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Cheap Chinese Table Saw...

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      Can 'I' live without a Byrnes table saw? "Perhaps I can... perhaps I can't!" That's a tough one. I'm of the mindset that you 'Always Get What You Pay For', albeit. I'm also a 'tinkerer' who loves to mess with cheap Chinese trash products and modify them to a point where they can actually do the things that their misleading convincing advertisements would falsely boldly lead one to believe, in expectations, as to the true waste worth, slop quality... and faults dependability of what's actually being peddled advertised. If you have the means, you actually 'can' turn a lot of that cheap Chinese junk stuff into somewhat good and useful pieces of equipment. It's really not that hard to do. What follows are photo's of a mini table saw that I'm going to do the BASF thing to. Just like BASF... I don't make the Chinese trash that people buy. I make the Chinese trash that people buy, BETTER! 😉 

 

For starters. This thing cost me only $50 bucks on Amazon. It's not a powerhouse... for light duty only. I'll be using it to cut already thin slabs of resawn and thickness planed woods into planks. It's not a fast one, either. The no-load RPM is only 4,500rpm, at 110 volts with a draw of only 90 watts. Definitely not the strongest bull in the arena... but powerful enough to effectively tackle the light duty tasks that I want it to do. 

Upon un-boxing it, I was surprised at the weight for its size. It's actually quite heavy! That's a good thing. It won't slide all over the place while being used. I turned it on and it was amazingly quiet. No vibration, no problems there! "Impressive!" Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty, the things that need serious attention...;

1)... The motor was mounted well out of 'true' and the blade was running at about a 10 degree angle from a straight cutting orientation to the bed. No biggie. Had to remove the cover plate on the bottom, loosen the screws that secure the motor, then align the motor and tighten the screws. 

2)... The blade was also hugging the side of the slot, in the bed, and had to be readjusted to the center of that slot. Loosened a screw, on the arbor that holds the blade, moved blade to its proper position then re-tightened screw.

3)... The surface of the bed is incredibly rough. Not good at all! Sure, I could sand it down with fine grit paper, but have opted to skin it with a 1/4" slab of walnut, instead. I'll drill and tap the wood/bed to secure the walnut slab to the bed. I'd probably do this anyway, even if the bed was smooth!

4)... I also don't like the tooth count on the blade. It's a bit course. Quite course, to be exact. No biggie, however. The arbor is a really odd-ball size. 12.8mm (go figure... @#$!). I'll have to put the arbor in my lathe and turn it down to 11mm to fit an 11mm 40 tooth blade. I'll leave a step/shoulder at its original 12.8mm size, just in case. There's enough play in the arbor/shaft to allow me to shift the arbor to whatever step/blade I choose to use. 

5)... Adjusting the bade depth is pretty hilarious/crude/sloppy. There's a knob/handnut that loosens and tightens the table to adjust the height. Very cheesy and sloppy. I probably won't even mess with this problem as it is simply not worth the time and effort to make it better, unless it causes the bed to sit unlevel to the blade and causes unwanted crooked/beveled cuts. If it is crooked, that could actually work in my favor and save some time sanding bevels on my planks, but I'm not gonna count on that! 

 

I'll likely purchase a Byrnes saw, after Xmas, but for now... I'm gonna play with this piece of crap quality Chinese saw and see what kind of mileage I can actually pull out of it... after my modifications, of course!

 

  

    

 

    

                   

$50 Cheap Table Saw.jpg

$50 Cheap Table Saw`1.jpg

$50 Cheap Table Saw`2.jpg

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It looks like you've thought this through.  Until you put a decent sharp blade on it, I'm not sure you'll have an assessment of the runout/slop in the arbor bearings.  One thing you could do that would probably help is to make/buy some stiffener-stabilizers to place on the arbor beside the blade.   Another thing that you might do instead of screwing down some perfectly good walnut to the table, would be to put down a thin layer of baltic birch with plastic laminate (or just acrylic window glazing) on top for a smooth surface.  A sled would improve performance too, and maybe a better fence is a good idea. 

 

Oh, and if those miter slots are 3/4" wide, then you might be interested to know that US pennies are exactly 3/4" in diameter.  I've glued them to sticks used as runners for sleds on my full-sized table saw.  

Edited by Bob Blarney

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I have huge respect for table saws after I experienced a few kick backs from my very very underpowered proxon saw that sent pieces flying into orbit. Our faces are less than a meter away from a sharp blade spinning at thousand of RPMs! $50 is admittedly not very much but especially for this piece of machinery, I would go quality.

Still, the proxon was equally cheap, equally weak but right out of the box.

Thick plastic proper goggles are an absolute must using these things.

 

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17 hours ago, mtaylor said:

Before you get into re-machining your arbor... have a look here:  https://www.malcosaw.com/   I think you'll want the "cutting blades".  

