Woodworking Tools

Getting the Right CNC Woodworking Machine

CNC Woodworking MachinePurchasing a new CNC machining centre can be an enjoyable offer. With each passing year, the rate and technology advance considerably. In spite of the attractiveness of CNC machines available in sculptured housings and exciting color schemes, the final analysis of a woodworking company may simply be influenced if a careful plan is laid out for achieving the most from the machine.

Deciding the purpose
The first step is to figure out how the new machine will be used. For example, since machining centers can route as well as drill, consider whether you want both. Also, identify if you'll need to drill horizontally for dowels, grooves for backs and routes for shelf standards.

Document the construction techniques that are used and all of the hardware that's needed. Care should be used to make sure that the CNC machine is ready for the job to be executed. There should be satisfactory tool shafts so that different drills may be employed, otherwise, the construction strategy must be modified to scale back the tool diameters.

Also, decide whether the woodworking plan needs entire sheets to be cut on the router, or if cutting is on a saw and the machining is to be done on a router.  For nesting, a special table will be necessary and also a forceful vacuum to hold the parts prepared. Since nesting machines cannot drill horizontally, a stand-alone machine could be needed. It is critical to understand the maximum part size and check out if it will fit on the router bed previously as a large amount of machining centers are engineered to machine a 24" deep gable only.

Read more: Getting the Right CNC Woodworking Machine

Router Table Basics

Router TableMany people consider routers "scary tools", this is probably because they can spin at such a high rate of speed, but truthfully, routers are among the safer tools in the workshop. Not that they should be taken for granted, ANY tool can do serious harm even a router. The thing that I like most about routers is they can be used to make entire projects. If the only tool you have is a router, you can make many projects with only a router.If you are new to routing, you will soon discover that the most of the things that you can do with a router involve using a router table. Routers with tables are useful too, but having a router table opens a whole new world of projects and woodworking elements.

If you are about to invest in a router, make sure you choose a good brand name like Porter Cable, Freud, Milwaukee, DeWalt or similar. If you are also investing in a router table do NOT purchase an inexpensive table based on price. You will soon find out that your money was wasted and now you still need to go out and purchase decent table. Most bench top tables are not worth bringing home, although there are exceptions, even some of the floor standing models are sketchy, so take your time and buy a decent table.


Read more: Router Table Basics

Table Saw Splitters and Riving Knives

 If your saw is not equipped with a splitter or a riving knife you need to read this.

It is well known that a table saw's main role is to rip wood. Table saws were designed as tool to rip wood and that  is what they are best doing,  and that is what most of them are used for most of the time. The type of material you are cutting can make a big difference to your safety and the ease with which you cut wood, and to the actual wood you are cutting.

For example, if you are cutting material like plywood, MDF, hardboard, chipboard or any of the other “manufactured woods and materials” splitters or riving knives are not as critical, though they are still useful.

If on the other hand you are ripping natural woods like oak, maple, fir, pine, cherry, beech etc, for ripping these kinds of wood, whether kiln dried, green or in between, it is critical that your saw be fitted with a splitter or riving knife. If your saw does not have a splitter or riving knife you could be risking serious injury and poorer cuts and here's why.

Many of the natural woods woods have built in “tensions”. The word “tension” within a natural wood simply means that these woods, when they are cut, they can often move on their own as they pass through the blade. This is because the blade is releasing these build in tensions. 

You can't always tell if wood has a built in tension or not. Some woods are worse than other, broad leaf maple for example tends to have more tensions. These tension develop in the tree as it is growing and are magnified by branches, tree twisting, tree growing at an angle or growing on a hill and trying to grow upright. All of these features can create tensions in the wood as the tree grows.

Anyone who has ripped or even cross cut wood will remember some cuts seem to want to bind the blade, sometimes they are so strong they will actually stop some less powerful table saws. This is where the real danger comes in. The power of even a small table saw is such that it can hurl a piece of wood back at you in an instant with enough force that can cause a significant injury.

