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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone help provide some tips for getting accurate square plywood panels cut for cabinet sides, backs, etc. It seems to take me forever to get perfectly square panels cut from a 4x8' sheet of plywood. I have been rough cutting my pieces with a circular saw and then using straight edge to get them trimmed square. Next, I have been using the first panel as a template and using a flush trim bit with my router to create a duplicate. There has got to be an easier way. My table saw is a relatively small 10" Craftsman with not a lot of table space.

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks.

Shane
 

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Shane
You can make a Panel Saw but they are not cheap to make or buy.
http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=panel+saw&hl=en&btnG=Search+Froogle

It's always been hard for one man to take on a 4' x 8' plywood,but the next best thing is to use a jig like the snapshot below ▼
http://www.routerforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2505
http://www.routerforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2506
http://www.routerforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2507
just clamp it in place and cut the panels and they will come out SQ. and true every time.
I should note *** The saw drops in the slot on the clamp so it can't move off the cut.( It will cut true)

Once you get the 4 x 8 plywood down in size it's can be put it on the table saw to make your rip cuts or use your panel cutting jig on the table saw.
(panel cutting jigs are quick and easy to make )
They use the slot in the table saw to keep the panel true when you cut it.

Bj :)
 

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Another way is to purchase plans and build a table surround for your saw. This is basicly a larger stand which supports your saw and material. I believe you will find plans at Shopnotes.com You can also purchase a ready made stand from the Rousseau company. Either way you increase the capacity of your small table saw. To get the best results build a saw sled; this is a panel with a guide strip on the bottom which follows your miter slot. You most likely have seen this panel cutting sled on the NYW. Plans are available from Popular Woodworking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have thought about making a panel sled for my table saw, however, I have a craftsman that has awful miter slots. They are almost like a "T slot" and have small notches every couple of inches to keep the miter slides from lifting. It makes retro-fitting other miter slide jigs difficult. I am thinking of cutting the notches off if the miter slot is the same size as standard slots.

Thanks for the info guys.
 

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Shane
It's a L shape alum stock, it hooks in the channel of the quick clamp.
You don't need to hold it down just a light push on the saw and it will track true.
The 1/16" carb.bit saw blade will give you a clean cut with almost no rip outs on plywood.
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Look real close at the black bracket in the snapshot
http://www.routerforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2505
part of the ( L ) bracket is deep inside the slot,about 1/32" from the bottom of the slot I used the MDF stock to set the depth of the lock in part of the L.

Just a side NOTE***I made one for the router also and it works great for Dado's and anything that you want to use it on.
http://www.routerforums.com/showthread.php?t=2634


Just a note about the Craftsman Table Saw.
When you make a Panel cutting jig you need to make a T-slot that will fit the saw table, I have the same saw and I will post a snapshot if you want to take a look at it.
It's two part T-Slot fixture and it works great in the saw table.

Just ask and I will post a snapshot. :)

Bj :)
 

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Shane

Here are some snapshots how to make a panel cutting jig for the Craftsman table saw.


Hope they help you

Bj :)
 

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You could also make the guide strip from a piece of hardwood by cutting a strip 1/2 x 5/8" and removing 1/16x 1/4" deep from each side on your router table. UHMW is the ideal material since it is "self lubricating" but HDPE would work well too.
 

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You're Welcome Shane

Post a picture or two after you make it this weekend.

NoTE ***Besure to put your plywood blade in the saw b/4 you start.
Plus use your zero insert plate in the saw top.
If you don't have one just remove the one from the saw and use the plastic you have left over to make 2 1/2' X 10" long insert,you will need a rubber gromett under the back side on the insert and a 3/16" steel washer under the front one.(the grommet will compress down and hold the plate in place)
You will also need to put a rabbit on 3 sides on the insert 1/4" wide 3/16" deep ,this will let the insert set right in the hole.(on the alum.tabs )
Place it in the saw table screw it down and move the blade up ( with care) now you have one.
Make two or three at the same time,they are nice to have on hand.
The 1st one I made (in the snapshot ) told me the saw blade was off a bit so I did fix that now the blade cuts true,that's hard to see in the Fac.insert because it's so wide of a slot.

60/80 tooth Blade
This will cut the plastic a bit cleaner and when you cut the panel sled
it will be just right when you cut the plywood for the panels.
Then it's set for dead on cuts and you can add a stop block on the right end side then you can cut them all the same size.

In the snapshot you will see my combo blade in place don't use yours,see notes.

One more NOTE about the table saw, I didn't care for the chip bag under the table so I took it off and put in a plastic flower pot ,hahahahaha I know,you know that it has a plastic part to hook the bag on to under the table saw, I found a plastic flower pot that was just the right size,for two bucks and some black paint and 4 screws, it looks like a fac.part,I put in a hole to hold the app. and the vac hose now all the chips get put into the vac system bag.
see snapshots how to put one in your Craftsman Saw.