"WooHoo!" "JACKPOT!" Many thanks for tossing me this bone, Mark! Nope, no machining of the arbor will be required, now! Great lead, I'm placing an order, NOW😊

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19 hours ago, Bob Blarney said:

It looks like you've thought this through.  Until you put a decent sharp blade on it, I'm not sure you'll have an assessment of the runout/slop in the arbor bearings.  One thing you could do that would probably help is to make/buy some stiffener-stabilizers to place on the arbor beside the blade.   Another thing that you might do instead of screwing down some perfectly good walnut to the table, would be to put down a thin layer of baltic birch with plastic laminate (or just acrylic window glazing) on top for a smooth surface.  A sled would improve performance too, and maybe a better fence is a good idea. 

 

Oh, and if those miter slots are 3/4" wide, then you might be interested to know that US pennies are exactly 3/4" in diameter.  I've glued them to sticks used as runners for sleds on my full-sized table saw.  

Believe it or not... this thing actually came with some really decent 'wafer' like stabilizers sandwiched to both sides of the blade. I was really surprised to see that! Not going to go crazy with a sled, fence, etc. here. That would be like putting $2K of wheels and a $4k stereo system in an old 'Yugo'! I'm just having some fun with this thing to see what it can easily and 'cheaply' do. Might be a worthy endeavor that will help some folks out who's budgets are rather limited. I remember living such days, myself!   

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17 hours ago, Roger Pellett said:

Isn’t 12.8mm, 1/2in?  Then a blade with a 1/2in arbor hole readily available here in the US should fit.

 

Roger

Yep, but I was struggling to find a source that sold them. I've never before used a 4" table saw. New territory for 'me'. Thanks to Mr. Taylor... "Problem solved!

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Just ran into a 'SNAG' with Malco Saw. Their minimum 'online' order is $25.00. The blade that I want is $24.88. Online checkout requires me to order 'TWO' blades in order to meet the minimum, plus $17.25 for UPS ground shipping... for a total of $67.01. That kinda defeats the 'cheap' thing that I was seeking. I'll give them a call, tomorrow, and see if I can just order one blade and have it sent via regular USPS mail.  

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18 hours ago, vaddoc said:

I have huge respect for table saws after I experienced a few kick backs from my very very underpowered proxon saw that sent pieces flying into orbit. Our faces are less than a meter away from a sharp blade spinning at thousand of RPMs! $50 is admittedly not very much but especially for this piece of machinery, I would go quality.

Still, the proxon was equally cheap, equally weak but right out of the box.

Thick plastic proper goggles are an absolute must using these things.

 

Perhaps the membership could start a separate discussion about safe cutting techniques for modelmakers' saws.  I have methods that I employ on my full-size cabinet saw, but I'm not certain that they're applicable to small saws.  Generally, a sled that carries stock has several advantages.  But in the meantime, here's a video for you to view, about how to safely resaw thin veneer slices on a bandsaw.  I believe the technique can be scaled down:

 

 

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Found enough time to get the table 'ready for action' this afternoon. After drilling, tapping, countersinking and screwing the 1/4" walnut top down to the aluminum table... I remounted the table to the saw and cut the slot into the walnut top by simply 'walking' the top down, onto the spinning blade, rocking it back and forth until the blade slot was complete. It took about five minutes to accomplish this task. I couldn't get too 'greedy' in my cutting without bogging the blade down, but hey. That blade was cutting through quite a bit of material before it finally emerged through the top of the 1/4" thick walnut. I'd say that this operation gave the motor a rather good workout. Once all was said and done, the motor still felt quite cool to the touch and I didn't smell any lacquer burning on the winding's. "So far so good!" I'll next set up a simple, make-shift fence... and actually try to cut some 1/2" lumber into planks.

 

    

$50 Cheap Table Saw`3.jpg

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Can you raise and lower the blade or is it fixed in position?    I ask because I cringed when you said you "walked it down".    If you can raise and lower the blade, next time, drop the blade to bottom, install your top (or if a Byrnes or other hobby type, the zero clearance stock) and then fire it up and slowly raise the blade.

