Cutting square ends

Kinks and possible issues that lead to frustration

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Cutting square ends

Postby MikeDaum » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:06 pm

I am having trouble cutting square ends in 5/8" and 3/4" stock (only parallel to the blade). I've tried pine, poplar, and soft maple. The crosscut blade is in perfect condition. I've adjusted the blade 90 degrees to the table using several different methods. The cuts through the poplar sub-fence indicate 90 degree cuts when checked with a square. I even changed the angle in every increment up to 94 degrees (in both directions) just to see if the obvious deflection of the blade through the cut can can be altered. No change as observed in the photo.

Image

The deflection is always in the same spot; it starts about 3/32" from the top edge of the workpiece (about 4/5ths through the cut). I feel no unusual resistance at any point when making passes at any point in the cut.

I've also adjusted the blade height with each pass, using as little as 1/64" and many passes to complete the cut. The workpiece is clamped tight to the fence with cork-faced trap clamps, and I'm certain it is not moving at all. I've gauged this with scribed witness marks, and stop blocks in addition to the trap clamps.

The crosscuts are dead accurate square (photo).

Image

Any ideas?

Thanks!
Mike
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Postby John » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:17 pm

Mike;

If you are getting consistent results, correct accordingly.

I HATE static setups and never use them. Make a correction to the blade angle based on the cut, not the setup and let us know how this works. We have the same thing here--the blade is too thin for static setups.

John
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Postby John » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:38 pm

Mike:

I just re-read my post and did not mean to be short. That said, I really do hate static setups.

But there may be a couple of other contributing factors leading to your results.

Check to see that that the blade guides (blue against black) are tight.

Make sure the keel is locked. I can't tell you how many times I have sawn away and forgot to tighten the keel. I always felt like an idiot when this happened--deservedly so I must say.

Also, if you are using our super thin blade, we KNOW this will follow grain density changes and only recommend it for thin stock--where it rocks.

I have noticed at times (not always) that I can create "drift" by being too aggressive, although it sounds like you have ruled this out.

Lastly, if the set of the saw is off, the saw will follow the path of least resistance and create similar results--which would make it really easy for me to blame somebody else...

Whenever I have encountered this, I corrected my blade angle accordingly and got great results. Let us know, and call me if you need further clarification or help. The only exception is super dense woods where I could tell the blade was struggling regardless of what I tried. (Remember, it is after all, a hand saw.)

Your perfect 90 degrees to table travel is as expected so that is good.

--John

1-800-253-3332
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Postby NevinAnderson » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:02 am

Mike,

I had the same experience calibrating my saw. I found that the amount of change in the saw angle needed to correct the out of square shown in your picture is very slight, 1/2 degree or less. This is difficult to set exactly. Perhaps this is another use for playing cards! Get the cut close, set the stop on the correct side so that you can insert a card between the stop and the traveler to nudge the saw in the correct direction, push the traveler back against the stop with the card in place, tighten the keel lock knobs, make a second cut. Once the saw blade is dead on, move the stop tight against the traveler.

I found as John stated that from day to day a 90 degree setting might not remain true and needs resetting.

Regards,
Nevin
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Postby John » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:50 pm

Mike/Nevin;

Nevin is correct, fine tuning to a specific angle involves minute adjustments. HOWEVER...

There is another culprit that can cause grief and that is the sacrificial fence. If you have a clean kerf in the fence and need to make a minute adjustment, the kerf in the fence (which is inaccurate) can "correct" your adjustment (bends the blade) so all you seem to be doing is making the same inaccurate cut over and over. This is really likely to happen as the blade dulls.

Here is what I do when angles are critical (compound miters for example).

I make sure that my sacrificial fence has plenty of "headroom" for the blade-meaning under no circumstance does the blade come in contact with the fence throughout the complete cut.

Using aircraft ply (available at most hobby shops) which is about 1/16" thick, I place this in front of the sacrificial fence and make cut after cut until my kerf (angle and depth) matches my angle reference (typically a t-bevel). The reason I like this stuff is that I can make full depth cuts in a single pass.