Even if the wood that has a tension is pushed through the saw, the problem can sometime create a poor, rough cut, resulting in another cut having to be made, which may be fine if you have enough wood, if not, now you have ruined a good piece of wood.

Splitters and riving knives do pretty much exactly the same thing, they help to prevent or eliminate the problem of the wood binding against the saw blade and / or the saw fence. The result of this is a much safer cut which in turn also creates a better cut.

If your saw does not have a riving knife or a splitter you can easily install one. They are available from a number of places, including Lee Valley, Rockler or even your local dealer. Click the Rocker link at the top of the page and type in splitter into the search box. The catch with installing a splitter is that the throat plate on your tablesaw may not easily accept one. The solution for this is easy, you can purchase material to make your own throat plate (and in the process you will likely make a better one that came with your saw). They are not difficult to make and the WILL make a huge difference to your ripping once you have it installed with a splitter.

Saw Stop Contractors Saw

I remember the first time I ever heard of a table saw that would stop a spinning blade the instant it started to cut a finger (or as they show in their demos, a wiener). I instantly understood the technology because it was similar to what we were using in a different industry at that time. But I recall being impressed that someone could move those principals to another industry and make a working product. And so began the Saw Stop. Our evaluation of this product was pretty much what we expected and what we have heard about the saw from on-line videos and demonstrations and talks at wood shows. But there were still some surprises for us. First of all, we were very impressed with the actual quality of the the saws. We found them to be very well made and well put together, all powder coated to a durable finish. All of these saws are well built with a variety of up-to-date innovations and working features (some of which are also found on other similar saws).

After giving the saw a good look over in terms of design and finish. The first thing we always look at is the fence system because table saws are primarily designed for ripping wood. That is their main woodworking role. The Saw Stop Contractors Saw has a very well designed fence that is easy to read and easy to adjust and will make minor adjustments with ease. We found the scale easy to ready and the fence locked solid when engaged. We liked that the Plexiglas scale adjusts slightly so that each time you switch to a different blade, if you take a moment to adjust the scale you will absolutely accurate cuts without having to measure and mark each piece. A very nice feature. We felt that for most woodworkers the 1.75 horsepower motor would be adequate and was nicely helped by the “poly ribbed V-Belt” system.




The Saw Stop people talk about the “stability” of their saws and yes, they are that. Part of this is due to the fact they weigh so much, which is a result of the actual stopping mechanism built into each saw. The riving knife system on the saw is easy to remove without any special tools, a real plus for those “other cuts” we always seem to be making. This combined with the left tilting feature makes the Saw Stop a very, very competitive saw. OK, so the way this saw works under normal conditions is that when cutting typical dry wood (kiln dried, sun dried or otherwise dried) the saw works perfectly, slamming the brakes quickly as soon as the spinning blades come into contact with.

The tougher question, is what are the drawbacks to the system, and yes, like all good things there are pros and cons. The cons – the design of the braking system means that when the blade touches anything that is a bit damp, like a human finger or hand, the brakes are applied immediately. Depending on the blade you are using at the time, this will do one of two things, either damage the blade beyond any further use, or render the blade dysfunctional, but at least repairable. That's right, repairable (hopefully). If you are cutting any piece of wood that happens to have a high moisture content, or has some dampness on it, there is every possibility that the Saw Stop will clamp the breaks and stop the blade because it has detected moisture. That is what actually stops the saw blade, when it detects a small bit of moisture, such as what would get on a finger, a hand or, some moisture on the wood you are cutting.

The braking mechanism is triggered by a certain amount of moisture. If you happen to be using a thin kerf blade, you can pretty much kiss it good bye. If it is an “industrial” type saw, with a thick wall, the blade may survive a clamping but will need to be checked at the very least. The good new is this braking mechanism can be disabled, which would need to do if you were cutting green or wet lumber.

So, at the end of the day, is this saw any good. Our answer is absolutely YES, if you can afford this saw and are aware that damp and green lumber can set it off, the Saw Stop shops are an excellent, long term investment. The Saw Stops are all high quality saws, very safe to use with their stop features.