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Sorry. No Blade height adjustment. The motor and blade are fixed. You must raise/lower the table, itself, to adjust the cutting depth. The table is held in position via a single knob/screw. Far from ideal, but good enough to serve its purpose, for now. It was fairly easy and quite safe to walk the table down. I simply snugged the knob just tight enough to hold the table steady when I let go, but also loose enough to move the table when needed. The worst part of the operation was wondering when that darned blade was 'FINALLY' going to poke through the top!😐

 

  

 

 

$50 Cheap Table Saw`4.jpg

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Well... the silly little thing actually works pretty good, for what it is! I cut some 1/2" poplar to the thickness of my desired planks, then cut the width of the planks. I just clamped a steel flat bar down to the table for a fence, and to handle the really short pieces while they were being cut, well. Not so sure that I should share 'that' info. It was rather dangerous and I don't want to encourage any potential accidents. I'd have used a longer piece of lumber, but didn't have any as long as I'd like to have used. These short planks are for a sectional model and they are plenty long for 'that' project. I have no doubts that this cheap little saw will work fairly well on cutting longer, wider, thin strips for planking purposes. Don't know how long the motor will hold up, but seeing how's it doesn't seem to bog down while cutting, I'm hoping it will hold up for a while. "We'll see." 😶

  

$50 Cheap Table Saw`5.jpg

Edited by tmj

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Use pushsticks.  I use some old chopsticks that are notched on the end and once the end of the plank is close to the blade ( maybe 3-4 inches) I use the push stick.  It doesn't matter the length of the plank but I always use pushsticks.  I also have "finger boards" to help guide  the wood. When I don't use the finger boards, I use 2 push sticks one to push it and the other off to the side near the blade to help guide it and keep it from moving away from the fence.  Oh.. no long sleeves and stand off the side.  Kick back can do a lot of damage to the body and sleeves can get grabbed by the blade.

 

Be safe!

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Push sticks were certainly used, however. That was not the problem. The problem was that I didn't use wide enough, nor 'long' enough 'resawn' pieces of wood to cut my planks from. Didn't feel like driving to my place of employment and using the bandsaw to resaw longer/wider blanks. I used this little bugger to 'resaw' my very short 1/2" thick wood stock into .085" thick X .500" wide wafers. I then reset my fence to cut .125" wide planks from those .085" wafers that were only .500" wide. Two push-sticks didn't work. The material just kept trying to scew off of the fence and also rise up, off of the blade. I couldn't effectively control the small pieces with push-sticks. I had to reluctantly hold the material down, with one hand, while using a small push stick to 'push' the actual plank, that was being cut, through the blade and effectively out the rear of the blade. I had to use my fingers to keep those 1/2" wide planks held tight against the fence, while also holding that narrow wafer down to the table. Not very comfortable having my fingers that close to the blade. I also tried pinning the narrow material down, with a piece of wood, to keep my fingers away, however. That didn't work very well either. Couldn't get any sure footing/traction on the narrow piece being cut. Long story short... Had to use my fingers!😮 That being said. I 'DID' go to the shop and resaw some yellow-heart wood into 3" wide X .125" thick X 12" long slabs. I brought those slabs back home and 'EASILY' ran them through this little saw to produce some nice .085" thick X .125" wide planks. No white knuckles were developed, this time. Apparently, size 'does' matter, sometimes!😕  

This should be enough yellow-heart planks to complete the black/yellow color scheme for this small sectional model. The black 'ebony' was previously cut, at work, via the bandsaw. That's why you don't see any cut ebony planks in the photo. This is about a tiny, cheap Chinese saw. I didn't cut the ebony on this tiny saw!

... Anyway. I think that this thing might be a good option for someone on a budget and/or those who are just looking to get started within reasonable means. You can even tilt the bed, for beveled cuts, by simply slipping thin shims between the bed support and the table height adjustment nut. I did that to create a slight bevel in the yellow-heart planks shown in the photo. I used a piece of standard thickness printer paper for 'my' shim material. That was all it took to get nice tight joints between the planks. Would I recommend this? Yes, I actually think I would! I believe it is a good value for the money, albeit. You'll need to keep the thickness of your wood to around a maximum of half inch, subject to density/species of wood. That's about all it can handle. I wouldn't try 1/2" of thickness in any really hard/dense woods. Doubt it could handle it. You'll also need to be a bit creative in how you setup/use this saw. It's basically nothing but a motor that spins a saw blade. No fancy bells/whistles included. Accuracy and effective use is going to be up to 'you' and the limits of your own personal imagination! I'll actually give it two thumbs up, for the cheap, simple piece of equipment that it is!

$50 Cheap Table Saw`6.jpg

Edited by tmj

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23 minutes ago, reklein said:

I really like these kinds of posts.Very informative and interesting to see how folks solve their problems.

I'm glad that you liked this. I'm not an expert on 'any' particular subject, by any means! I'm just one of those types who likes to tinker with things in hopes of 'building the better mousetrap'. If something works, "It simply works"... if it doesn't work... I'll find something 'else' to tinker with in hopes of realizing better results.      

