The internet is full of information on woodworking and not all of it is good information. You really need to look at things to see if they are going to be good, or if they are going to be problematic, or even worse ... dangerous to your well being. What I often see are pictures or descriptions of processes or ideas that are put forward on one website, then replicated on many others, and none of them seem to figure out that what they are replicating is not a very good idea at all.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/uVvth63pEsE

That's why I like to explain things because that way people who watch my videos get a much better idea how things work and why something might not be such a great idea after all ...

Supporting Circular Saw Cuts
One of the quickest and handiest ways of cutting up long lumber and even sheet goods like plywood is to use a circular saw. These small efficient saws are very popular and can do a great job, but they are also dangerous tools and many, many people have been "bitten" by them because they can have a nasty and unpredictable kickback and when these happen, it also often happens that the blade guard either jambs open, or otherwise does not shield the blade in time for it to do injury to the user. 

Cutting long boards with a circular saw

If you have ever worked as or with a carpenter, you have watched them cutting long pieces of wood and watched the cut-offs drop to the floor. What you haven't seen is how many times their saws actually kick back as they finish the cut and the blade get pinched between the cut-off piece and the stock piece. Anyone taking carpentry in school now, will be taught a much safer method which is setting the blade height, and supporting the wood that is being cut off along with the stock wood it is being cut from. This becomes more and more critical as the boards get thicker and wider and kickback become more prevalent.

One way of supporting boards and sheet goods that are being cut is to use a small sheet of rigid sheet foam insulation. These sheets don't cost a lot and they will last you a long long time because you will always make sure the blade of your circular saw is the right height and will just be skimming the foam as you cut through it.
Using this rigid foam is an excellent way of working safer and getting better cuts because the wood is not falling off and breaking away from the main stock as it falls. 

Squaring a Mitre Gauge
This is something that needs to be checked, or changed on a regular basis. Mitre gauges are often adjusted for different cuts and often need to be re-set. The first thing to know is that everything on a table saw is aligned to the miter gauge slots, including the fence, the saw blade and the miter gauge. Aligning a miter gauge to a saw blade is not a good idea because sometimes even though an engineers square may appear to be flush with a blade it is not because of the carbide teeth that are preventing it. Also, a blade can be bent or warped or even just not aligned so aligning a miter gauge to this is not the best choice.

Table Saw square

The only time I ever make an exception it to use an engineers square to check to make sure the miter gauge and blade are at 90 degrees when I am making picture frames, but remember, picture frame wood is often 2 inches or less in width so much less wood to align.
Get in the practice of aligning the miter gauge with the miter slots and you will get the best results you can from your saw by doing that.

Push Sticks
I am very adamant about push stick design. There are many that incorporate a design that not only pushes the wood through, but also holds it firmly against the table and these are the safest, and you can make them yourself from scrap plywood. Someone sent me a picture of one of these push sticks where someone had drilled a plug hole in one, then filled it with epoxy glue to hold an earth magnet. This sounds like a good idea until the time comes when that push stick comes in contact with the saw blade and probably chips some carbide off the blade (which now makes the blade unusable) and also shatters the earth magnet and possibly winging pieces in the direction of the operator and speeds fast enough to break the skin. 

Table saw push stick

A much better approach is to make a little stand, with an earth magnet in the bottom that can be placed anywhere on the base of the saw - away -  from the spinning blade, that can easily hold your push stick and in a place that is easy to get at. A simple solution that works, is safe and easy to accomplish. 

Router Table and Mitre Gauge
For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people are so insistent on using a Mitre Gauge on a Wood Router Table when the Fence is still installed. These same people would never use a miter gauge on their table saws while also using a fence. The slots on router tables are for featherboards, not miter gauges.

Router table clap

I get that people are cutting wood across the grain on their router tables, but this is the time to use a push block or a copying sled, which is basically an over-engineered push block. Both of these are safe ways of cross-cutting wood on a router table and both of them allow for back support to help reduce tearout, something a miter gauge does no do. Push blocks are easy to make and safer to use than trying to set up a miter gauge and align it with a non-fixed fence on a router table. 

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Copyright Colin Knecht
woodworkweb.com

Bad Ideas in Woodworking Episode 2

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