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Jordan Lane
09-14-2011, 3:36 PM
I am a semi pro wood worker (some cabinet work, furniture, and one offs) who desires to upgrade my table saw (PM 66) for several reasons. I am looking at a SS and a sliding table saw. I think the safety of the sliding table saw is pretty close to the SS and offers a few advantages over a traditional table saw. However, I have never used a sliding table saw and need some advice from experienced users. Ripping using the traditional fence appears to be awkward with the slider undercarriage sticking out on the left hand side which is where I normally stand, how do you slider guys rip? How do you do tenon work on the slider? How do you rip narrow strips on a slider? Will a 8 foot slider be big enough to process a sheet of plywood? How does one do many of the things on a slider that I perform routinely on a traditional table saw? Do you wish you had not made the switch to a slider and if so why? Sorry for all the questions but itís a big investment to step up to a slider and I donít have access to one to use to help my comfort level. I have seen a few in a few in person but the cabinet and furniture companies were too busy to really spend any time with me and answer my questions. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Ryan Hellmer
09-14-2011, 3:52 PM
I'm in the process of shifting to a short-platform slider (55" travel) and having trouble adjusting. There are certainly things that it is really really good for (very accurate crosscuts), but I'm not finding the adjustment to other cutting operations to be quite as easy. There are a ton of threads on here that discuss this, do a quick search (one is just a few posts down from here). One other thing I wasn't ready for is the fact that my saw (Wadkin SP12) is almost 12 feet from coast to coast (including outrigger table) and you need substantially more space around the saw to permit movement of the stock being cut.

As for safety, obviously saw-stop has good stuff, but every tablesaw is only as safe as the operator. My Wadkin is the first saw I've owned with all appropriate safety features in place (splitter/riving knife, overhead "crown" guard and sliding table). It's becoming pretty obvious to me that these features, which are particularly well designed on most euro saws, are not as cumbersome as we Americans think and do quite a bit to aid in the overal safety (and dust collection) of saw operation.

I've kept both my cabinet saw and the slider and think that is the way to do it. Just make sure you give the slider the room it deserves (mine doesn't get that yet).

Ryan

Nick Alberda
09-14-2011, 4:10 PM
Have you ever thought of using a Jessem Master-R-Slide?

I use one for building cabinets, and it's a dream in a small shop. right now I have it on a unisaw, but I am in the process of upgrading to a Sawstop ICS. I build all kinds of Kitchen cabinets, and don't find it limiting at all, plus it takes up next to no room. i always end up ripping my goods to 24" or 12" wide, then crosscutting, so the 36" crosscut is rarely a problem. I would not give mine up for the world!

John P Clark
09-14-2011, 4:22 PM
I have a Hammer K3 with the winner package (78 in slider) and do about what you do, cabinets, furniture, etc and had many of the same concerns that you have. If fact, I kept my unisaw in case I could not do everything on the new saw. I just sold the unisaw after it sat for 1- yr collecting dust. Ripping is not that hard with the slider, and breaking down sheet goodsmis a dream, and cutting down cabinet door is very easy. It might tak a little getting use to, but if you are like the rest of us, you will not go back to a cabinet saw. In addition, I think that if you take card, this saw is as safe as any saw that you can buy. My 2 cents worth

Peter Aeschliman
09-14-2011, 4:28 PM
The thing to remember is that a slider is still just as dangerous as a non-SS cabinet saw if you do rip cuts using the rip fence. I doubt many people cut their fingers off while cutting sheet goods on a cabinet saw, mostly because your fingers are really far from the blade when making those kinds of cuts. The real danger when working with any table saw is when you're doing rip cuts. If you can't find a way to use the sliding mechanism to make parallel rip cuts (not just straight-line rip cuts) on a slider, then the claimed safety benefits of a slider really are non existent. The vast majority of your cuts on sheet goods don't require your hands to be close to the blade at all.

Now given that you do this as a semi-professional, I would be surprised if you had the time necessary to fidget with the sliding mechanism in order to do your rip cuts. And even if you do, you'll need a massive slider to do your rip cuts.

