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What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

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  • #31

    Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

    Speak of the absolute devil, about 30 seconds after I made my previous post I get a phonecall from my Grandpa, he says "I got sick of that flimsy piece of sh*t fence that was on the radial saw, and the dull blade too, so I replaced the fence with a piece of solid oak, and got a brand new 60 tooth blade for it too, it should be perfect for the cutting boards." Timing could not be better. Hilarious to me that he's been talking about doing this for years and just suddenly did it.

    Looks like we're using the radial saw.

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    • #32

      Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

      so now you can try the test I mentioned. make a cut near the left of a test piece. flip it like the page of a book , same edge to the fence. What this does is doubles the difference to allow you to see it easier, also you dont need a square as it will just be obvious if it's not parallel.

      Then, if it's not spot on you can adjust and repeat it until you see consistency. Part of operating a machine is keeping it adjusted and once that fence is square I really doubt you will see much variation.

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      • #33

        Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

        Squares work really good for adjustment. The large carpenters squares. Keep the one end a little above the table so a blade tooth follows it. Then also lift the end and check the horizontal blade alignment. Follow up with a smaller square with edge on the table to check for vertical alignment.

        Prior to checking things loosen up all the adjustments, clean and oil everything and move all the parts of the saw back and forth a few times to spread the oil and loosen things up. Then start with the adjustments.
        Egon
        from
        The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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        • #34

          Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

          so now you can try the test I mentioned. make a cut near the left of a test piece. fip it like the page of a book , same edge to the fence. make your second cut about 1/4" or so from the first cut.

          What this does is doubles the difference to allow you to see it easier, also you dont need a square as it will just be obvious if it's not parallel. if it's parallel you can make the cut and see the strip that you left is the same width on either end. If the strip is not cut parallel then you need to do more fine adjusting. if you like you can snap that strip in half and compare the ends. If the fence is square to the blade the two ends of that strip will be identical. the error will be double so that it's easy to see and if you need to adjust do it in minor increments and then retest.

          Then, if it's not spot on you can adjust and repeat it until you see consistency. Part of operating a machine is keeping it adjusted and once that fence is square it will stay square and youll feel the saw is reliable. these are operator level adjustments that you should know, or plan to learn, how to handle and you should check them periodically. what you dont want is to cut a lot of lumber and the realize all the cuts are made out of square beyond a reasonable allowable tolerance. what tolerance is allowed depends on how fussy the work that you are expecting is.

          I'd sight along that fence, or lay a straight edge against it, and make sure it has no bend or twist, if it does, then correct it.
          Last edited by stickman; 09-14-2021, 12:47 PM.

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          • #35

            Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

            one issue with using a circular saw for this is chipping. a circular saw does not usually have any means of backing the blade. on a RAS you cut into the sacrificial table, on a tablesaw you can make a zero clearance insert. i guess you can clamp some sacrificial wood to your workpiece but that's even more awkward and not very time efficient. The only time I'd use a circular saw for this is to rough out a cut so that I don't need to handle a whole sheet at the saw. some who have big shop areas or big slider saws can handle cutting large sheet stock, but some who are cramped may choose to hog off a piece to make that less awkward. If I need a 2 foot piece off the end of a 4x8 sheet I'd use a circular saw to make a first cut just to break it away from the full sheet. then use the tablesaw to make a more finished cut. one issue with a RAS is making a cut like that means ripping it, so I;d do the same and cut the piece close with a circular saw just so it isn't so awkward to handle and reduce chances of kickback. also I'd use a featherboard when ripping on a RAS to make it more safe, prevent kickback by having better control and keep the stock to the fence. I'd favor the tablesaw but in this case there isn't one unless he uses his neighbor's saw.

            if a cut is off a tad you can use a hand plane, or maybe a jointer or a sanding machine to clean up the roughness, you can also correct minor inaccuracies and clean up chipping from the saw blade.