Now I know I am cutting true.

I am out of town at the moment but when I get back I will do a video showing dead on set-ups.

Hope this helps.

John
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Square cuts

Postby MikeDaum » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:00 pm

John/Nevin,

Thanks for the insight. Before I got to read your posts, I tried removing the standard included crosscut blade I've been using and replace (the same blade) back in the guides. I also did just as John suggested and widened my fence kerf so it could not possibly interfere with the cut. I now have a 90 degree cut. Once I was getting consistently good cuts, I moved the fence to create a zero clearance kerf and all is well.

The acrylic cursor is angled quite a bit to mark my new 90 degree setting, but I'll manage with it.

Thanks for your help!
Mike
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Postby John » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:54 pm

Mike-

Glad you are getting square cuts--amazing when you think about it isn't it? It's unbelievable to think that with proper setup one can cut perfect compound miters by hand without juice? I still can't get over this...

That said, please do me a favor and report back;

Push both tables forward about half way and sight down to the keel where it is attached to the top of the front traveler. Does the keel appear centered on that top traveler surface? Your cursor may be tilted because of this--does not effect a thing other than your (and now my) piece of mind.

I am just curious--field reports are incredibly helpful so keep them coming and thanks in advance.

Oh, one last thing--listening to any good music while you work?

John
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Cursor

Postby MikeDaum » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:13 pm

John,

There is a 1/32" difference from center of the keel on the front traveler (photos).

Image

Image

It doesn't appear that making the keel perfectly centered would change my tilted cursor all that much.

Image

I can try to adjust it if you think it would help.

One curious note: While cutting dovetails today (dozens of them I might add) I noticed in the set-up that the pin cuts were not cutting square to the end of the board with the new 90 degree setting, so I changed the angle back to the setting I originally set at 90 degrees. This produced the square cuts.

I'm in total agreement that static settings for this saw are truly unreliable (as you duly noted in another post). Test cuts to determine the desired angle are paramount in this tool.

Back to listening to some Bob Marley while I cut some more tail boards.

Thanks!
Miike
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Postby John » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:53 am

Mike:

None of the 8 prototypes we built included a protractor guide because we always check the cut. The protractor was added because it was the number one question people asked.

As you know, the saw will cut to your intent--if you check your cuts. Only then do we set the finger stops if it is an angle we will use repeatably.

These are the steps necessary when using a blade this thin.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

John
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Black blade guide adjustment.

Postby rwest » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:34 pm

I've been having trouble getting good cuts off of my saw, and noticed that the blade was moving left and right while I was sawing. I raised the blade fully and loosend the blue blade guide and found there was a good gap between the blade and the black guide at the rear and that having the blue guide tight against the blade was flexing it to touch the black guide. I had the black guide flush with the outside of the spine guide and my spine guides were flush with the keel per the instructions. so I loosened the black guide in the back and pushed it in to touch the blade, and then I set the blue guide into place and tightened it. That solved the blade moving problem and my cuts have improved, though I still need practice!
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Postby John » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:21 pm

Rutager;

Your experience does not make sense to me. Give me a call when you get a chance--1-800-253-3332

John
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Postby John » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:26 pm

For the benefit of others reading this post, I spoke with Rutager today and now understand what he was experiencing.

The manual clearly states that the black blade guide should be flush with the sides of the spine guides. For whatever reason, Rutager claimed that when he did this, the guide was pushing on the blade instead of acting like a guide.

He adjusted the guide and all is well--except not for me. I asked him to clamp a 6" pocket rule in each end of the spine and align the blade guide to the rule faces. I want to know how "non-flush" this part is with the spine guides.

FYI

--John Economaki
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6" pocket rule in blade spine

Postby rwest » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:29 pm

John'

When I put the ruler into the spine and tightened the screws, it appeared like it was angling away from 90 degrees toward the blue guide. so I removed it and ran the spine to up to the black guide and then sighted down and lined the edge of the spine groove up with the edge of the black guide. the black guide is just slightly in from being flush, a 64th or less. I will spend some more time on it and report back.
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