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Thread: Cabinet saw or slider for a hobbyist?

  1. #46
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    All right, I will chime in as 'not all the way there on the sliders'. As with most things, how you use things, and tool philosophy plays into so some context for me:

    I am a hobby user. Make a variety of things including house projects (not just furniture, picture frames but also siding, shed, etc).
    For years I had various forms of cabinet saws
    2 to 3 years ago I switched to a Minimax CU300 combo machine. This is a 5.5 ft slider
    Some of my comments pertain to the combo machine, not the sliding TS specifically
    Also had an accident using a dado on a cabinet saw (still have all my digits, but there was some damage done)
    So the safety aspect does play into for me. I like the sawstop concept (not joining the endless debate), and I like 'some' of the safety features of the slider.

    I AM STILL VERY MUCH ON THE LEARNING CURVE. So there are ways to do all these things, I just need to learn them. But that takes time away from doing projects and given I have limited time to spend on the hobby, I like to be efficient when shop time presents itself.

    The slider fits in my shop. But the sliding table takes up more floor space, and I find myself putting the table on and off more than I would like. It doesnt 'store' well, so usually just sits on top of the saw when off (and has a leg that makes this cumbersome). It is not light, somewhat awkward to handle, and is just a bit of a pain if you have to take it on and off a lot. Wish I had a place to hang it when not on, but I dont.

    On the combo machine, in order to use the J/P, the table saw rip fence has to come off. This irks me. (again combo specific).

    With the table on, I love the flip stops and repeating cross cuts. Very efficient and repeatable. But I had a nice home made sliding cross cut sled on my cabinet saw that had this feature.

    The slider is hands down better for squaring panels or sheet goods.

    The CU300 fence is not the greatest in terms of smoothness of operation and repeat ability. I had gotten to the point where I could trust the measuring rule on the cabinet fence, but not there on the MM

    Dado - I have used the MM with a dado. The concern I have is that I still havent made zero clearance inserts for this. In fact lack of this was in part what caused my injury. I think it is possible to make them, but I think it will be aluminum and require countersunk screws, etc. This is a project to be done.

    In general your fixtures will be obsolete.

    A handful of times I have used the slider with a supporting sled to handle smaller pieces, tapers, custom fixture, etc. This puts the workpiece higher than the table near the blade area. Seems to lose precision (at least the way I am doing it)

    I have the slider fence in front, and push the workpiece against the fence from behind. Opposite what I do on the cabinet saw. This works fine, but when making a precision cut to a mark, I like to lean over the saw with it off and position the board to the mark right at the blade tooth. This is a stretch on the slider

    I used to make tenons with a tenoning jig on the tablesaw. This jig doesnt work on the slider. I now make tenons other ways (which I dont like as well, but will get there, these days I just cut them by hand)

    I had an incra precision miter on the cabinet saw. The slider fence has no indexing for angles, so repeat angle cuts are not as easy to do. Plus I would swap to the right miter slot often (things like picture frame corners). Cant do this on the slider.

    The scoring blade on the MM is tough to raise up and down. Just a poor mechanism imo. Then the belt came off on me, and I havent put it back on. When it was working it DID help reduce tearout. But I am thinking of trying the track saw approach to sheet goods.

    Dust collection is a wash between them.

    Most of this is likely something I havent learned how to do yet. But lack of knowledge is real, so worth considering (heck if I were more skilled I would do more with hand tools, which is happening over the years).

    Net net.... I am not ready to give up the slider yet. Am going to continue to build my experience with it. But, after 3 years, cannot say it is a slam dunk in terms of preference over the table saw - I was pretty efficient with the cabinet saw! Could easily switch back and not lose any sleep.

    So if you have always 'yearned' to try a slider, try it! 3 years into the experiment for myself and I dont think I would miss it to switch back to the cabinet saw.

    (aiyai yai that got long, my apologies just trying to share some specifics to make it more useful)
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 09-03-2018 at 9:25 AM.

  2. #47
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    Carl, just to clear up something when you say table do you mean the outrigger that attaches to the sliding table?

    Have you made and used a Fritz & Franz jig?
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    Carl, just to clear up something when you say table do you mean the outrigger that attaches to the sliding table?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    Have you made and used a Fritz & Franz jig?
    Yes, kinda, but I need a better one.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Wasner View Post
    If you're using the fence to rip, the slide part really doesn't matter though.
    I disagree. If you use a Fritz und Franz jig in conjunction with the fence, you're not standing behind the piece and you don't need push sticks. No danger to you from kickback or hands getting too close to the blade. Also, I can rip a board into thin strips much faster this way on my slider than I could have on a cabinet saw.

    There may be some situations where the cabinet saw would be faster - like one-off operations where you just set the fence and go - but the slider is only slightly slower in those situations.