Assuming you're in a hurry to buy and you want the safety of a sawstop and the cross-cutting benefits of a slider, you might want to consider buying a sawstop and getting a full size sliding table add-on, such as the excalibur. I have the smaller excalibur sliding table on my sawstop and it works great. I know it's not as refined a full format style slider, but for cabinet work, all you need to be able to do is crosscut 48" and support the sheet of ply while doing so. The nice thing about the excalibur sliding tables is that the rails on don't get in your way when you want to stand to the side and do a rip cut. And of course, the Sawstop will keep your fingers safe when you do your rip cuts. Cabinet saws are still awesome machines for rip cutting.

If you're NOT in a hurry to buy, give sawstop a call and ask them when they think they'll have their format slider on the market. Apparently they've told a few SMC members that they're already underway with their R&D.

Just my $.02!

David Kumm
09-14-2011, 5:15 PM
I use both and would never give up the slider but almost would never give up the traditional saw either. Both excell at certain cuts. For sheet goods a slider is more accurate than anything other than a vertical panel saw. Ripping small strips is easier on the slider as it also has a fence that moves forward. In fact for most ripping the fence is forward of the back of the blade. With a slider, get as long a table as you have room for. Eventually you may want pneumatic clamps- look at airtightclamps.com- and you need extra length for those. A slider that loses its settings when you dump sheet goods on it is not good so quality is important. Do not cheap out- buy a better used one if necessary. On a slider you want good quality flat cast iron main table that can be adjusted flat and a flat sliding extrusion so you don't get humps and dips as it travels. I would buy from a proven company and not wait for SS to enter the slider market. Their safety is proven but not their ability to make a slider. Not a knock on them. I would not buy a slider from anyone that doesn't have a long term reputation in the marketplace. If you are making a living with the machine you can't check the settings every day. I would keep the PM if you have the room or make room for it. The SS is safer technology but not a physically better saw. Get a riving knife from sharkguard and use the saw for any ripping you don't like on the slider as well as dados. Drawer sides and the like. saw your post of FOG. They are more hard core slider guys than I am so I will watch those posts as well. Dave

Jordan Lane
09-14-2011, 5:32 PM
unfortunately i do not have the room to keep both, this is why i am struggling with this decision... i agree David i am looking ta a Felder and a MM saw

Frank Drew
09-14-2011, 5:41 PM
I'd get a slider and exercise normal safety precautions -- pay attention to what you're doing; don't let your mind drift; if you're tired or distracted, take a break from the cutting tools.....

I love sliders, even if you can't get a full-sized one.

Damon Stathatos
09-14-2011, 5:49 PM
You have a fairly easy solution, if you have enough room.

I went about setting up a commercial shop two to three years ago and have ended up with four table saw set-ups in my shop. You don't need four, two would do the trick. I have very little space limitations and if you bide your time, table saws are out there to be stolen.

I started my commercial shop out by basically moving my garage shop to my new location, and then just kept adding equipment. The only reason I ended up with so many table saws was because while trying to buy other types of machines, I kept running across unbelievable deals on table saws and since I had a latent tendency towards them in the first place, just kept buying them. As I added them, I began designating the older machines to one-function uses. Eventually, this is what I ended up with:

The saw I moved over from my garage, a Delta Unisaw, eventually became a glorified but exacting chop saw with the addition of a (on drastic clearance sale) Jessem slider. Off came the rails and the 'bee's' fence and on went a thin kerf cross-cut blade.

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A Northfield #10 with a power feeder ($400 in auction). A little work to supplement their fence for a true-flat and a designated 18", 3/16th kerf rip blade. This thing's a beast ripping down a lot of stock into uniform widths. By the way, in your table saw explorations, do NOT be concerned with cosmetics. As a matter of fact, the more beat-up they look, usually the cheaper they are. DO be concerned with the important, the non-cosmetic issues.