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5 hours ago, EricWilliamMarshall said:

I impulsively bought one of these on sale at the local Horror Fright store years ago, just for grins. (I think it set me back $25 or so.) I should have read the reviews on line. It's sitting in a cupboard in my shop, unused. I took it out of the box once when I bought it to see what it would do. Fuggedaboudit! Totally gutless. Very under-powered. It'll cut balsa if it's not too thick. Maybe it'll cut 1/8"basswood if you take it really slow. That's about it. The miter gauge has no degree ruling marks on it. It doesn't have a fence at all. The blade height is adjusted by raising the table and keeping it in place with a set-knob. It's made of metal and looks fairly substantial, but it's a toy, really. Push a piece of wood into it and it'll slow and stall in a hot minute. It saws what can otherwise be cut with a drywall knife and a straightedge. One of these days, I'll give it to my grandson to play with if he ever has any interest in such things. Mounting a circular plate with some sandpaper glued on it on the arbor might turn it into a very light duty disk sander. The blades are non-standard and unobtainable on the aftermarket, AFAIK, so good luck trying to put anything else on it but the stock ones. Given the competition, it's probably worth what they are charging for them, if anybody has a use for something within its very limited usefulness parameters. 

Edited by Bob Cleek

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2 hours ago, Bob Cleek said:

I impulsively bought one of these on sale at the local Horror Fright store years ago, just for grins. (I think it set me back $25 or so.) I should have read the reviews on line. It's sitting in a cupboard in my shop, unused. I took it out of the box once when I bought it to see what it would do. Fuggedaboudit! Totally gutless. Very under-powered. It'll cut balsa if it's not too thick. Maybe it'll cut 1/8"basswood if you take it really slow. That's about it. The miter gauge has no degree ruling marks on it. It doesn't have a fence at all. The blade height is adjusted by raising the table and keeping it in place with a set-knob. It's made of metal and looks fairly substantial, but it's a toy, really. Push a piece of wood into it and it'll slow and stall in a hot minute. It saws what can otherwise be cut with a drywall knife and a straightedge. One of these days, I'll give it to my grandson to play with if he ever has any interest in such things. Mounting a circular plate with some sandpaper glued on it on the arbor might turn it into a very light duty disk sander. The blades are non-standard and unobtainable on the aftermarket, AFAIK, so good luck trying to put anything else on it but the stock ones. Given the competition, it's probably worth what they are charging for them, if anybody has a use for something within its very limited usefulness parameters. 

Agreed, the saw is missing a fence or crosscut guide or any accessories which allow more efficient cuts. It looks like a similar set of issues for the Amazon saw as well. Oh well.

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2 hours ago, Mldixon said:

I guess they improved it, I cut a 1/2 × 3/4 aluminum angle with it today. Carbide blade,  no wax, went right through it. 

So how thick was the aluminum it was actually cutting?

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19 hours ago, Mldixon said:

I guess they improved it, I cut a 1/2 × 3/4 aluminum angle with it today. Carbide blade,  no wax, went right through it.

3/8" Satinwood, no problem! 3/8" Clear Poplar... "like butter!" 1/4" Ebony, zipped right through it! 3/16" Kryptonite, wait a minute... "Sorry folks, my bad." "That's a different review, posted on a different forum... in a galaxy 'Far, far away'!🙃  (Yes, Amazon delivers there, too... just can't get it 'PRIME' next day delivery!

Edited by tmj

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9 hours ago, Mldixon said:

1/16" part of a jig for the build board for my Winchelsea project....20200110_061713.thumb.jpg.cff067c50c5d2116142550db7e731872.jpg

That's 1/2" ply its sitting on.

How'd it do on the half inch ply? Oops! Wait a minute. I forgot the HF table saw blade won't raise a half inch above the table. :D

 

Just razzin' you. They do cut, assuming the blade is sharp, and if it works for you, go for it. The way I see it, though, (and I have one) what's the point of paying forty bucks for an electric saw with its limitations? A hacksaw would have gone through that 1/16" aluminum just as fast and be capable of cutting a lot more metal that the HF saw could ever hope to cut. Your mileage may vary, of course. Realistically, nobody needs a mini-table saw for modeling unless you are going to be ripping strip wood or doing a lot of highly precise repetitive cuts, like when making gratings. They're essential for that and nice to have, but to do what they are really needed for, you can't get the power, and more importantly the control and accuracy, that you can get from one of the expensive ones and, for my money, the Byrnes saw is so much better that anything close to it, the few bucks more in cost is worth every penny and then some. Unfortunately, there isn't anything on the market that really fills the price point void between the Harbor Freight forty buck special and similar Asian knock-offs and the three to five hundred buck mini-table saws because the accuracy needed for cutting to close tolerances is expensive to produce. It's the same with all highly accurate machine tools. It's why wood lathes that work to "eyeball" tolenances are always so much less expensive than metal lathes which work to  =/-.001" tolerances.

Edited by Bob Cleek

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