ChrisLBren

Question for Jim Bryne's Saw Owners and Preac Saw Owners

Hey Group,

 

Ive got my Jim Saw up and running as I wind down my Confederacy and gear up for my next up build.  What an incredible piece of hardware - more than capable of ripping boards up to 3/8 thick which should be the limit I will need for the 74 in 1/48th scale after I get the material milled down professionally.  

 

For my Confederacy build I used a Preac exclusively and milled strips/sheets from Hobby Mill which were at most 3/16th thick.  I need to order new blades for both saws and am wondering if I should order any new ones for the Preac ?  The Jim Saw with fine cutting blades seems to be able to handle most of the uses of the Preac.  Just wondering if anyone out there uses both machines and what might be specific uses for Preac at this larger scale - maybe for very fine cuts using thin kerf blades for thin stock ?  Or making gratings ?

 

Any ideas here are appreciated.  

Chris

Canute, Nirvana and WackoWolf like this

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Chris I actually had both saws for a time. I did end up selling the Preac because I didn't find much use for it after the Byrnes saw. It just didn't match up in my estimation. Depth of cut, power, table size were among the limitations I found. Having said that I have often felt that 2 saws would be handy. Set ups on one can be held while the other is roughing out or doing complimentary elements as you suggest. Also if you need to switch blades that can be an advantage of two. Given that you have the two I think the answer is thinking ahead about the task and matching saw capabilities to complimentary or supportive tasks. Even in my full size shop I do not like to move either blade height or fence while in production of parts. If I had two saws I would use one for rough and one for finish milling given they are of the same capability. The other thing one runs into is sometimes is that mistakes can be corrected on the back up device while the other unit is onto something else. The one thing I would not do is mix like parts from one saw to the other. I realize this is a general response but it does "depend".

 

Joe

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I own three table saws, a Preac, Byrnes, and a 10in Delta. I use all three.  I use the 10in for heavy duty ripping from billets that I harvested myself. The Byrnes is used,to rip, material 1/4 in and thinner, and the Preac is especially useful for cutting small grooves for applications like making blocks. 

 

Roger

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Keep it.   I have had my Byrnes saw for years and believe it to be my most valuable tool.   I want a Preac saw and am waiting for the one to come along at the right price. Two Saws would be useful.   I know several modelers who relied on the Preac for for many years before they bought their Bynes saw.   They will not let go of their Preacs' and continue to find uses for it.  Let me know if you insist of selling yours. 

 

 

donrobinson, Nirvana, Canute and 1 other like this

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Chris,

If you use the recommended blades from Thurston for the Jim saw (or any saw they'll fit and Thurston has a lot of different sizes) all will be well.  Having a back up saw isn't a bad idea as I'm sure there's things you'll want to use the Preac for.   Seems we all have to find out what works for us in tools. 

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I also have the Preac Saw as well as the Jim Saw and find it very useful when needing two different width blades for the same project, for instance, sawing wood for block construction and adding the strop slot as well as the sheave slot. Much easier than changing blades frequently.  I have a Saw Stop for the big stuff, wouldn't take anything for any of these saws and I am constantly thankful that I did not part with my Preac.  It seems they very rarely show up on E-Bay.    

dvm27, donrobinson, mtaylor and 3 others like this

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Good morning all,

 

As said previously on this thread, I second that you keep both.  I have both and do occasionally use the Preac for very fine work, and when I'm too lazy to change blades.  To be totally honest though, I haven't used my Preac in a while.  The Byrnes saw I use almost every day that I'm working in the shop.  Before I had my Byrnes saw, I made gratings with the Preac.  The gratings for my current build (1:96) were made with the Byrnes saw.

 

As far as blades go, Thurston in Rhode Island is first rate.  I've used them several times and never been disappointed.  This is doubly special because most of their business is with professional jewelers and the like.  No order is too small.  Their customer service is tremendous.  I've ordered from them on Monday, and got blades on Friday of the same week.  Google their website to access their catalog and request a quote.  In a day or two you have a quote and instructions on ordering.  They are first class and the blades are excellent.

 

The three most used power tools in my shop are all be Jim Byrnes.  The saw most of the time, followed by the disc and thickness sanders.  I have sheets that I first thickness as needed and then cut on my Byrnes saw.

 

Best regards,

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Thanks for the feedback everyone - I went ahead and ordered a couple of blades from Thurston for the Preac along with some for my Jim Saw.  With some new blades and a fence adjustment - Im sure it may come in handy.  I've owned it since 2003 and it has served me well.

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If you are building ship's fittings yourself there are many parts that need to be mass produced (cannon brackets, knightheads, capstan etc.). Having two (or three!) saws with different setups makes this process much easier. 