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A local cabinet shop closing down and my only interest was a 20" SCMI planer they had. It went too rich for my blood but I could not pass up this PM 68 for $600. You just can not buy cast-iron-real-estate like this any more. The fence alone was probably worth a couple of hundred. This is the saw that I set up as a designated one-off (more or less) rip and is what I would suggest you do with your current model 66. You could perhaps improve upon what I've done with some built-in extension tables.

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Lastly, and what really brought it all together, a 10' SCMI slider. I had searched and searched for a reasonably priced slider for the duration of my two+ year shop set up. My target was a good condition 10 footer for under $3k. I finally stumbled on one in another local auction. I have equipped it with a 3/16th kerf 12" combo blade (the only downside and my only combo blade). I use this saw for all sheet goods, large (heavy) cross cuts, and very important for me, straight-line ripping. I actually have a designated straight line rip (a Diehl) but that is a major pain to use.

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It is a pleasure to be able to walk up to any one of these saws and with just one or two adjustments (move the fence, raise/lower the blade) and get the cut you need. Outside of just the ease of use issue, and more importantly, is the designated blade factor. Up until the time I 'exploded' with table saw varieties, I always had a combo blade on my Delta. The results you get from the proper blade for the cut is dramatic, much more so than I ever imagined.

You could achieve very close to what I have going on here by keeping your PM 66 and setting it up as a designated rip saw and then picking up a good 10' slider. I have absolutely no idea of or affiliation with this fellow Creeker, but remembered seeing his post recently. I remember checking it out as a comparison to the saw I had bought and thinking, why hadn't this saw come up when I was looking for one?

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?172229-SCMI-SI-SI-16W-Sliding-Table-Saw-3000-(Wilmington-DE)

I think that this solution would be less than the SS route and end up giving you so much more capability. Best of luck to you in your TS pursuits.

Post Edit: You posted that you do not have room for two saws while I was composing this. So...never mind.

Jeff Monson
09-14-2011, 6:00 PM
Jordan,

I made the switch about a year ago, it has been a learning curve but nothing too difficult.

I have a 2500mm slider so it does stick out quite a bit for the ripping operation, I stand to the left side of the slider and use a long push stick, feels different at 1st, but it is second nature to me now.

I'd recemmond a 2500mm or longer slider so an 8' sheet good can be ripped.

Ripping thin strips is easy, I just pull my rip fence back to the last 1/3 of the blade to eliminate pinching.

Tenon work on my machine is easy, I use the sliding table and a rebate cutter.

Take a hard look at Felder, I'm sold on my KF700, well worth a call to them. The website also has some
great videos.

Mark Engel
09-14-2011, 7:01 PM
Jordan,

I just switched from a Grizzly 1023 to a Grizzly G0623X.

A sliding table saw does take a little getting used to. I have only had this saw for a short while and I am still figuring out how to make various cuts. I have read a lot about the difficulties of making rip cuts on the slding saw vs a cabinet saw, and I really don't see much difference. Apart from the fact that my 1023 had 50" rip capacity and the 623X has only ~30". Making a rip cut using the sliding table with the cross cut fence is easy and very accurate.

The sliding table on the 623X can cut ~69", so I can't rip a full sheet of ply using the slider. For that I would have to use the rip fence just like I always did with the cabinet saw.

Here's an offer for you. I see you are in Virginia. I am in North Carolina. If you would like to take a drive down here, you are more than welcome to check out my sliding TS. It may not be what you are looking for, but you can at least try a few things, and I would be happy to answer an questions that I actually have the answers to. Hands on may be the best thing to help with your decision. You can PM me if you are interested in checking out my saw.

Chris Tsutsui
09-14-2011, 7:17 PM
The original poster made a comment of how the sliding table might get in the way if using the table like a conventional cabinet saw with rip fence.

The K3 Winner has a lockable stop that clicks to lock the table in a certain position. You can position this lock so that the sliding table is pushed slightly forward so it doesn't get in the way of the operator. I would probably use a roller support under the aluminum table though just to prevent any sag though even when fully extended, the table has a good amount of rigidity and no sag.

Actually, you give me the idea of adding two lock stops to the table, one so the sliding table locks centered in the table, and the other lock is for the table to lock in the forward position so it's out of the way for when I'm using the rip fence only.

