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Thread: General Beginner Questions: Various

  1. #1
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    General Beginner Questions: Various

    Hi all:

    I baptized my new circular saw yesterday--sorry no photos yet, and after an afternoon with it, I have some new questions.

    1. I worked outside and had on all the safety gear known to man and found that I was still covered in sawdust at the end of the afternoon. Do you folks have woodworking clothes/shoes that you leave at the door to your shop? Do you have extensive dust collections systems that eliminate this problem? Do you track it all over the house? Or other?

    2. The manual with the CS says to hold it with both hands--and there are 2 handles. LOML says to hold it with one and hold the wood with the other. If I hold the saw with 2 hands should I be clamping down the wood I'm cutting? On one side? On both sides?

    3. Router bits. I want a router bit to cut rabbets. For the sake of discussion, if I got one designed for a 3/4" rabbet, can I cut narrower rabbets with it by moving closer to the edge? like anything < 3/4"?

    Thanks all, more questions tonight I'm sure after today's sawdust session.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post
    1. I worked outside and had on all the safety gear known to man and found that I was still covered in sawdust at the end of the afternoon. Do you folks have woodworking clothes/shoes that you leave at the door to your shop? Do you have extensive dust collections systems that eliminate this problem? Do you track it all over the house? Or other?
    With a circular saw, it's nearly impossible to contain the sawdust. Some saws have ports for a shop vac, but even they aren't very effective. I try to blow/brush/vac most of the dust off before entering the house, but my wife never thinks that's enough...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post
    2. The manual with the CS says to hold it with both hands--and there are 2 handles. LOML says to hold it with one and hold the wood with the other. If I hold the saw with 2 hands should I be clamping down the wood I'm cutting? On one side? On both sides?
    If you're comfortable holding the saw in one hand, it's (marginally) okay. I generally do hold the saw in one hand, and the far side of the board with the other hand. For square or 45 cuts, I usually use a speed square, so I use my left hand to hold the square against the far side of the board.

    Bottom line - unless you're comfortable doing this, use both hands on the saw and clamp the board down. NEVER(!) compromise safety!


    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia White View Post
    3. Router bits. I want a router bit to cut rabbets. For the sake of discussion, if I got one designed for a 3/4" rabbet, can I cut narrower rabbets with it by moving closer to the edge? like anything < 3/4"?
    Many companies sell rabbet bit 'kits.' They have one cutter, and several different sizes of bearings. You install the bearing of choice, and it dictates the width of the rabbet you'll be cutting. The set I have has six different bearing with it.

    I hope this helps.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
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    1. Dust. I use the compressor and track the rest into the house.

    2. Clamp the wood. Use two hands. When you get comfortable enough that you think you are ready for one hand, stop, rethink - and use two hands, unless you had the urge to put the second hand in your pocket. Only way to keep it out of trouble.

    3. Routing rabbets. Here is how to think about routing anything. The bit must have a positive guide. A bearing, a template guide, or the router base have to ride against something in a hand held router operation. In a table configuration, you can use the fence.

    If you are using a router table (and you ought to build your own!) then get a 1" straight helical bit. That means the two cutting edges on the bit are at an angle to the length of the bit. The wood is sheared off, leaving a much nicer surface. Cutters parallel to the length of the bit scrape more than cut. The finish of the cut is acceptable but not as nice. They are a little less money. You decide what you want to trade off. And the 1" bit for the 3/4" rabbet is better because some sheet goods are a little thicker (the pre-finished ones like Melamine, as an example), and it is good to have a little more bit than you think you need. Bigger often times is better.

    If you plan to use the router hand held, then I strongly advise you get a rabbet set, as suggested by Jim. There many fewer things that can go wrong with this set up.

    If I may, Cynthia, I appreciate where you are with your woodworking. If you would like to be a little more specific with your questions, I think we can help better. There are so many variables and there is never one right answer that works for everything. There often multiple answers that work.

    Some variables include tooling available to you and/or you are willing to acquire. Others include the size of the pieces of wood you are working with, and the species to some degree. And the most important variable is your experience level.

    What may work real well for someone with decades of experience, may very well scare the you know what out of you. And for some, the very basic advise may seem silly and irrelevant.

    The folks here are very helpful, but at the end of the day, it is you doing the work. Do not do anything that does not feel right to you.

    We are often more concerned with whether we will be successful and not ruin the wood, and less that worried about our own personal safety. Wood grows on trees. Body parts do not. And defects in wood may well be a lovely part of the whole design, but mangled fingers, and scars on people, particularly us girls, is not very becoming.