    For the OP, here are a couple of slider videos you should watch:

    https://youtu.be/L8JR_fD-dMI

    https://youtu.be/Q0PyFjtSHrE

    The second one is from a guy (SMC member, I think) who has numerous introductory videos about how to use a slider. You would do well to check out his channel.

    Good luck with your decision.


  5. #50
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    A few thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    ...The slider fits in my shop. But the sliding table takes up more floor space, and I find myself putting the table on and off more than I would like. It doesnt 'store' well, so usually just sits on top of the saw when off (and has a leg that makes this cumbersome). It is not light, somewhat awkward to handle, and is just a bit of a pain if you have to take it on and off a lot. Wish I had a place to hang it when not on, but I don't...
    The best outrigger storage I have seen is to hang it against a wall with either the leg at the ceiling, or the leg at the floor. It would take some strength to lift a CU300 outrigger over your head. With a little creativity and a jig saw the outrigger 'leg' could slide under a cabinet, with the outrigger perpendicular to a wall. Then it would only take up a few inches of wall space. Another option might be to build a cart that holds the outrigger in its normal orientation, and the cat could double duty as a materials cart, or as a place to hold all your other combi machine gadgets, measuring devices,...

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    On the combo machine, in order to use the J/P, the table saw rip fence has to come off. This irks me. (again combo specific).
    Yep. At a minimum you can just disconnect the fence (one lever) and leave it in place to the right of the blade. I have the Euro jointer guard, and that does require removing the TS fence rail in order to flip the Euro guard out of the way on the rare occasion I need a lot of space to the right of the blade, which is an annoyance, but only takes a minute.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    The CU300 fence is not the greatest in terms of smoothness of operation and repeat ability. I had gotten to the point where I could trust the measuring rule on the cabinet fence, but not there on the MM
    Also an annoyance. I'm thinking a $100 Wixey DRO for the fence would fix that problem. Mounting a plastic sight on the bottom of the fence mount would allow you to dial in the right side CU300 fence accurately, but that fence is so heavy that the plastic probably wouldn't survive the first hard bump.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    I have the slider fence in front, and push the workpiece against the fence from behind. Opposite what I do on the cabinet saw. This works fine, but when making a precision cut to a mark, I like to lean over the saw with it off and position the board to the mark right at the blade tooth. This is a stretch on the slider
    I built a flat jig out of 1/2" MDF with a runner that drops into the slider's groove. Cut the MDF on the first pass. Now I have a reference (MDF edge) of exactly where the blade will cut something. Same thing on the Fritz and Franz jig. Make it 'too wide', then cut it. Now the right edge of the Fritz and Franz jig is exactly where the cut will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    The scoring blade on the MM is tough to raise up and down. Just a poor mechanism imo.
    Yep, I agree.

    There are other annoyances of the MM CU300 combo machine, like having to remove the shaper head to make almost any kind of saw cut.... It takes a few minutes to switch some functions. In retrospect, for me, I wish I had bought 3 seperate machines: saw, J/P, shaper. The cost would have been about double for the machines, then a bunch more for extra ductwork.
    Mark McFarlane

  6. #51
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    Feel free to delete if this is progressing too far off topic, but I find that specific details are helpful in these discussions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W Evans View Post
    I disagree. If you use a Fritz und Franz jig in conjunction with the fence, you're not standing behind the piece and you don't need push sticks.

    Lets say I have a relatively wide board (6-8"), 18" long, and I want to rip 4 or 5 strips off (1/2" to 1" strips). I want all the strips to be the same width. (roughing in picture frame strips as example). So need some way to index the width of the strip. And I want the edges parallel.

    My first thought is to clamp it in the FF jig, set the fence with a spacer block to touch off. Then run through sliding the table. But the FF jig clamps the end of the board, so as the stock becomes narrower there is risk of it not being parallel any more. And less area to hold it.

    I guess my current learning curve would be to set the fence same as the cabinet saw, then just push it through (sliding the table). Since the board is pushed with the table, and then between the fence and blade, once the strip cuts off the blade will send it back at you (if you are standing in front of the saw, but you arent... still it shoots out). Yes I am not behind it. But any time wood is flying unconstrained imo is a safety concern (not to mention dinging up the piece you are cutting)

    Or just as likely I would just use the fence and a push stick the same as I would on a cabinet saw.

    What am I doing wrong?
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 09-03-2018 at 11:02 AM.

  7. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W Evans View Post
    I disagree.
    How small can you go clamping to the slider?

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark mcfarlane View Post

    I built a flat jig out of 1/2" MDF with a runner that drops into the slider's groove. Cut the MDF on the first pass. Now I have a reference (MDF edge) of exactly where the blade will cut something.
    Yes, this is high on my list to do. Still not a fan of raising the workpiece off the table surface (once the cut is made the cutoff drops down). One aspect I liked about the sliding crosscut table on the cabinet saw is that the cutoff doesnt move.

