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Thread: Beginner Table Saw Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    Beginner Table Saw Questions

    Ok, so I used my table saw a lot today for the first time. I used the Grr-ripper.

    I have the Bosch 4100. I was cutting a reasonably hard wood. Without giving away any box swap secrets let's say it was harder than Oak, but not as hard as Purpleheart.

    I was doing bevel cuts. My fence is on the right and my blade tilts to the left. I was using the Grr-ripper just like in the beginning of this video. I had checked and adjusted the blade angles. The blade was new--


    Out of say 50 cuts, twice the blade was binding in the wood--and the blade actually stopped. I wasn't sure what to do in that case or why it was happening so I carefully backed out of the cut. And then started again.

    During both these times, I also burned the wood. Just slightly. I had a burn mark the size of a quarter both times.

    So my question is why was the blade binding? What are you supposed to do when it does bind? Is it always operator error? Does the blade ever bind because of a knot? Could I have had the blade too low? Fed the wood too slowly?

    Thanks very much all,
    Last edited by Cynthia White; 03-28-2011 at 04:50 AM. Reason: spelling
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    Could be a number of reasons...the kerf could be closing due to grain stress or whatever it's referred to as, slight fence movement, or hand movement of the gripper away from the fence as you push, lot's of other possibilities I'm sure those more experienced can & will offer more.

    When that happens to me, I hold on to my place for dear life and at the same moment hit the power off switch & choose which prayer of thanks to offer if all goes well
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Tacoma, WA

    I've got the same saw (older version -4000). Ken is right that it could be the kerf in the wood closing back up, pinching the blade.

    Another possibility is that the adjustment screw on the back of the fence is too loose. You don't want it too tight other wise the fence will not properly square itself. But if it is loose and you push against the fence, the fence can flex enough to cause this problem.

    Another thing to inspect, is if your blade is not perfectly (within .002") of perpendicular to the blade this can cause this problem too. The manual tells you how to adjust the blade to the miter slot then adjust the fence to the blade. I like to keep my saws within .0005" tolerances if possible but my experience is that .002 -.004 is about the best repetitive tolerance possible with this fence and saw.

    Other than that, maybe relax a little on pushing the wood against the fence. It should be tight, but a 'death grip' amount of pressure is not needed.

    If the wood starts to close on the blade I try to feed at a faster rate to get through the cut, I have also put a small shim in the kerf of the wood to open the kerf a little and prevent it from grabbing the blade. Just be careful as you always are and if it greatly slows or stops the blade hit the power switch and keep holding on to the wood till the blade stops so you don't end up with kick back and don't burn out the motor.

    That's not even a smile! That's just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Cynthia - Had the wood been jointed and in, was it flat and straight? Wood that's not perfectly flat/straight is far more prone to some twisting and binding.

    Also, a new blade isn't necessarily a quality blade or the right blade for the task...too many teeth can cause some slow down when the going gets tough. A new blade should be sharp but it's no guarantee, and if it's dirty it will cut like it's dull and will actually become dull in short order due to the excess heat. 50 cuts is enough to merit a its 20 depending on the wood and a few other variables.
    Got Wood?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Scott hit on my concern and I'll +1 on the kerf closing as well. Also, when the saw stalls just move your knee forward slightly or use your toe and kill the power. If you don't have a method of killing the power without moving your arms, take the time to fix that now.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Just a few things to check, probably already been said.

    • Check to make sure the fence is parallel to the blade
    • Check to make sure the riving knife is in line with the blade
    • Using a thin kerf blade? Is the riving knife the same width as the blade?
    • Using a featherboard? Make sure it's not 'after' the blade

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Cynthia, I'm not expert enough to offer advice except, when it does stop, hit the OFF switch immediately. Do not argue with a table saw when things go wrong.
    From what others have said, you have good advice. I'm going to re-read for my own edification. You can't get too safe with a table saw.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    Is the riving knife still on there? Are you trying to cut without either a splitter or a riving knife? It may be the kerf is closing up behind the blade.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Decatur, Alabama
    Don't have any new ideas as to the why, but when you get some problematic lumber that just wants to close up after cutting, you can usually see it after you pull the piece off. The cut end of the board will be a little closer together than the width of the saw kerf.

    A shim in this will help, I've had push sticks with a wedge on the end that I stuck in after the board was past the blade to keep it open. Never seen anyone else do that exactly, but it seemed reasonbly safe when I did it.

    Cut the pice on a bandsaw a little wide, then cut a thin strip off the side. Even if the kerf binds, if the cutoff is 1/8 wide or less it will only burn the thin strip in my experience.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Now that the box swap box is finished, I wanted to come back and reply to a few of these comments:

    Jeb, I don't have a bandsaw (yet). I didn't examine the pieces carefully afterwards, so I can't say about the width of the kerf and cut ends....

    Bill, yes I was using the riving knife. I've readjusted it so it's lower and doesn't interfere with the Grrripper but is still doing its job.

    Frank, I know you're right, but it's not so easy. I was holding the Grrrripper with 2 hands. When I got into trouble I definitely didn't want to let go or release pressure on it. The on/off switch is on the left on my TS, and to compound the problem I like to stand toward the right on the fence side. The switch is easy to work by hand but impossible to work by knee or foot. A paddle switch would be nice--can I rig one up on this saw?

    Brent, no featherboard with the GRrripper--maybe I should use one? Yes, the fence was parallel to the blade, yes the riving knife was in line, no it's not a thin kerf blade.

    Glenn, yes I need to fix that, see above comment to Frank.

    Scott, I'll take a look and clean the blade. I bought the stuff S4S so yes I believe (hope) it was jointed and planed properly. Someone else sent me a PM and made the same comment as you that this scenario sounded to him like I probably had a couple of boards that were cupped or twisted, so a couple of the pieces were binding because of that.....

    Brian, I'll check the adjustment screw on the far side of the fence. Yes, I was using a vulcan death grip on the Grripper, maybe that was part of the problem. I did try to speed up the following cuts...not real sure about feeding speed.... Blade was definitely right on the money--90 deg to the table, parallel to the fence, 45 deg for the bevel--I checked and adjusted it before I started.

    Thanks for all your help guys, I appreciate it.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

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