    That said, mother here does not want to lecture. I just want to help in any way I can.

    I have been teaching woodworking for nearly 30 years. I want you to have fun, be safe, and be thrilled with what you build.

  4. #4
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    1. I worked outside and had on all the safety gear known to man and found that I was still covered in sawdust at the end of the afternoon. Do you folks have woodworking clothes/shoes that you leave at the door to your shop? Do you have extensive dust collections systems that eliminate this problem? Do you track it all over the house? Or other?
    Dust collection. Sooner rather than later. After only a couple years of inadequate DC I now have a cyclone and a modified bagger. A little too late as I now have to wear a respirator at all times, DC or not. Do yourself a favor. Take care of your dust issues before you are forced to.

    2. The manual with the CS says to hold it with both hands--and there are 2 handles. LOML says to hold it with one and hold the wood with the other. If I hold the saw with 2 hands should I be clamping down the wood I'm cutting? On one side? On both sides?
    I clamp my material whenever it is possible. I clamp down the large piece and cut the smaller piece from it. If you do not want the cut-off to fall, have support available to catch it. I generally don't clamp the end that will be cut free. YMMV. NEVER hold a board unsupported whilst you cut. Two hands are good (no offense intended to LOYL).

    3. Router bits. I want a router bit to cut rabbets. For the sake of discussion, if I got one designed for a 3/4" rabbet, can I cut narrower rabbets with it by moving closer to the edge? like anything < 3/4"?
    A rabbet set will come with 1, 2, or more bearings that control the depth of cut. Another measurement to keep in mind is the height. Many dado bits are 1/2" high and deeper cuts will require an adjustment to reach full depth. On the other hand, 1/2" height is probably good for most (if not all) of your rabbet work right now. I bought a single bearing version that runs a metric bearing inside diameter. All my other bits run some fractional diameter. The point is that after-market bearing sets that expand your bit's versatility are usually fractional. If you don't go for a rabbet set with a wide variety of bearings, get one that will accept easily available after-market bearings to make it easier on you when you want to expand. JMHO.

    P.s. since that time I have acquired a few rabbet sets for different purposes . . . it happens ;-)

    P.p.s I forget if you made the move to a 1/2" collet router yet . . . I would hold off on any big spending on bits till you made that move. If a 1/4" router is what you will use for awhile, I would buy cheaper bits and only those I really needed.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 08-16-2010 at 08:54 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    You got some good answers, and I wanted to say - Great Questions.

    I learned something from them too!

    Thanks for posting.

  6. #6
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    Plus 1 on the DC. You have too much going for you, not to take care of yourself and those around you first!
    ________

    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Jones View Post
    Plus 1 on the DC...
    Now I'm curious.

    Cynthia said circular saw, not table saw. How are all of you hooking DC to a circular saw? None of mine - Makita, Skil 77, and two P-Cs will accommodate a DC. The 6" SawBoss has a small (1") port, but it's about useless with a hose connected to it. Just makes the saw harder to handle.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Now I'm curious.

    Cynthia said circular saw, not table saw.
    Jim is right. I took the first question to mean her new tablesaw. My circ saw has a directional (or vac attachable) dust port. I do not want a hose hanging from a circ saw so I point the dust chute off to one side and let her fly.

    In SoCal we wear shorts and tanks all year so any dust that gets in our clothes just falls right back out . Seriously, if your circ saw is shooting dust back at you I would question the design. What kind and model saw is it? Mine looks like this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Almost all the dust shoots out of the little black port. It can be swiveled to point back into the housing and come out at the rear, blade-side like most other saws.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
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    Cynthia you have quite a few accesories to get hold of yet to add to the machines and tools you have. Just like the spinny vortex so to does the flatwork have the same.

    Someone mentioned clamps. This is a big issue. Buy good ones and get a selection and many. You can never have enough.

    But for holding down a sheet of ply for you to use your circular saw a set of these will go a long way.

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/T20545

    Grizzly has the above set of 4 cheaper than you will find one at the local HD. They now ship to Canada but considering where you are, think about persuading loyl to take a trip down south to Bellingham Washington State http://www.grizzly.com/showroom_wa.aspx

    Make a list before you go and stick to it. You need a few other things besides machines to ensure you play safe and stay safe.
    cheers

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    ...But for holding down a sheet of ply for you to use your circular saw a set of these will go a long way.

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/T20545

    Grizzly has the above set of 4...
    NO, Rob!

    Those are the mini 6 inch clamps. They might hold model parts or small jewelry box type items, but certainly not plywood for sawing.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

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