            If you mess up and the piece is too short then you can glue a strip of wood on the edge and cover up your mistake, or you may want to do that on plywood or particleboard to hide the rough looking edge or hide the laminations. Sure you can use edge banding and such, but sometimes I just cut some strips about 1/8" thick and slightly wider than the plywood is thick and then glue them on. After dry, you can trim them to the same plane as the stock with a card scraper. I just put masking tape on the plywood so I don't scratch the face with the scraper and use that to guide my scraper. I 'd do that for example if I have the edge of plywood showing on the edge of a shelf. it looks more finished than leaving the plywood edge showing. its also a good way to fix it if you make a boo boo..

            an experienced guy may make less mistakes but we all make them , sometimes the skill is not just in not making them in the first place but to be successful at hiding them. if you goof up, dont beat yourself up, just treat it as a learning experience, hide it best you can, and continue..
            Last edited by stickman; 09-14-2021, 01:49 PM.

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            • #36

              Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

              Originally posted by stickman View Post
              so now you can try the test I mentioned.
              I didn't do the double cut for the exaggerated angle, what I did instead is just one straight cross cut and then using trig to figure out the angle of the cut. It turned out that the fence he put in was actually sniped, so it was not suitable and we had to rebuild the fence a second time. After that, I did a cut on a 12 inch wide board, did the math, found out the angle was off by about 0.42 degrees, or 3/32" laterally on a 12 " cut. It's less severe than the 2 degrees that I thought it was but it's still rather unacceptable. With some careful adjusting we eventually got it down to less than 1/64" of angle or something like .15 or .1 degrees, which is completely acceptable for what I'm doing. This should be good to go from now on.

              I never thought about chipping on a circular saw, I guess that could be a problem especially on a project like this where I'm cutting through a bunch of different densities of wood at the same time. Either way I shouldn't have to worry about it now that I have the radial saw tuned up pretty well.

              Now the really fun part, it turns out I measured the widths of my slices differently for my band saw cuts and radial saw cuts, so there is close to 1/16" of variation between the heights of my rows of wood for the cutting boards. The dust from the amount of sanding I'm going to have to do to level this out is going to be brutal.

              The band saw is a Rikon 10-325, the radial saw just says sears craftsman I couldn't find a model number on it anywhere.
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              • #37

                Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                The RAS is a 1970's or early 1980's vintage Sears Craftsman, I have the same saw bought new in that era and still in use today. Model number on mine is 113-19772C, there should be a nameplate on the front saw base below the table. Not the best RAS, it can be difficult to keep in tune but I wouldn't be without it. I mainly use it now just for 90 degree crosscuts but also as a rough planer for driftwood slabs using a dado blade or planer blade in the molding head accessory. As it was my first stationary saw I used it for everything for years including ripping but now that I have a table saw and band saw I use them for ripping.
                There is an upgraded guard for that saw for free from Emerson Tool Inc. the manufacturer (all Craftsman tools with the 113 model number were built by Emerson). When I got the upgraded guard in included a new table so well worth it even if you don't install the guard. I did install it but kept the old guard for a few situations.
                http://radialarmsawrecall.com/

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                • #38

                  Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                  Originally posted by Doug G View Post
                  The RAS is a 1970's or early 1980's vintage Sears Craftsman, I have the same saw bought new in that era and still in use today. Model number on mine is 113-19772C, there should be a nameplate on the front saw base below the table. Not the best RAS, it can be difficult to keep in tune but I wouldn't be without it. I mainly use it now just for 90 degree crosscuts but also as a rough planer for driftwood slabs using a dado blade or planer blade in the molding head accessory. As it was my first stationary saw I used it for everything for years including ripping but now that I have a table saw and band saw I use them for ripping.
                  There is an upgraded guard for that saw for free from Emerson Tool Inc. the manufacturer (all Craftsman tools with the 113 model number were built by Emerson). When I got the upgraded guard in included a new table so well worth it even if you don't install the guard. I did install it but kept the old guard for a few situations.
                  http://radialarmsawrecall.com/
                  Fascinating, I never heard about this. I think my Grandpa actually lost the tip of one of his fingers to kickback from this saw too.

