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Old 10-12-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
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which saw to use?


I am making a round table top with 1 1/4" solid planked beechwood. What would be the best saw to make the cut? My jig saw is out of the question as I have enough trouble keeping it steady cutting a straight line and don't even know if it could be used for this purpose. I prefer my old fashioned hand saw whenever possible. Is a reciprocating saw used for curves? What is a sawzall? Is a scroll saw the best choice? It is appropriate under the circumstances to mention that I am female, very strong but not very heavy. I also saw a "finecut power hand saw" and wondered what this is used for.
Is it possible to sharpen hand saws with a sanding stone the same way I sharpen knives?
Also, I would like a less powerfull power sander. I have a small random orbit sander as well as a small sheet sander. Is a finishing sander what I'm looking for? What is the difference between a finishing sander and the others?
Many questions I know, but you have all been so helpful and have eliminated hours of searching and confusion! Thanks!

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Old 10-12-2010, 03:12 PM   #2
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which saw to use?


hey there,
for your table top i would use the jigsaw. cut as close to your line as you can without breaking the line. then perfect it with sanding - belt sander, orbital, by hand, etc...

if the jigsaw is not powerful enough, the next tool would be a big band saw.
in the end of the day, any saw that gets you close enough to the line for sanding it home, will be fine. you could hit it with a hand saw from a million different angle, but it would take a hell of a long time. i would avoid the sawzall.

i think a less powerful sander than a random orbit would be your hand, quite frankly.

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Old 10-12-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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which saw to use?


First off, how big is the table? Are we talking a 14" table or a 6' table?

Mind you I have never done this but I have seen guys with router jigs cut circles in plywood which come out perfectly. IMO it may not be a bad idea to look into something like that.

A sawzall will def be the wrong tool. Typically, i use a sawzall for demo and non fine cuts.

A sabre saw/jig saw could be used for this but you have to have a very skilled steady hand and there will still be variations in the curve unless you can sand if perfectly after the fact.

A scroll saw may be a good option (not sure if that table might be too thick) but again not sure how big the table is. Typically scroll saws are used to for smaller/finer curves like in fine woodworking.

Most times is easier/cheaper to just buy new blades for things like sawzalls, sabre saws etc.

I have comments on the sander portions
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:38 PM   #4
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which saw to use?


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Originally Posted by wnabcptrNH View Post
First off, how big is the table? Are we talking a 14" table or a 6' table?

Mind you I have never done this but I have seen guys with router jigs cut circles in plywood which come out perfectly. IMO it may not be a bad idea to look into something like that.

A sawzall will def be the wrong tool. Typically, i use a sawzall for demo and non fine cuts.

A sabre saw/jig saw could be used for this but you have to have a very skilled steady hand and there will still be variations in the curve unless you can sand if perfectly after the fact.

A scroll saw may be a good option (not sure if that table might be too thick) but again not sure how big the table is. Typically scroll saws are used to for smaller/finer curves like in fine woodworking.

Most times is easier/cheaper to just buy new blades for things like sawzalls, sabre saws etc.

I have comments on the sander portions
The table will be 40" round, 1 1/4 inch thickness of solid planked beechwood. The entire piece is 4' x 4', the grain is beautiful, it would just be too darn easy to make a square table top! Thanks for your advice, much appreciated!
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:33 PM   #5
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which saw to use?


I use my router for this type of application. You need a straight fluted carbide tipped bit and a circle cutting jig, although it is possible to do this by using the outside of a circular disk (a plate) as a guide, with a router guide bushing. For the type of wood you are cutting, you will need a reasonably powerful router, say 2HP or bigger, and a half inch collet bit, so it does not wobble when you cut. By making relatively small passes, say 1/2 inch or less, you can get a razor smooth cut with almost no chipout.

Old timers used to cut circular tables out by hand, but this is a difficult skill to master, and it is very easy to ruin a good piece. A jig saw cannot make a good circle, a circular saw cannot cut curves, the only tool other than a router that would work is a band saw, and it would be very difficult to get the curve perfect unless you are experienced.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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That small, I use a jig saw attached to a 2' bar clamp (on side), set at distance, with a down-cutting blade (reverse tooth), hooked on a screw extending from a hot-melt glued block in table's finish side center pivot. For 3' radius, I use a circular saw at the end of a 1x4 with a center screw pivot (for radius window tops).

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Old 10-12-2010, 07:55 PM   #7
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which saw to use?


Either rough cut it and finish it with a router or, make a temporary table and use a bandsaw.

In the case of the bandsaw: The table need to have a pivot point that is centered 20" from the bandsaw blade. The pivot can be a pin of sorts (even an old drill bit) and you drill a hole the same size or almost the same size as the pin. The work piece simply rotates on this pin as you guide it through the bandsaw. You;ll need to dress up the edge a little.

In the case of the router, the circle cutting jig that Daniel refers to would be a piece of scrap that pins to the center of the piece and you move the tool, not the stock, in this case. The router finish will not need dressing up if you use a quality bit. As Daniel say, you need to do it in passes and be careful not to overload the router.

You sound quite new to the task that you propose. Don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions as what you are trying to do is not really novice work and there are a lot of folks here that are willing to help you out.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:24 PM   #8
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which saw to use?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I use my router for this type of application. You need a straight fluted carbide tipped bit and a circle cutting jig, although it is possible to do this by using the outside of a circular disk (a plate) as a guide, with a router guide bushing. For the type of wood you are cutting, you will need a reasonably powerful router, say 2HP or bigger, and a half inch collet bit, so it does not wobble when you cut. By making relatively small passes, say 1/2 inch or less, you can get a razor smooth cut with almost no chipout.
^ This!
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:34 PM   #9
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which saw to use?


Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
That small, I use a jig saw attached to a 2' bar clamp (on side), set at distance, with a down-cutting blade (reverse tooth), hooked on a screw extending from a hot-melt glued block in table's finish side center pivot. For 3' radius, I use a circular saw at the end of a 1x4 with a center screw pivot (for radius window tops).

Gary
Gary,
When I read your advice about dryer lint, I did a double take. I just finished!!! I intended to only vacuum the back of my dryer and ducting but decided to take the back off and do a more thorough cleaning. I know it's probably not the norm to take the back off but an awful lot of dust/lint end up in there! Thanks for the advice as well!
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:53 PM   #10
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which saw to use?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I use my router for this type of application. You need a straight fluted carbide tipped bit and a circle cutting jig, although it is possible to do this by using the outside of a circular disk (a plate) as a guide, with a router guide bushing. For the type of wood you are cutting, you will need a reasonably powerful router, say 2HP or bigger, and a half inch collet bit, so it does not wobble when you cut. By making relatively small passes, say 1/2 inch or less, you can get a razor smooth cut with almost no chipout.

Old timers used to cut circular tables out by hand, but this is a difficult skill to master, and it is very easy to ruin a good piece. A jig saw cannot make a good circle, a circular saw cannot cut curves, the only tool other than a router that would work is a band saw, and it would be very difficult to get the curve perfect unless you are experienced.
The old timers had the right idea. Truth be told, I've completed almost half of the cut by hand. It is very slow going, and very tedious with this type and thickness of wood. The results are near perfect. There is both art and science to this method, and it does take a whole lot of practice to create a fluid curve. Problem is, I'm a purist, not a sadist. It is painful work. I'm convinced however, that I should continue what I know. Thank you for your suggestions, much appreciated!

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