    Hmm... now that I think about it the same design could be used on the slider, the interim sled going all the way to the cutoff side of the blade.

    I am not advocating one way or another and have no bone in this argument of which is 'better'. Simply offering some of my personal observations (limited by lack of knowledge and skill, conceded).
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 09-03-2018 at 11:04 AM.

  9. #54
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    I have never clamped anything to the slider using the F&F jig, to me the F&F jig is the clamp and does the job well. I also removed the full length rip fence and use a very short length (200mm long) attached to the rip fence head as the measuring stop. My comments are from using a K3 Hammer.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark mcfarlane View Post
    A few thoughts:



    I built a flat jig out of 1/2" MDF with a runner that drops into the slider's groove. Cut the MDF on the first pass. Now I have a reference (MDF edge) of exactly where the blade will cut something. Same thing on the Fritz and Franz jig. Make it 'too wide', then cut it. Now the right edge of the Fritz and Franz jig is exactly where the cut will be.
    My brain refuses to visualise that, can you expand a bit on it. Thanks.
    Chris

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parks View Post
    My brain refuses to visualise that, can you expand a bit on it. Thanks.
    IMG_3690.jpg

    Hi Chris. I made this yesterday to trim up some shaker doors.

    I wanted to trim off the over-length rails and just skim the stiles so I'd have a nice door edge. The right edge of the MDF is the cut line, so I just slid the doors to the right until the stiles were overhanging a few thousands of an inch, then did the opposite side, sing a stop to ensure each door is exactly the same size as its partner.
    Mark McFarlane

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    Lets say I have a relatively wide board (6-8"), 18" long, and I want to rip 4 or 5 strips off (1/2" to 1" strips). I want all the strips to be the same width. (roughing in picture frame strips as example). So need some way to index the width of the strip. And I want the edges parallel.

    My first thought is to clamp it in the FF jig, set the fence with a spacer block to touch off. Then run through sliding the table. But the FF jig clamps the end of the board, so as the stock becomes narrower there is risk of it not being parallel any more. And less area to hold it.

    I guess my current learning curve would be to set the fence same as the cabinet saw, then just push it through (sliding the table). Since the board is pushed with the table, and then between the fence and blade, once the strip cuts off the blade will send it back at you (if you are standing in front of the saw, but you arent... still it shoots out). Yes I am not behind it. But any time wood is flying unconstrained imo is a safety concern (not to mention dinging up the piece you are cutting)


    Or just as likely I would just use the fence and a push stick the same as I would on a cabinet saw.

    What am I doing wrong?
    What you're describing would work on a slider, but this is where learning new methods of work comes in.

    First, the fence on a slider moves forward and back, so instead of using a spacer block just pull the fence back to the front of the blade. Since there is no fence to keep the cutoff piece in contact with the blade, I don't see how you'd have kickback.

    Second, you'd be surprised how little material you need captured in the F&F jig to keep things lined up. The fence will keep everything in line until the cut starts, at which point the blade will help keep everything lined up. The slider and the jig are moving smoothly parallel to the blade as well, so there is not much opportunity for the workpiece to get off track. Unless I'm cutting something unusually long or gnarly, 1/4" of material captured in the jig keeps things secure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Wasner View Post
    How small can you go clamping to the slider?
    Not sure what you mean by this, but ripping a 1/2" wide piece in half would be fine, depending on how long and flexible the piece is. The jig is pushing the piece through the blade, so it needs the workpiece to be rigid. If you have a wide workpiece, you can rip paper-thin strips until you get down to your last 1/4" or so.

    Watch about 4 minutes of this video, starting at 2:30. He shows the exact procedure I am describing.

    https://youtu.be/Q0PyFjtSHrE?t=2m31s


  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W Evans View Post
    1/4" of material captured in the jig keeps things secure.
    That's the info I was looking for.

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W Evans View Post
    Not sure what you mean by this, but ripping a 1/2" wide piece in half would be fine, depending on how long and flexible the piece is. The jig is pushing the piece through the blade, so it needs the workpiece to be rigid. If you have a wide workpiece, you can rip paper-thin strips until you get down to your last 1/4" or so.
    I underlined the segment above for emphasis. For the 18" example, 1/4" in the F&F jaws will hold it. For a 6' long piece of yellow pine you are going to need more in the F&F jig. Pushing the back end of the jig would likely cause a 6' long 1/4" piece of pine to flex.
    Mark McFarlane

  15. #60
    Thanks to everyone for the advice here. I ordered a slider last week. Hopefully I see it before 2019

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