A good miter gauge makes a difference.

The Grizzly miter gauge (far left) has a cast-iron body with a flat guide face. The Grizzly gauge's bar adjusts to fit in its table slots. The Star gauge (near left) has a lighter-weight aluminum body and minimal angle markings.

our test will deliver adequate power.

When you do need to cut a lot of thick, dense stock on a contractor's saw, a thin-kerf blade will let you use faster feed rates and put less strain on your motor. Another way to reduce motor strain is to rewire the saw to run on 230-volt current. All the motors on our test saws can be wired for 1 15V or 230V. And in our opinion, the motors on the Grizzly and Star should be rewired for 230V. Both of these saws tended to trip 20-amp. 115V breakers, either upon startup or under load.

Miter gauge—A good miter gauge is crucial for precise crosscutting work, and the gauge that came with the Grizzly saw was the best of the bunch. The Grizzly miter gauge wfas the only one in our cest group with a body made from cast iron, which our testers preferred for its weight and solid feel. All the other miter gauges had lighter aluminum bodies. The Grizzly's miter gauge was also the only one in our test group with a bar that could be adjusted to fit in its table slots—a feature that promotes precision.

Other findings: The guide faces on the Bridgcwood and Star miter gauges weren't machined square with the table surface. And the miter-gauge bars on the Sunhill and Star saws didn't slide smoothly in their slots. We improved the fit with a few taps from the hammer and some filing.

Quality of cut—Smooth-sawn surfaces arc what woodworkers look for in a tablcsaw, regardless of its size, price or type. Our test cuts yielded smooth results with blades set at 90". But things changed when we began to tilt the blade. We found that material up to about fy in. thick could be cut smoothly with the blade lilted at different angles. But bevel cuts made in thicker stock produced some saw marks and burning, especially with the blade tilted to its maximum angle of 45".

We checked and adjusted blade alignment, but still couldn't eliminate the burning and saw marks. In fact, this Achilles' heel is common in contractor's saws. When you tilt the blade, the motor tilts as well, and its cantilcvercd weight causes the trunnion assembly to rack slightly, at the same time making it more prone to vibration. This causes the blade to cut less evenly. The bottom line: If you're cutting steep bevels in material thicker than ^ in., the beveled Text continued on page 53.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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