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Shop Talk Live 31: Ditch That Miter Saw for a Tablesaw

comments (7) May 10th, 2013 in blogs

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This week on Shop Talk Live, our editors answer questions on everything from miter saws, planers, and bandsaws--to options for rehabbing a massive 12-ft. long workbench! - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This week on Shop Talk Live, our editors answer questions on everything from miter saws, planers, and bandsaws--to options for rehabbing a massive 12-ft. long workbench!

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answer questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking's biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast!


Also on iTunes Click on the link at left to listen to the podcast, or catch it in iTunes. Remember, our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page. And don't forget to send in your woodworking questions to


Shop Talk Live 31: Ditch That Miter Saw for a Tablesaw

On this week's edition of Shop Talk Live, we tackle a variety of listener questions on everything from tips for purchasing a new miter saw, planer, or bandsaw-to weighing the options when it comes to rehabbing a massive 12-foot workbench. Plus, Ed Pirnik solicits some listener opinions for his new home workshop, Matt Kenney fesses up to some questionable use of a high-priced jointer, and we have a bit of fun at our own expense reading a letter from a "former" listener that's a bit on the prickly side!

Audio Shop Stumper Winner Announced

Also this week, we have the pleasure to announce David Cloutier as the winner of episode 30's audio Shop Stumper. For having correctly identified the sound of a blade being honed on a sharpening stone, David will receive a brand-spankin' new--straight out of the box set of Rockler Bench Cookies. Nice ears, David


Links from this Week's Show

Eight Tips for Securing Work to a Benchtop



Mike Pekovich
FWW art director
Matt Kenney 
FWW senior editor

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer


Listen to Previous Episodes

posted in: blogs, podcast, shop talk live, episode 31

Comments (7)

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: 'Ditch the miter'..

Mike's description of how the blade meets the wood in a simple chop saw vs. a sliding miter saw is key. Chop saw - lots of teeth bearing into the wood at once. Sliding miter - only the blade front teeth; more like the tablesaw. Score 1 for the sliding miter.

I would like to add: For a simple chop saw - watch the blades hook angle!

I found out the hard way - fortunately without injury. I installed a Diablo D1040A on my inexpensive Ryobi chop saw. Had a picture of a miter saw on the front of the blade. Said it was OK for a miter saw. It is not!

The hook angle on this 40-tooth ATB blade is 15 degrees. Meaning, as the blade enters the wood - it will Pull Up on the wood. NG! (vs. Down on a tablesaw - OK). I was cutting a piece smaller than I probably should have. The blade hit the wood as I brought the simple chop saw down into it. Bang! The piece was pulled up into the blade, jamming the saw and bending the blade - and ruining the piece.

So - ALWAYS make sure the blade in your chop saw has a negative hook angle (typically -5 degrees) or less than 7 degrees positive so it pushes down, or not pulls up excessively.

I now have a DeWalt 60-tooth DW3106 installed. ATB. 5-degree hook. No problems so far.

After I win the lottery, I will replace it with a DW3219PT - 80-tooth TCG with a -5 hook. Should last forever and never give me a 'pull up' problem ever again.
Posted: 2:23 am on August 28th

james3one james3one writes: Ed, in addition to lots of light, having worked for several years in a basement shop, put in false windows. put in a couple of window casings on one wall, add a diffused light source, and simple-sheer window treatment. Put the windows on the wall that gets used the least. Then have most of the ceiling light over the other areas.

Also, keep away from reddish or yellow tinted lights. Bright sunlight bulbs.

You might also want to adjust the acoustics in the room as well. Pads on the floor and carpet or other soft materials on the wall. It will reduce the noise of the machines and make the radio/stereo sound better.

Then add some more lights...

Posted: 8:19 am on May 27th

bmchan bmchan writes: Still trying to get my head around the CMS vs Table saw thingy. I have always gone to my Makita 10" SCMS for precise angles and have never had a problem producing furniture grade joints. I don't agree but will experiment. I will have to upgrade my TS mitre guage or build a nicer sled.
Posted: 8:32 pm on May 24th

Billy3152 Billy3152 writes: Wish I had heard this a few months back before I added the sliding Miter saw to my garage. I had to learn the hard way, but it got me building my first cross cut sled and I am now learning the million uses for that.
Posted: 1:44 pm on May 17th

benduty benduty writes: Just some clarification, Uncle Joey on Full House was played by the incredible Dave Coulier. Stand up comedian famous for his hilarious CUT- IT - OUT routine. He is more widely known for being the first sexual partner of Alanis Morissette. I'm not kidding, Alanis Morissete shared with Howard Stern on an interview that her first was Uncle Joey.
Posted: 4:27 pm on May 15th

MPekovich MPekovich writes: Hey user-2334610- Great point about getting in the neighborhood with a miter saw and taking it home with hand tools. That's a good way to get up and running without a big investment in power tools. I did basically the same thing when I only had a bandsaw to work with. It took a little longer, but with just a bandsaw and hand tools, I could make a whole lot of furniture.
Thanks, Mike
Posted: 3:47 pm on May 14th

user-2334610 user-2334610 writes: On 'Ditch the Miter'...

None of you took into account space issues when recommending a table saw only for furniture grade cuts.

A miter saw, especially a Kapex, if money is no object, can come very close. If it's not close enough, no one suggested using the miter saw in combination with a shooting board, maybe a donkey ear too.

Though out of reach for many, there is a case that the Festool line is designed with European space limitations in mind. In that case, there simply may never be enough room for a table saw, and yet, Europeans still build some nice furniture.

It's nice to live in the U.S. where everyone gets a 10 acre lot for a dollar an acre, can afford a 5000 sq. ft. heated/air conditioned shop, or an eight car garage, but not everyone can fit a full size tablesaw in their shop. I'm one of those. A chop saw and a shooting board do just fine for me. Maybe someday I'll have that acreage and large shop. But for now, things work well in tight spaces without the big table saw.
Posted: 8:46 pm on May 13th

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Fine Woodworking magzine's biweekly podcast, Shop Talk Live, allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.