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                  • #39

                    Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                    any RAS has a tendency to pull forward so you do need to be careful and you will get the hang of handling it and what to expect. Just keep your hands well clear of where the blade can travel and dont do weird stuff like cross your hands to hold things. some dont like ripping on them but you can, and then you have to be careful about kickbacks etc too.
                    i had the same one and oh 20 years ago or so I called sears on a sunday at like 3 Am as I was working nights. They answered! I got new guide rollers sent to my local sears tool and replaced them all. eventually I found my Delta and sold the Craftsman. 10 inch is a nice size as most decent tablesaws are that, or at least the majority of them. I dont know if sears in the US still supports them.
                    Its a lot more versatile than any chop saw, they actually have a lot of abilities that they are seldom used for. mine has threads on the motor shaft so I put a chuck on there thinking I might use it for holding different tooling. itll move all different ways so you can use it a bit like a milling machine only on wood or in a similar manor to a drill press. I've seen people cut a bowl shape with a saw blade by lowering rotating the head with no guard which is probably really dangerous and not recommended but kind of interesting.

                    sounds like you got the squareness close so you could continue and see if you can get it closer, It can't be too square. you got the idea so you can set your own tolerance limits.

                    next you can check when it cuts the table, does it cut an even depth from front to back of the table?. that will be important for some things you may do in the future , like if you want to cut dados or slots, but not this project as they are just through cuts. also you can put a small square on the table and check if the blade is perpendicular when it hits the 90 degree stop. that's not so likely to drift out of square.

                    Id keep one eye open for a decent sturdy used tablesaw with a 10 inch blade. watch auction sites and places like that. you may find one as some places switch to sawstops for improved safety and then take them out of service, try not to buy a 3 phase one. a jointer is nice to have too but I'd not be in a hurry then you'll get a good deal if you aren't rushed. I got my unisaw from a government auction site for 200 and then put a new beismeyer fence which was about another 200. if you can find an older canadian made general (unless it's really cheap I'd favor a general international from taiwan a bit less. ) there are other decent brands. you might find a retiring chap who is downsizing and get other nice older stuff too. pays to not be in a hurry. I always figure if I buy older stuff used and fix it up then I can always have my money back if times get tight. you wont do that if you buy all new offshore plastic stuff. Ive seen older and decent cantek saws and an older shopsmith might be fun they have a bunch of abilities built into one machine but they weren't all cheap plastic junk. They sort of have a following. A rusty top from 5 minutes of rain or long storage can make them look like garbage and if you hit that with a ROS and a few sheets of paper you can clean rust off in no-time flat and come out smiling but dont buy it if it's so rusted up it wont move the blade or things like that. with some like the unisaw the motor is proprietary some others have a standard mounting for the motor so they are easier to switch.

                    It looks like your project is coming along nicely and you are learning on the fly. if they arent close enough in length you can always do a kiss cut to each or use a belt sander with coarse paper or practice using a hand plane on end grain, Maybe try to arrange a dust pickup for the sanding.
                    Nice bandsaw ! I bet grampa knows a few tricks and it sounds like he's still able to pass some of his his experience on. you will probably both benefit from that experience if you can make that happen.

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                    • #40

                      Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                      It hasn't been mentioned yet but a negative tooth angle is best for radial arm saws. For ripping a thin kerf 30 or so tooth is probably better than the higher tooth blades.
                      Egon
                      from
                      The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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                      • #41

                        Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                        Originally posted by Egon View Post
                        It hasn't been mentioned yet but a negative tooth angle is best for radial arm saws. For ripping a thin kerf 30 or so tooth is probably better than the higher tooth blades.
                        Good point, the reason the tooth angle matters is because when cutting with a positive tooth angle the cutting action pulls the blade into the wood. With a radial arm saw, when cross cutting the cutting action with the blade on top, pulls the wood toward the fence, if you don't resist that force the carriage and blade will be pulled away from the fence making the cut too aggressive causing a dangerous situation. A negative tooth angle blade doesn't pull the blade into the wood making the cut more controllable. Look for a blade that says its suitable for a RAS or says it has a negative blade angle.
                        Another suggestion is to cover the top of the table with a thin sacrificial piece of MDF, hardboard or plywood held down with double sided tape or small nails located to avoid where the blade cuts. Then when it gets cut up you can replace it rather than replacing the whole top and have a like new table top. You can also fill in the kerf with a strip of thin wood or wood filler or epoxy once you get the saw tuned up so you have a clean kerf to minimize tear out. I do the same thing with table saw zero clearance inserts when the opening gets too wide, glue in some scrap wood cut a new kerf and you have a like new insert.