Have a good one
Bj :)
 

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Shane, your best bet is to buy the right tool for the job. You'll get different answers from different people as to what the right tool is and you still have to be able to afford the tool, have room for the tool, and it should be as versatile as possible to get the most for your money. I have a shop full of floor mounted tools as well as power hand tools and the like but the newest tool I have that's getting lots of use is...
http://www.eurekazone.com/ The EZ Smart guide system will do everything you've described faster, easier, and far safer than any table saw in the world and combined with the right accessories it will do a lot more than what you need. I have no financial interest in the EZ Smart but I wish I did. I see a lot of people on the various forums with problems just like yours and they don't have all of the standard tools, or the tools they do have aren't quite up to par. The EZ Smart Cabinet Maker system will allow you to easily cut up all of your panels perfectly square and all ready to assemble in just minutes without having to carry the panels around from the back to the front of table saw. Just check out the link I posted and you'll be surprised. There is a huge archive of photos showing many different applications and techniques and quite a few great videos. The videos aren't the fastest download but they're not too bad and they're worth it. There's a link on the Eureka Zone home page for the EZ Smart forum. You should check it out. Dino, the owner and inventor of the EZ Smart, is on there just about every day and the forum is full of great people willing to give lots of advice and helpful suggestions. You'll see a lot of claims made on the EZ Smart website and from what I've seen they're all true. It's far cheaper than getting any quality table saw or panel saw and for most applications, it's better. The EZ Smart won't do everything a table saw will, such as dados, but I prefer to use a router for dados whenever I can anyway. The EZ Smart has an attachment for that too and it's very versatile. Sorry for the hardcore sales pitch but, as you can tell, I'm very enthusiastic about this product and just about everyone who buys one loves it too.

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Now you've really got me going. I cannot figure out how to make the zero clearance insert either. My saw has a square insert and all of the zero clearance inserts on the market for Craftsman are oval. It also has uneven screw holes so I would have to rabbet out space for them and I just figured it would be too difficult to get the thing to lay in the slot flush with the table. I'll have to read back through your reply to see if I can figure your method out. I must have a slightly different saw than you because minde doesn't have the dust collection.

Thanks again!
 

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Shane

Here you go this should help. :)


Bj :)
 

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ShaneB said:
Can anyone help provide some tips for getting accurate square plywood panels cut for cabinet sides, backs, etc. It seems to take me forever to get perfectly square panels cut from a 4x8' sheet of plywood. I have been rough cutting my pieces with a circular saw and then using straight edge to get them trimmed square. Next, I have been using the first panel as a template and using a flush trim bit with my router to create a duplicate. There has got to be an easier way. My table saw is a relatively small 10" Craftsman with not a lot of table space.

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks.

Shane
Are you wanting to only cut these on a table saw or with a circular saw? Also, are you using the "factory" edge as a guide?

Even though factories make these cuts, don't always rely on them for being "true" and square. Find the center of your sheet, measure from center point to each corner. You might be surprised to what you will find.

Bob and Mike have giving you some very good idea's to work with. I lean more with the panel saw system. As Mike listed, Shopnotes, Woodsmith and I believe a few other woodworking mags will carry such plans on their web sites. You will find that if you decide to make your own panel saw, it's cheaper if you build it yourself.
Just to touch up on what Mike had stated earlier, SUPPORT!! What you decide on what to make and use to cut plywood, make sure you have plenty of support. If you can clamp down your work piece, do it.
Just my $0.02 worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Benny,

I checked out the EZ system and it definitely looks and sounds great. The website is completely confusing though. there are so many different products that I can't even tell how it differs from a straight edge (I realize that it must be different). What EZ system equipment would I need to accomplish square repeatable panels for cabinets? Your enthusiasm is great. It seems that everyone who touches this thing gets the bug from the sound of that forum!
 