My one advice is to get a sliding mechanism that is a good technology and I consider the Hammer to be a budget system. I'd have to suggest the Felder X-roll system if you have the money. If I knew what system Laguna, grizzly, minimax, etc used then perhaps those could be options as well.

Jordan Lane
09-14-2011, 7:33 PM
hey Chris :) i was referring to the undercarriage of the sliding table..the rail the table rides on ...the ones i have seen always stick out about a foot or so at the back of the saw when the sliding table is pushed all the way forward...Mark i think you answered my question when you said "Making a rip cut using the sliding table with the cross cut fence is easy and very accurate." there must be a device for creating parallel cuts on the slider?

Mark Engel
09-14-2011, 8:01 PM
What I do to make parallel cuts is this:

Place any factory edge against the cross cut fence and move the workpiece through the blade using the sliding table, taking a minimum cut, about 1/8". Make sure the workpiece contacts the blade all the way through the cut.

Rotate the workpiece so the just cut edge is now against the crosscut fence. Make a second, ~1/8 cut to the adjacent edge. You now have a 90 degree corner.

With the same edge against the crosscut fence, move the second cut edge against the rip fence and rip off whatever you need. Each cut you make like this will be parallel to the previous cut.

The last step would be to cross cut each of the pieces cut in the previous step to length. All of these pieces should be perfectly square.

I'm not sure if I am explaining this well, but this is the method I use and I get workpieces that are square to within 1/64" across corners, using a standard tape measure.

Peter Quinn
09-14-2011, 10:02 PM
Felder has a video available that details the use of a multi machine in the making of a desk from rough lumber. It shows lots methods of work using a slider and is well worth requesting. It may answer some of your questions. It is on some levels more boring than watching grass grow, but it is highly educational and still worth the time IMO.

Ripping on a slider? No sir, I don't like it. But I'm not forced to do it. I have tried, on a larger machine you are either leaning over the carriage from the left, which for a man my height (short) seems more dangerous than I care to consider, or you dance with that slider undercarriage and get used to hip bruises. I have not tried using the sliding carriage with a parallel jig, because I am not forced to given there are 4 cabinet saws in the shop where I work. Consider a parts list with 10 different rip widths and two operators, one on a slider with parallel jig on the carriage, the other on a cabinet saw. For speed, cabinet saw wins hands down. Assuming time is still money for professionals, you keep your cabinet saw and find a home for it. Now you will hear people argue the virtues of the slider for ripping till they are blue in the face and I am red, but envision setting two stops, loading the stock, moving the two stops for every size change....arghhhhhh!

Tenons? You can use a dado on many newer sliders, you can make a jig, modify a standard TS tenon jig to lock into your sliders T slot, lots of good options and generally a larger blade so more capacity. Tenons wont be a problem.

THin rips? Easier on a cabinet saw, same issues as ripping anything on a slider.

Another rip option? Power feed. I would consider setting up a dedicated fold away power feed on the slider which would make it a shove and catch operation, which certainly works well on a cabinet saw, and would eliminate that reaching or dancing.


If I could only have one, I would pick slider. In my home shop I have a PM66 but would gladly exchange it for a slider budget permitting. If you have a good shaper in the shop most rabbiting operations can go that direction which takes weight off the slider that would have gone to the cabinet saw. The slider makes working sheet goods far easier, and it makes handling larger pieces of solid stock and panels much easier, so if these things play a large role in your work it is worth serious consideration.

Stephen Cherry
09-14-2011, 10:09 PM
If you are in NO. VA, you should get in the car and head to Delaware to the Felder place. I've got a Felder K975 used, and the guys in DE cold not have been more helpful. In my opinion, it is much preferable to a saw stop- you make cuts with your hand in the next county from the blade. Plus, for furniture, it is nice to be able to use a big blade, or a scoring blade. And the Sliding table saw can replace many of the functions of the jointer and planer. For example table legs, from rough to tapered take only a few minutes on the slider. It is silly how easy tapered legs are. No jigs, just use the stop, and a block of wood clamped to the slider.

