjust the heights of support tables as the grizzly is a different height.

The craftsman was belt driven, and it had cast iron fences. Easier to move than mamma bear.

Would the right jigs, like a precise crosscut sled and miter sled fulfill your needs? Or like moving from HF to Bosch is it time to improve your production tools?
Well, the plastic may be maligned unfairly. I have an
INCA planer with a plastic helical gear and it's
a very well engineered machine from a highly
respected manufacturer.

If the durability concerns you you can sell the
saw, not use it, or use it until it breaks, if ever.
It's obviously good for what you've been using it for, and it might even be good for the things you're concerned about. A couple of options come to mind….lube the plastic gear well and use it, or remove the gear and look to find a more suitable metal replacement for it.
I had that saw too. My biggest gripe was that it wouldn't accept a full dado stack. That was a deal breaker for me. I still make miter cuts at the chop saw, just because I prefer it to the tablesaw.
I'd use it until a problem occurs and then make a decision on the cost and availability of the repairs/replacement parts. Personally, I avoid plastic gears as much as possible.
Randy, I guess you gotta ask yourself if you would Rather use the TS to make your mitered cuts, as opposed to the chop saw you've been using. I would say to make that decision first.

Then, if you would rather use the TS for miter cuts, use it for as long as possible. Like you said- its no longer in production so I would start the "New Table Saw" savings account now. Eventually something is going to break and you won't be able to fix it anyhow. right?
Mike said everything I was thinking of saying. Make you some sleds. You'll luv them better than cranking that blade around, imo. :)
I would rather wear something out & know I got my use out of it than to pretty much "give it away" at some point because I never used it. Being somewhat OCD, I always hated to tilt the arbor of my TS because it took so much time to get the angle set perfectly, then get it back to 90 perfectly. I got a Wixey digital angle gauge and don't even hesitate now. I use it to set the TS, SCMS, bandsaw, etc. It's also a level that's much more accurate than a bubble. Highly recommend it and their bit/blade height gauge, I use them both constantly.
I've never used a sled as of yet the only thing that I have used on occasions is my incra miter gauge 1000 but I'm trying to view how a sled would work for my box side miters without cranking the blade? I've seen jigs made that prop the work piece up at a 45 and you run it down that way, I think boxguy has a blog on one I may give that a try but still I think cranking the blade is my only option for miters, I'll google "using sleds to make miter cuts" and see what I come up with.

Other great points have been made, as for as keeping gears lubed I've done it a time or two but prob should stay more on top of that, other points would just be to use it normally if the gears break cross the bridge then, and as Shawnn stated I have the wixey as well so have that already taken care of.
The only difference using the table saw over the miter saw is that the Table saw would make things go by much faster, each piece would be the exact same cut, with the miter saw I'm having to match the pieces up together and make slight cut adjustments to make them match up.
In my experience, grease is a better lubricant for plastic gears than lighter oils, etc. Of course, sawdust will stick to the grease like mad. But then it will stick to most any lubricant. I wonder how the dry-lube products would work?

I bought a used cement mixer with a plastic worm gear driving a cogged ring gear. Before the job (a small one) was finished, the worm gear gave up the ghost. The cogs on the ring gear had been shaving off the worm's spiral ridges until there was nothing left. The materials simply weren't up to the task of moving that massive load.

So, yeah, I try to stay away from plastic gears as much as possible.
Dang. Duplicate post
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