Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Sharpening Station Door Polyurethane

 Not much to report. 

Helped a friend of mine over the weekend not buy a table saw. He's just getting into woodworking and was looking at buying a Rigid job site saw that was on sale and asked me for advice. Unfortunately I have almost no experience with these kinds of saws. And by these kinds of saws, I mean anything smaller than a cabinet table saw. 

My first table saw was a right tilt Grizzly 1023. I don't remember the letter designation but I bought it 20 years ago so I'm sure the specific sub-model isn't being sold anymore. It was a pretty basic saw; however, it was solid, worked reliably and was plenty strong for all the things I needed to do with it.

It also had a very nice fence. Locked in the front and the back so it was super solid and had no chance of moving or flexing under pressure. Unfortunately this is the same feature that led me to get rid of the saw. I was cutting some 1/4" plywood panels for a shop cabinet. In setting the fence I didn't notice that the wheel that rode the back rail had gotten a chunk of wood lodged in it. This cause the back of the fence to not slide over fully and then it got locked such that the back of the fence was closer to the blade than the front.

Yes, it got quite exciting when the plywood shot back at me. No, I don't know how close my hand came to the blade. My pride and my stomach that took the hit from the plywood that was flung back at me was all that got injured. However, it shook me and made me reconsider if I wanted to keep doing woodworking. I thought about only using my 14" bandsaw and giving up my table saw. I even tried it for a while (weeks, months, I don't remember).

I then decided that I did want to keep doing woodworking as a hobby and that my hands were worth the price of a Saw Stop. That's when I upgraded and sold my table saw to a guy in Indiana that worked at the same place my dad did.

Anyway, I've had two saws. A low-end professional grade Grizzly and what I'd consider a professional level Saw Stop. I've used my friend's Grizzly cabinet table saw. I have had one experience with a lower end table saw. It was horrible. I don't remember the brand but it was a $100 bench top unit. It was struggling to rip 2x4s. The fence was super inaccurate and never locked down parallel to the blade naturally. Not the best experience.

Needless to say I wasn't a great help in evaluating the mid-price contractor and job site saws. I wasn't that impressed with this Rigid saw. It was all plastic including the top. It wasn't even entirely enclosed. I couldn't figure out if there were adjustable 90 degree and 45 degree stops. The display model was missing its fence so I couldn't really evaluate that. The top was tiny; however, that is endemic to these types of saws. The blade tilt mechanism did move smoothly.

It's just that the saw was listed at $550. The current Grizzly 1023 is around $1300. I just personally couldn't see spending half the price of a good low-end professional saw on something plastic. I suppose if you don't have that additional $700, or you don't have the space, or cannot get 240 volts then perhaps a job site or contractor saw would be a reasonable alternative to nothing. Though, I'd argue that perhaps you could get away with nothing.

Table saws excel at breaking down plywood, cutting dados, making large cove cuts, ripping and cross cutting lumber, and a number of other things. However, most of those can be accomplished with a track saw. Now that there are non-Festool brands making these you can get one for less than $500. I'm pretty sure Rockler sells a table that helps make track saw cuts more repeatable. Dados can be made with a $50 router from Harbor Freight. Both of those tools take up less space and routers are much more versatile in a shop.

Anyway, I since I didn't say, "Wow, this is a great deal, you should buy it!" my friend passed. At least until I got an email this morning saying that to get past his indecision he was going to make his wife buy it. All I can say is she's a wonderful person to support her husband in his hobby.

I did get my sharpening station door into the finishing room yesterday and tonight was the second coat of water based poly. I had a few drips on the back but I shaved them off with a sharp chisel. When I was done tonight I tried running the brush over the bottom edges to reduce the dripping. We'll see how that works. Tomorrow night will be the third and final coat. Then I'll hang the door and add the door stop.

I still have to cut and polyurethane the back for the cabinet. There's no rush because there isn't space in my new finishing room for it and the door. I'll get to that this coming weekend when I have more time off from work.