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It cuts wood, too

When I started out in woodworking, the first machine I ever bought was a used table saw. The saws I have now are much better than that first one. I say "saws" because I currently have three.

There's the Felder slider that I primarily use to cut up sheet stock and that also comes into play when there are strangely shaped pieces that have to be cut at odd angles that would be real head scratchers without the big sliding table. Then there is the small portable "job saw" that mostly sits over in the corner gathering dust and cobwebs until one of those rare moments when I have to make a saw cut somewhere other than in my shop.

And that used saw? I had that saw for less than a year before it was replaced with a "real" table saw, a 10" Unisaw which has been with me ever since. It was and remains the mainstay of my shop. Ninety percent of the wood cutting in my shop is done on that saw. On average, it runs more hours per day than any other power tool I own. It has new electrics and switch. The original Jet Lock rip fence was replaced long ago with a T-square type fence. And the extension wings gather more dust and cobwebs under the full surround table the saw is nested into.

So you might think that such a venerable old machine that is relied upon to carry so much weight would be shown a little respect, right? Wrong!! In spite of the fact that there is ample wood storage in my shop, the table saw is perpetually buried under piles of wood I'm going to need soon enough that it makes no sense to "put them away."

In spite of the fact that there are several stout workbenches available, the table saw is constantly littered with routers and sanders because it is more convenient to have them there than to walk back over to the benches. In spite of the fact that there are several spacious assembly tables, there always seems to be at least several clamped up components sitting on the saw table at any given time. In spite of the fact that there is a clamp rack that is (believe it or not) perfectly sufficient to hold all the clamps I own, there always seems to be a pile of them on the saw table. And, of course, the table saw is in close enough proximity to my "main" shaper that it also serves as the repository for all the shaper cutters, spacers, collars wrenches and other shaper "accoutrement" needed for the current project and, therefore, needed again soon enough to make putting them back where they go seem like something of a fools errand.

And finally, just to add insult to injury, I have hacked a router table setup into one corner of my saw table. I rarely use it but it's there, for no better reason, I suppose, than it seemed like that corner was not getting enough use.

When I built the surround for my table saw, I had plenty of room in my shop. So I did not "stint." The whole thing is five feet from front edge to back and a full eight feet wide. I should have known better. I have rarely needed that much "extra support" and with my Felder slider sitting only a few paces away, I rarely cut sheet stock on this saw anyway. And knowing nature's intolerance for voids, it was probably foolish of me to construct such an expansive flat surface. I should have known that flat surfaces within easy reach are always fair game for anything that needs to be put down. I have often thought that, in a pinch I could sleep on the saw table. If only there were room ...


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