Band saw stand & shop update

I recently bought a new band saw (from Woodcraft in St Louis)  but it didn’t come with a stand so I built one from scrap 3/4 plywood and some 2x4s.  I originally wanted to have the saw up on casters so it could be mobile but I haven’t added them yet because I have plenty of room at the moment for it.  I can always add them as time goes on.  The Rikon saw I bought is a 10″ model so its footprint is small but works for what I need and Rikon covers it with a five year warranty which is awesome.  Anyway so the stand is jointed using my Kreg pocket hole jig and some coarse thread 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 screws.  The joints are so strong you don’t need any glue.  If this were more of a heavy duty stand I would have used more screws and added glue.  The saw only weighs 70lbs so I’m confident this will work nicely.

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This was where the saw was before the stand. Not exactly easy to use.

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As for the shop well its been growing as far as tools go.  I’m adding pieces here and there as I get more cash.  My mother&father-in-law gave me a gift card to Harbor Freight and I grabbed up some much needed items like files, router bits, a digital caliper, clamps, a Japanese flush cut saw, and a few other things.  That place is cool but just know that not all their items are made with quality in mind.

Oh yeah this little beauty saves a lot of time when changing angles on the tablesaw.  Its a digital angle gauge.  First you zero it out on the table top then stick it to the blade and start tilting it.

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Rikon 10″ band saw 10_305

I picked up the new Rikon band saw tonight from Woodcraft.  Many people said this was the same as the craftsman saw.  They look the same but they are different.  The craftsman is not nearly as sturdy and stout.  Motor is the same and some other components are.  Rikon has a five year warranty though and I’ve heard the customer service is great. 

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The dog and cat needed to be sure it was ok first.  I’ll get some time this weekend to test it out.  Stay tuned for an update.

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Track saws avoid chip out

I’ve been reading about the benefits of track saws vs. traditional circular saws with a straight edge ever since I built my laundry/mud room organizer.  When I built the organizer all I had was a Skill saw /w a 40 tooth blade.  I cut the plywood into pieces on the garage floor using 2x4s to support work.  What I didn’t know at the time was how bad the chipout would be.  I didn’t know anything about blades and that the higher number of teeth the cleaner the cut.  I tell you it made a mess of the veneer coating on the oak plywood I bought.  The veneer split 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch away from the cut.  I ended up sanding and painting the project and it came out ok.

Since then I’ve watched a lot of Youtube videos and found that I needed to backup the cut and use a better blade.  I recently bought a 7 1/4″ 60-tooth carbide tipped blade for my little skill saw and made a jig yesterday like the one shown here to ensure a clean cut.  It basically a home made track saw.  It works much better than without it because its a zero clearance cut because the jig supports the cut as the blade cuts the wood.  

Track saws are even better than homemade jigs like this one.  They use a metal track and specially designed saw that plunges through the workpiece then rides along the track.  It also uses the same principles as the homemade jigs do too.  They support the cut and has a zero clearance blade edge so it almost completely avoids chip out.  They also have a built-in clamping system to which keeps the clamps out of the way.  A lot of track saws exist now but only recently have they become more affordable.  Two of those are here; Grizzly T25552 & Scheppach CS55.  They are both $179.95 (saw only) or as a kit /w tracks for $245 – $265.

I haven’t bought one yet but they sure would make things easier.  Here’s a video that shows  the benefits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwbTnLNEOPM

Check out “Menards” – Lowes/HD competition

So today was my first trip to a hardware/home improvement store called “Menards”.  They recently opened a store in my area and I must say Home Depot and Lowes have some real competition now.

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I’m a hobbyist woodworker and on a budget (like most).  I was impressed by the selection of not only tools like the bandsaw linked here 10″ Masterforce Band Saw at Menards but the hardwoods available.

I don’t have a jointer or planer so I need to be able to get pre-milled woods and they have them.  Everything is individually shrink wrapped and ready to go.  All sides planed, jointed and sanded.  They store all of it indoors so as not to suffer from humidity changes.  Now you will pay a premium for this type of wood however its a big time saver over woods that are only finished on one side and on one corner.  So until I invest in a planer and jointer this will work well for me.

Also they have many different types of furniture grade and cabinet grade plywoods in stock in 2×2, 2×4 and 4×8 sheets.  I’ve been looking for Baltic Birch plywood for making jigs and such; they have it.  I didn’t see any melamine plywood though which is a bummer because that stuff makes for awesome sleds for tablesaw and router tables due to its smooth coating on both sides of the ply.

I would like to know if anyone knows about the quality of the “Masterforce” tools.  I’ve not found a lot of info about them vs. the competition.  I’m shopping for a bench top bandsaw and a drill press.  The press for making mortises and the bandsaw for all sorts of curved cuts where a jigsaw won’t work.