Ran the heater in the shop yesterday to get a feel for how well equipped I am (or ill equipped, as the case may be) to cut panels out of 3/4" plywood for making cabinets for my kitchen. I learned a lot.
#1 My BTS15 is a "hobby" saw at best. The fence isn't square to the blade, there is no miter slot so I can't really make a sliding panel cutting sled, and the sliding table doesn't have enough "slide" to do panel cutting. And the tearout isn't pretty and there's no way for me to make a practical zero clearance throat plate for the BTS15.
Without money in the budget for a new table saw (although I really like the Rigid R4512) I am looking at making do with what I have.
I made circular saw guide from 1/4" hardboard. It produces a clean cut, but repeatability becomes an issue. If I can't accurately position that guide from one piece of wood to another, I get pieces that aren't EXACTLY the same size. They might be only 1/32 off but if it's 1/32 wider at one end and 1/32 narrower at the other, then it's off by 1/16. There's also a tiny bit of "wander" in the cut. It looks really straight to eyeball it, but it's not laser straight. I may be able to cure some of that by simply being much more careful to be sure the saw is staying flat on the guide and tight to the fence.
So now I'm thinking that my guide needs a "fence" on the bottom. Something with "stops" that will allow me to put the guide on a pice of plywood and push the stops up against a reference edge and the guide will be positioned exactly at a set width.
So, for example, if I have a lot of 11-1/2" wide panels to cut, I have a guide made for those panels.
I fully understand that I'm not going to open a cabinet shop this way. I just need to be as accurate as possible and get these cabinets built for my kitchen. I know 1/32 isn't terrible, but I also know I don't want to compound that in the same way over 4 cabinets in a row. Or.... maybe it's not as bad as all that and I'm being overly cautious. These are "cottage" cabinets (although not at a cottage... they'll be in my kitchen) and they'll be painted, not stained. I was thinking about doing these as frameless but I think they'll be getting face frames instead.
I just can't seem to justify $500 for a new table saw plus whatever it would cost for some zero clearance throat plates and probably a new blade (not sure what the Rigid comes with for a blade). I'd be over $600 real easy. That would be a tough sell for the wife I think.
thoughts? I count on you guys. I don't have anyone around me that does this stuff.