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ShaneB said:
Benny,

I checked out the EZ system and it definitely looks and sounds great. The website is completely confusing though. there are so many different products that I can't even tell how it differs from a straight edge (I realize that it must be different). What EZ system equipment would I need to accomplish square repeatable panels for cabinets? Your enthusiasm is great. It seems that everyone who touches this thing gets the bug from the sound of that forum!
Hi Shane, I agree that the website could be better set up because there's just so much info there. The products are all part of the EZ Smart guide rail system. The heart of the system is the guide rails and, other than length, they're all the same. For a guided circular saw there's a base that you either screw or double stick tape to the bottom of you right-blade circular saw. It differs from a straight edge because the base rides on, and is partially locked onto a ridge on top of the rail. And the edges of the guide rail has some ingenious plastic inserts that you place exactly on your cut line. They also prevent virtually all chip out on the left side of the cut. With a straight edge you have to space the guide away from the cut to account for the distance between the saw base and the edge of the blade. This allows for error. With the EZ Smart you just position the plastic edge right on your marks and cut. The cut is dead on with no calculating other than when you decide where you want your cut to be. But even better is the repeaters and the square that attach to the guide. There's a lot of detail to these, more than I'll go into here but basically the square automatically squares the guide rail to the workpiece and the repeaters are adjustable to allow for multiple cuts the exact same width without ever marking your workpiece as many times as you can push your saw with your arm. With the repeaters you can either cut with the rail on top of the, "Keeper side" or on top of the, "Waste side". This is possible because they are adjustable for the width of the blade. This might sound very vague and confusing if you're just reading it here but if you spend some time on the website, looking at the pics or watching the videos you'll get a better idea of how it works. Also, because of the special inserts that go into the bottom of the EZ saw base you'll not only get chip-free cuts on the left side of the cut but also on the right side of the cut. This is possible whether you're cutting with the saw on or off of the guide rail. There is also a product called the SRK and it allows you to attach your router to the guide rail. I don't have one but from what I've seen it's really a very handy and useful addition. The applications that Dino and the rest of the gang have come up with are amazing. You can also attach a hand held power planer to the SRK and there are other applications for other tools for the EZ system too. This system of tools isn't cheap and flimsy in any way. Everything is very solid and well engineered. The guide rails are double walled and when two or more are connected together they are dead-on straight and absolutely don't flex at all. Very high quality and heavy duty. I've never seen a post anywhere where someone complained about the quality, or really, complained about any other part of the system.

I really recommend spending a little more time carefully looking over the website. The forum is absolutely full of people willing, (and probably more qualified than me) to answer your questions no matter how basic they are. There are experts on there and there are people who have never owned one so everyone is welcome. Also, Dino is usually very willing to take your phone calls and answer any questions you have for as long as it takes. I've called him twice and both times he answered the phone and both times it was me that ended up ending the conversation. He was very willing to talk about it as long as was necessary. Dino is from Greece and has a pretty thick accent but he's not too hard to understand. He's a very experienced carpenter and woodworker and he's even been known to leave his shop in NJ and drive to see a customer he'd never met just to help him out with a project. The absolute BEST customer service you'll ever find.

If you have any more specific questions you should either call Dino or check out the EZ forum or feel free to contact me privately via private message or via email. [email protected]

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks so much Bruce. Does the squaring device and the repeaters come with the guide rails and base or are they sold separately? Sorry for all of the questions, but you seem to have the answers!

Shane
 

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ShaneB said:
Thanks so much Bruce. Does the squaring device and the repeaters come with the guide rails and base or are they sold separately? Sorry for all of the questions, but you seem to have the answers!

Shane
No problem at all, Shane. Glad to help. The basic EZ setup comes with two 50" rails and the connectors to join them, a base plate for the saw, and two clamps that slide in a groove under the rails. These clamps work extremely well and if you were to upgrade the clamps they will even clamp an extremely narrow piece of wood. I don't have the specs in front of me but I believe they'll clamp a piece as thin as 3/8" or something close to that. Then you could rip a piece off of that super thin piece so thin you can read through it. There is an example of Dino doing just that in the photo gallery. Try doing that safely on any table saw! And your hand never comes anywhere near the blade and there's no danger of a kickback.

The square and the repeaters don't come with the basic setup but they can either be purchased separately or as part of another package. I'd recommend the, "Cabinet makers" package because it comes with one square and one repeater. You'll have to check the website though because I'm doing this from memory. There are several different packages available depending on what your needs are and if you're not sure what you want, or if what you want isn't listed you can call Dino and he'll be happy to walk you through what you need. Honestly, he won't try to sell you more than you need and if you're not happy with it he'll gladly take it back. In fact, he even will loan out the tools for you to try out for free and I think he even will set up a payment schedule if necessary. If I were reading this for the first time I'd think it sounds too good to be true and that he's just a high-pressure salesman. But it's not too good to be true and he's the real thing.
Buying directly from Eureka Zone, (Dino's company) will work fine and I think he might be having a sale going on right now for EZ Smart Forum members but it might have ended. Hartville tool, Amazon, Ebay and others also sell the basic system but I don't know if you can get the square or repeaters from anyone else other than the Eureka Zone website.

Feel free to ask anymore questions. You might have to contact me off line via private email because I may be getting banned from this forum. I hope not but it's not looking too promising.

Bruce
[email protected]
 
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