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Thread: Why do cabinet saws have a seperate plinth

  1. #1
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    Why do cabinet saws have a seperate plinth

    I notice my new cabinet saw and my old unisaw have a two part cabinet. They have a 6" tall plinth on the bottom then a taller cabinet bolted on top of that. Older saw had a cast iron base plinth that may have added rigidity. I do not see the modern plinths adding any stiffness to the cabinet. Why not make the cabinet 6" taller instead?
    I do see that on m y delta 12/14 saw the plinth has two factory cutouts to allow dust connections on one side or front/rear. These can be switched around by flipping the plinth upside down
    Any reason not to throw out the plinth and make a new one from 8 X 8's to make dust connenction easier.
    Bill D

  2. #2
    I'd bet it was just a way to get multiple end uses out of one cabinet size.

  3. #3
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    The plinth May be a style holdover from a time before welded steel cabinets.

    It may also just be a style, I donít see them on Euro machines....Rod

  4. #4
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    Any time you roll and edge or have a bolted joint in sheet metal you make it more rigid. You change the harmonics as well. Just have one big sheet metal box and you make a wonderful drum with possible noise amplification characteristics. I'd suspect the early cast iron base ring was there to lower the center of gravity to add stability. That and add a nice design detail to the days when they carried an art deco theme in the design.

  5. #5
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    Thinking about it some more it may also have to do with standard size metal sheets and cost for materials. Maybe 24" wide sheet is standard and the next size up is say 48? If you want a cabinet 30' tall you have a lot of waste cutting down a 48' sheet to fit. Similar to breaking down sheet goods efficiently so you use all the offcuts somewhere in the design.
    I suppose they may have not been able to bend or weld wider pieces in the past. My 1950's saw cabinet is made from four pieces all welded together in the middle of each flat side. I think my 1970's saw is only one or two pieces.
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    The plinth adds stability and rigidity as has been noted. While older saws probably had slightly heavier sheet metal than more contemporary ones, it was still sheet metal. Euro saws like Rod mentions tend to be made of heavier steel that's thicker and more structural than sheet metal. I'd characterize it more as "plate" than the sheet metal that's in the North American style saws.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    These plinths were made of cast iron, and the cabinets were always sheet metal. Delta used the same plinths for their shapers, too, and those sheet metal cabinets have completely different designs to them, with 2 doors, instead of one, and motor openings in different places. This way, the plinth gets bolted to any cabinet they make. Also, being cast iron, it was 'designed' to be more vibration dampening. Not my claim, and certainly not sure if it mattered, but .......

    They also look cool, and styling was very important in the days when art deco cabinets, and scrolled castings, and Snowflake bandsaw guides were found on many different machines from different manufacturers. Looks were important then.

    Just look at this saw from 1936 (mine). Beautiful.

    Jeff

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Any time you roll and edge or have a bolted joint in sheet metal you make it more rigid...
    This. It adds rigidity.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  9. #9
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    Because they would look silly without a plinth!

    Beautiful bandsaw Jeff!

  10. #10
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    I have no idea.

    But man that Snowflake has me thinking. There is one local tomme right now in great shape and it’s kiloing me to not buy. First I don’t have the money at the moment. Second I don’t have a big enough shop for it. Still I’d put it in storage for a day when I do if I had the money.

    Sorry thread drift, that snowflake got me all sidetracked..

  11. #11
    If we had bacon, we could have bacon and eggs, if we had eggs.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #12
    The Plinth makes it easier for old guys to sweep out the sawdust into a dust pan.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Walsh View Post
    I have no idea.

    But man that Snowflake has me thinking. There is one local tomme right now in great shape and it’s kiloing me to not buy. First I don’t have the money at the moment. Second I don’t have a big enough shop for it. Still I’d put it in storage for a day when I do if I had the money.

    Sorry thread drift, that snowflake got me all sidetracked..
    Sorry to distract you. You should buy it. Just so you know, they not only look good, but they are OUTSTANDING bandsaws. Mine is a 1936, and has 18" resaw, and once you go through them, they resaw perfectly.
    Jeff

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    Because they would look silly without a plinth!

    Beautiful bandsaw Jeff!
    Can't argue with that...........Rod.

  15. #15
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    Got it out of my truck and on my 12/14 saw the plinth is three pieces two corners and a U-shaped piece for two corners. It adds no strength. But the rolled edge of the bottom of the top base cabinet does add strength. For me the math works better if I replace the 6" plinth with 4x4's and raise it up a few more inches on a mobile base.
    Bill D.

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