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Yup - you're right Greg.  New blades from Thurston arrived - adjusted the fence - the Preac cuts like a champ again.  I am glad I'm keeping it.  Now just need to plan for my next purchases - a Lathe and possibly a Mill (I want to see if I can get by as long as possible without that one....)

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Your first comments about 'Jim's saw' cutting up to 3/8 inch thickness is a bit limited.

The blades that come with the saw include a four inch diameter 'course', carbide tipped blade that cuts boards to 3/4 inch thickness very nicely. I have used that to cut slabs of hardwood, such as maple, blood-wood and poplar, and then used the 3 inch 'fine' blade to cut planking. Both cuts were very close to what I wanted and with some adjustments of the fence 'dead-on'.

I have a larger saw but for this kind of work I don't use it. The Byrnes saw does it all.

PS. It was an administrative error, I am sure, but I just got another bill from Thurston for blades I bought last year and paid for by card (the normal way with them). Keep your records (receipts):D

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You are right ! I do have the carbide blade that came with the Jim Saw and it cuts 3/4 like butter! For my 74 build - the largest dimension in the plans is 3/8 thick @ 1/48 scale - which is what I was referring to not the saws capabilities.

 

Thanks for the heads up on Thurston - talk about quick turn around - I ordered the blades Tues and they arrived Friday

 

Canute, donrobinson, Nirvana and 1 other like this

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Definitely keep both.  I have both, and have them both set up all the time.  I tend to have the Byrnes set up to rip, and the Preac for cross cutting - saves having to remove the fence from the Byrnes whenever I want to cross cut anything more than a few inches long.  I particularly like the Preac for fine cutting - the parts tend not to fly as far away, and when I need to use a really thin blade.  For blades less than .02" thick, a 2" blade is less likely to flex and wander than a 3" blade.  The Preac works really well for ripping really thin wood like .024" stock for treenails.  I have full sets of blades for both. While some blades get used more frequently on each saw than others, I end up using all of them, particularly for slotting.

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I actually use the Preac more than the Byrnes saw.  I use the Byrnes primarily for more heavy duty cutting.  I feel like I am less likely to accidentally injure myself with the Preac.  Since I travel a lot, the Preac is a lot more portable as well.

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I'll offer a somewhat contrarian view. I bought my Preac in 2001 and it has served me well all these years. I have only had my Byrnes saw for a few weeks now. I don't have a lot of room on my tool bench, so I can't have both saws on there at the same time without removing another tool. But since having the Byrnes saw, I have yet to have any need to pull out the Preac.

 

One of the first things I did was make a sliding crosscut table and for the base, I used 3/16" hardboard. (It's sold as marker board and is smooth brown on one side and smooth white on the other). The reason for using 3/16" was so that any long stock placed on the crosscut table would go over the rip fence so that I would not have to be constantly removing/replacing it. I find myself changing between the two modes very frequently and I knew going in that dealing with the rip fence would be a big issue for me. Using such thick material for the base meant using 4" slitting saw blades, but they are working just fine for me. In fact, just the other day I ripped some 3/4" poplar with the 100-tooth blade that Jim sells and it cut through it with no problems at all. Only once have I used the carbide blade so far, and that was to cut some 3/4" boxwood. The slitting saw blade just wouldn't cut it. This was some true, European Box that I had harvested from some old-growth bushes and is hard as a rock.

 

One great advantage of the Byrnes saw over the Preac is the ability to cut thicker material. My Preac would barely cut 3/16" and to cut 1/2" stock meant cutting one side, turning the stock over and cutting the other. And because of the small motor, it would often bind up on something like that. That problem has been entirely solved with the Byrnes saw. The other real nuisance with the Preac was setting the blade to a particular height. The adjustment mechanism on that saw is quite primitive and I found that when I tightened the blade down, the height would change, so there was often a lot of trial and error to get it right. Not so with the Byrnes saw. The height adjustment is quick and precise and stays where you put it when you lock it down. If you need to cut lap joints or notches at a precise depth, this is something you will appreciate immediately. Unless I'm  doing something precise like lap joints, I don't even lock down the blade height on the Byrnes saw. On the Preac, you had to lock down the height and it was always awkward (not to mention the hole in the cap screw always being full of sawdust).

 

On my current model, I've lately been making some planks that are about 1/2mm thick and 3mm wide. Pretty tiny stuff. I've had no problems cutting it using my crosscut table (I'm using a 220-tooth 4" blade for this). One issue I've had, however, is that when ripping wider material to get these planks, it is so thin, it slides under the rip fence. So I have to clamp a piece of wood to the fence so that the wood sits right down on the table. The rip fence on the Preac is designed differently and sits tight to the table, so it would be better for that kind of work, but then, I'd have to take one of my other tools off the bench, pull out the Preac, set it up to make the cut, then put everything back in place. If I had room for both saws, I'd probably use both, but as it is, I have not really missed the Preac at all so far.

 

Cheers -

John

 

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