Friday, December 19, 2008

Assembling the SawStop

My SawStop contractor saw was finally delivered on Tuesday, December 16. I immediately set about assembling it. The first job was to put together the base, which took a little over an hour. After that, it was time for a coffee break.

Then I added the optional wheels. These are operated by a foot switch, which will allow me to raise and lower the saw base from the floor with an easy motion. I'll need that to move the saw away from the wall when I cut long boards and sheets of plywood.

The saw arrived in a number of boxes that contained the saw and table, the fence system (two boxes), the optional cast iron table extensions (two boxes), and the wheel assembly. A very nice thing about the SawStop assembly is that the saw comes with a very easy-to-use assembly poster that is color coded for each step in the process. This color coding matches a blister pack that contains the small parts (e.g., nuts, bolts, washers) needed for each step. This makes the assembly somewhat foolproof and guards against parts getting lost during assembly or the confusion that normally ensues concerning which part goes where. Despite all SawStop's precautions, however, I nonetheless ended up with several bolts that I have no idea what to do with.

After getting the base and wheels together on Tuesday, I had a day of down time waiting for a friend to come on Wednesday afternoon to help me lift the 140-pound saw onto the base and attach the heavy extension wings. That accomplished, I was able to finish the assembly on Thursday by adding the front and rear rails, the fence and the extension table that appears on the right.

The saw is now complete, though it is not ready yet to run. Next I have to adjust all the settings, namely to ensure that the blade and the miter slots are parallel, that the fence is parallel to the miter slots and that there is adequate clearance between the saw blade and the splitter and the cartridge that stops the blade in an emergency, among other things. I hope to accomplish all of that on Friday and actually make a few test cuts.

SawStop makes a larger version of this saw. I got the 36" table. They also make a 52" table, but I judged that I would not have enough room for it in my shop and also limited need for it. After getting the saw into its assigned place, I can see that I made the right choice. That space will work fine for normal cutting. However, when I have a long piece to cut, I will need to bring the saw forward into the walking space so there is enough room on the outfeed side. If needed, I can also turn the saw 90 degrees to allow more room on both the infeed and outfeed sides. Thus the importance of the wheels.

Already I am thinking about projects I want to build using this saw and my other tools. For starters, these include (not necessarily in this order):
  • A pen rest to be used with my fountain pens (this actually doesn't require the table saw but it does require a better drill press table; see below)
  • An improved drill press table
  • A miter jig for the table saw
  • A crosscut jig for the table saw
  • Some boxes with splined, mitered corners
  • Some tissue boxes
  • Picture frames

I hope to get onto these projects soon, though probably not until after the holidays. By then, I also hope to have my Delta dust collection unit ready to install so I can run my machines with a reasonable amount of dust control.

My goal down the road is to make some furniture. To that end, I'm scheduled to take a class in furniture-building one weekend in February. I'll write about all of these things as I tackle them.


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