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                        • #42

                          Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                          Originally posted by rickyjunior View Post
                          Every project I've worked on in the last 10 years requires clean right angles. Whether it's making wooden boxes, structures, cutting boards, or shelves, it's just necessary for what I'm always doing, and inevitably I always end up spending 80%+ of every single project just fixing these god awful angles on all my cuts on all my wood.

                          Here's what I have at my disposal:
                          • A high quality band saw with many different blades and a fence
                          • A scroll saw
                          • Hand planes
                          • hand saws
                          • sanding blocks with sandpaper
                          • belt sanders and orbital sanders
                          • a radial arm saw that somehow always manages to cut at a 1.5 degree angle despite many efforts to correct it
                          • a miter saw (too small to cut most things I need to)
                          • a friend's table saw that is usually also slightly off by 1-2 degrees.
                          I have spent hours and hours trying to get clean right angles on every single one of these tools at various points and never got any closer than being off by 1-2 degrees usually and no matter what it seems I'm always spending way too much time sanding and adjusting to make things right.

                          What should I do?
                          Bit late to the topic, but I have a fondness for shooting boards. They can be ridiculously expensive to buy (I think Rob Cosman sells some for over 200$). A sharp plane iron is paramount for them as well. Block planes are ok for smaller materials (1/2" or so) but a smoothing plane / #4 are good for 3/4 material.

                          If you can go through the exercise to make one, it also will help you develop your skills. (and be cheaper than buying one). If you are doing boxes with mitered corners (not sure you are) then you can even progress to a "donkeys ear" shooting board, which allows you to get a consistent miter on the end grain. As some have said, sharpness is paramount.

                          Heck, I'd be willing to send you some of my smaller ones (90) or if you can find a more local option, even better. Toronto to Winnipeg is a bit of a hop.

                          Last edited by LaPedrera; 09-15-2021, 09:20 PM.

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                          • #43

                            Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                            Originally posted by Doug G View Post

                            Good point, the reason the tooth angle matters is because when cutting with a positive tooth angle the cutting action pulls the blade into the wood.
                            Interesting. I've never thought about which blades to use because I mostly just use someone else's tools, but I did notice that with this new blade it has been pulling highly aggressively into the wood almost to the point of being frightening. I have to put substantial back pressure on it to prevent it from pulling straight through the wood. I pointed this out to my Grandpa and he said "it's a sharp new blade, they do that" I bet he hasn't ever considered tooth angle either.



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                            • #44

                              Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                              Originally posted by LaPedrera View Post

                              Bit late to the topic, but I have a fondness for shooting boards. They can be ridiculously expensive to buy (I think Rob Cosman sells some for over 200$). A sharp plane iron is paramount for them as well. Block planes are ok for smaller materials (1/2" or so) but a smoothing plane / #4 are good for 3/4 material.
                              I have a lot of hand planes at my disposal, another family member of mine has a whole collection of them for when he used to make guitars. In my experience, they tend to be extremely finnicky, though. I tried using them to make a curved caul for my cutting board project, and despite almost a straight hour of adjusting, trying, adjusting, trying, sharpening, etc, I never once got a good clean cut with any of the planes, even though they are apparently high end hand planes. It may have been the wood I was using, or bad technique or both, either way I'm not fond of them for what I'm doing.

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                              • #45

                                Re: What is the smartest way to cut clean right angles with the tools I have?

                                Originally posted by stickman View Post
                                Id keep one eye open for a decent sturdy used tablesaw with a 10 inch blade.
                                It's just a pure space problem. My grandpa's workshop is extremely tight as is, I posted a picture of it above, and I personally live in an apartment. If I'm doing something that is a massive advantage on a table saw, like ripping a long board, I always have my friend's table saw available to me, but it's usually not super well maintained, and frankly for the type of projects I usually work on seems to be slightly disadvantageous.

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