Experiences with mini table saws?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Eriksen, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. Eriksen

    Eriksen

    145
    Sep 18, 2005
    Are there any mini table saws which may be suitable for cutting knife handle scales?
     
  2. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    821
    Apr 17, 2017
    How “Mini ”, are you thinking, portable like job site , or more like micro ?
    Any of the smaller, portable job site models will do the job. I’ve used all the major brands from the past 40 years, my favorite is an old,old Makita because it was designed for 7.25” blades and it’s been in service since the early 80’s. A thin kerf blade really saves some wood. A partial sheet of plywood over it when not in use gives you another work table top to use also, if pushed for space.
     
  3. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    In my experience, the little 4" table saws are grossly underpowered. At least mine is.
     
  4. FredyCro

    FredyCro Basic Member Basic Member

    650
    Jan 11, 2019
    If you have the place just go for a entry type table saw, will cost you around 150 Eur and it has enough power/height even for harder wood. My Einhell runs a 300mm saw can cut up to 8cm height and has 2kw. I just need to get a saw with more teeth (50+) to have finer cuts.

    Edit: You could mount it without legs and table extensions on a work bench if you have place.
     
  5. SS369

    SS369

    187
    Nov 29, 2015
    The challenge with cutting/ripping scale materials on a table saw is blade flex and vibration under load. You will get a few good cuts with a new sharp blade and then it will start to cut slower and the cut surface will show steadily worsening blade and burn marks. Once that starts to take place it is downhill from there. It is inherently dangerous as well.
    I have a cabinet saw with a special set up that I do use for this, but I replace the blade often. (Carbide tipped).
    I have a DEWALT portable saw that I have used in a pinch, but not loving it with stabilized woods.
    I wish that I could get some wood cutting blades for my Milwaukee Portaband locally.
     
  6. Eriksen

    Eriksen

    145
    Sep 18, 2005
    I saw this video and that saw could cut aluminum with only 96W, and I can´t believe that it´s true.
     
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
  8. Hubert S.

    Hubert S. Gold Member Gold Member

    753
    Dec 14, 2019
    The portable job site saws will work ok, but I would not expect to cut a piece of wood in half and get two scales ready for glue-up. If you plan on cutting thin scales, make sure you can buy or make a zero clearance insert for the saw.
     
  9. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    668
    Jun 15, 2012
    Best value in its class. I have the predecessor. The rack and pinion fence on the Dewalt is fantastic. That is an extremely good price in Stacy's link. Go for it.
     
  10. CasePeanut

    CasePeanut Gold Member Gold Member

    583
    May 25, 2018
    I’ve never used a mini table saw before. What can you do with a mini table saw that you couldn’t do with a portaband?
     
  11. FredyCro

    FredyCro Basic Member Basic Member

    650
    Jan 11, 2019
    I think the question was primarily posted because the OP wants to cut logs/bigger wood pieces into scales.
     
  12. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    821
    Apr 17, 2017
    I don’t think I have ever seen a $73 Dewalt at Home Depot? That would be a hella good price!
     
    Scaniaman likes this.
  13. RayseM

    RayseM Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    If that's all you expect to do (or mostly all) I highly recommend a bandsaw. Much much safer and very efficient at resawing compared to any table saw.

    BIG EDIT - ADDED INFO - and OPINIONATING :rolleyes:

    Ripping from small billets is much safer on the bandsaw. You can hand plane a bit of flat on one side and a bottom to keep from rolling for the 1st cut - OR - hot melt glue the billet to a right angle jig that can hold it safely for a few cuts. You can notch the jig to accommodate irregularities in the billet.

    Cutting/ripping smaller pieces - a knife handle block - in two, is absolutely best done on a bandsaw of you use a machine. VERY DANGEROUS to try to rip safely any piece of wood on a table saw that is as small as a knife handle - without jigs and vigilant situational awareness. My own rule is never pass any piece of wood between a fence and a table saw blade that is not at least 6" longer than the exposed blade width. That is the minimum to keep constant control over your piece and not have it be "trapped" at any time completely between the blade and the fence.

    I used table saw nearly every day BUT for the ripping and scaling down of solid wood I will always go to the bandsaw first. Carbide bandsaw blades are good for lots of heavy ripping and/or resawing. Then you also have the option of scaling down the size of the BS blade for more delicate work. NO burning, no high speed lumber throwing, greatly - greatly reducing the chance of injury.

    As with all tools you need to be aware of its limitations and the potential for injury. Keep your wits about you and don't take chances.

    All this to reiterate my bandsaw recommendation. Forget the table saw unless you are cutting plywood or needing to rabbet or tenon A LOT.

    My 2¢ based on 35+ years as a professional woodworker.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
    CasePeanut and DanF like this.
  14. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Dan,
    Sorry, I posted a link to another site which is one of several who list the saw at $73.
    Home Depot has the 10" Dewalt at $369.
    I don't see any difference in the spec sheet on the two.
     
    DanF likes this.
  15. Eriksen

    Eriksen

    145
    Sep 18, 2005
    The DW745 on 230V here in Norway costs $620.- so that offer you refer to is a real bargain or maybe a fraud.
     
    LCoop likes this.
  16. noseoil

    noseoil

    389
    Apr 24, 2013
    The cheaper 10" saws are typically "motorized" saws, meaning they are direct drive saws with the blade attached to the motor's output shaft. A Ryobi, Makita, Dewalt saw like this will work fine if it has a good, sharp carbide blade & is used within it's capabilities. For slicing scales from logs & large irregular blocks, a band saw with a skip tooth blade would be a better choice.
     
  17. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux

    Mar 4, 2006
    I just use my 10" Rockwell table saw (1.5 hp belt driven). The newer blades have a thinner kerf. To make things a bit safer, I like to use 2 sided tape to attach small pieces to a larger piece of wood. The tape I use is made for wood working, holds well, but is easily taken apart when done. Also use it to attach sand paper to make sanding blocks.
     
  18. Outdoor Gear Dad

    Outdoor Gear Dad Gold Member Gold Member

    188
    Jun 1, 2019
    So is a table saw better for breaking down scales then a band saw? I’m torn between which one to get.
     
  19. FredyCro

    FredyCro Basic Member Basic Member

    650
    Jan 11, 2019
    I use the band saw for final cuts and table saw for cutting up stumps in smaller pieces. If you buy your handle material prepped you don't need a table saw IMHO. If you you bought or found stumps or logs or similar to save money on the handle material and need a faster way to do it, you will like the table saw.

    Also if you have a powerful band saw with enough cutting height you don't need the table saw either.
     
  20. Outdoor Gear Dad

    Outdoor Gear Dad Gold Member Gold Member

    188
    Jun 1, 2019
    Yeah I wouldnt be cutting stumps. Mainly what I am needing is a saw to cut already prepped blocks to size. Also when I am cutting the scales out I currently use my portaband saw but it doesn’t take curves well. So feel like a nice band saw would be able to do both.
     
    FredyCro likes this.

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