Author Topic: smoking table saw  (Read 12122 times)

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Offline bruce-ter

  • Posts: 27
smoking table saw
« on: March 07, 2010, 06:04 AM »
My buddy Dave needs some help.
Dave is on a tight budget, but is a doing a home remodel and is a developing some good woodworking skills.  Most of his tools are or the Harbor Freight variety, but with patience and bullheaded determination he is doing some nice work.  He has been saving for a decent router but now his little table saw is giving him fits.

It is a 10 inch bench saw, probably Harbor Freight.  No matter what cut he makes or blade he uses he gets a lot of smoking and burned wood and the saw is constantly trying to kick back.  What could be causing this?  A few ideas of what to check would be appreciated.


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Offline Alex

  • Posts: 7394
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 06:31 AM »
What your friend is experiencing is generally referred to as the 'Harbor Freight Syndrome'. Ok, I made that up.  [wink]

But the reason behind the problem is easy to understand and is the following: the cheap parts are wearing out. And this will cause the machine to loose it's already low power even more. The smoking and kickback are probably due to the TS being underpowered or losing alignment. This is what you get buying tools of such deplorable quality. They aren't cheap for nothing you know. The tools are cheap because they use cheap materials that are very soft instead of the hard and wear resistant materials quality brands use. And they wear out FAST. If a cheap tool is 5 times cheaper than a good tool, you can bet it wears out TEN times as fast.

Anyone who is really serious about creating things will very quickly come to the conclusion that buying these cheap tools isn't cheap at all in the end.

In my opinion there is only one real remedy: bin the cheap TS and get a quality tool.

« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 09:16 AM by Alex »

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1752
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 10:54 AM »
Introduce your friend to Craigslist.  I see lots of quality used saws out there for just a little more than a Harbor Freight piece o junk.

Offline PaulMarcel

  • Posts: 1545
    • VoilĂ , my blog
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2010, 05:15 PM »
Brice n Joe nailed it.  All those symptoms are from a fence pinching into the blade.  If it was just the burning, I could understand sharpness issues, but that it insists on kickback?! oh yeah, fence pinch.  Have him read Tom Crawford's thread about his kickback injury to instill the importance of your friend fixing this.  All fences need periodic re-alignment; the periodicity of that requirement, though, is proportional to the quality.

Joe's recommendation for the YouTube videos is a good one.  One guy bought a book on table saw tuneup and did the whole thing on film explaining it.  No need for the book after that, though I bought it cuz there were other gems in it.

BTW, my first Powermatic 64 got aligned nicely with those videos using a $12 dial caliper from HF so he can stick to his brand! :)
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Offline bruce-ter

  • Posts: 27
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2010, 06:37 PM »
Thanks for the info guys.  I have been urging him to not use it until he finds the cause and a solution, I think he has gotten the message.  Given his situation he does pretty nice work.
Thanks again for the advice, will pass it on.

Offline JEP

  • Posts: 28
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 05:52 PM »
Check the fence alignment first.  Often times on these cheap saws, the fence isn't parallel to the blade.  Sounds like it might be binding the blade as he feeds the material.


Offline CharlesWilson

  • Posts: 458
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 11:14 AM »
I built my rolltop desk using one of those, now discarded, Harbor Freight specials. I don't remember any smoking after I put the $50 carbide tipped blade on it. (The original blade was discarded.)  The so-called fence needed to be hand adjusted to square each time I moved it, and a lot of effort was spent keeping the blade perpendicular to the table.


Charles Wilson

Offline bruce-ter

  • Posts: 27
Re: smoking table saw
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2010, 09:05 PM »
He has been sidetracked on a diff't home project so hasn't gotten back to the saw.  I think the problem is the fence alignment.  In talking with him I get the impression that he has always been able to slide the fence over and make his cut.   Something has probably changed in the fence since he has used a number of blades, he last was a 120 tooth blade.  The wrong blade for all his current projects but he is was trying anything.