By the way, if you get the felder, get at least one of the big clamps, money well spent.

As for tenons, I think the shaper is the way to go, if you are willing to bite the bullet for the machine and the tooling.

Chris Fournier
09-14-2011, 10:31 PM
Keep the 66 and get as large a slider as you possibly can. If not then get the slider and learn to work on it. I have had to take the second route.

At first ripping seemed like an impossibility, now it is old hat to me after 6 motnhs; this is not to say that it is as nice to rip on as my 350 was and you must be aware that the slider surface is proud of the cast iron saw table and on thinnier pieces being ripped even thinner you likely do not have a perfectly square cut.

A power feeder can take some of the anxiety out of ripping...

Cutting sheet goods square is a piece of cake and a genuine treat. Make the move to silder and I don't think that you'll regret it. I have a MM CU410 Elite 410 S and it has proven to be a faultless machine. The design and build quality are exquisite.

Jordan Lane
09-14-2011, 10:33 PM
thanks Stephen i do own a free standing shaper

Tom Clark FL
09-14-2011, 10:58 PM
Here is my solution. I first saw a sliding table from Powermatic at the Atlanta Woodworking show at least 20 years ago. It was the first one that would crosscut 49". I bought a used 66, and a new sliding table for it. All these years later I could not imagine not having a sliding table on any table saw. It makes case work so easy and fastÖ

Of course this is not the same as a real slider, but it sure works for me. I usually break down full sheets to a more manageable size as I work alone. It is easy to rip a full sheet of lighter material just by lifting the back end over the slider fence, but for heavy stock it is cut into smaller pieces first.

Jordan Lane
09-14-2011, 11:00 PM
Tom i am interested in the slider you have....never seen one of those

Chris Fournier
09-14-2011, 11:04 PM
Yeah the cabinet saw slider attachment that Tom shows is a great piece. Heavy duty and it opens up the cabinet saw owner's world quite a bit. I know that General Canada had those slider attachments too. A great middle ground solution!

David Kumm
09-14-2011, 11:36 PM
Jordan. That is a Robland slider on the PM. If you work with smaller pieces look at the Hammond trim saw. See the article in American WW by Dave Fowler. I have one and it takes very little space and can be found for a few hundred. Nice second saw. Dave

Stephen Cherry
09-15-2011, 12:38 AM
thanks Stephen i do own a free standing shaper

Jordan- here are the tenoning discs that I use.

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?156365-Tenoning-with-the-shaper&p=1601207

The gap between the discs is adjusted with shims to perfectly match the mortising tool:

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?152312-Hollow-Chisel-Gloat&


I usually trim the tops of the tenons using just one disc on the shaper, with the wood slightly pulled out, with one cleanup cut with, believe it or not, a chisel.

I tried several ways to do mortise and tenon, and they all work, but this way is super, super fast, and very acurate.

Larry Edgerton
09-15-2011, 6:37 AM
I have a Minimax slider and I kept my PM 66 around. Glad I did. I leave a power feed on the PM 66 most times.

Larry

Jeff Mackay
09-15-2011, 7:18 AM
Jordan,

Tom's slider looks very similar to the one on a Robland X31 combination machine. I have one in the shop. And although I don't have any pictures yet, I also use Grizzly's T10223 sliding table on a Grizzly G0691 table saw. It certainly isn't a sliding table saw, but it does let me do precision crosscuts of up to 49" in width. So yes, you can cross-cut a sheet of plywood. I'm working on an entertainment center and set of bookshelves now. Just this week, I cross-cut and ripped three sheets of 3/4" plywood using the Grizzly setup. I used the sliding table for the cross-cuts. For ripping, I locked the table in place, and removed the crosscut fence. I prefer the Grizzly sliding table to the one on the Robland. It's not as fussy to set up and it rolls smoother.

An add-on sliding table does not convert a table saw into a sliding table saw. I will probably not do a whole lot of ripping operations using the add-on table, but I could with a larger sliding table saw. But I can get the benefit of precision crosscuts even on large panels with an add-on table.

Jeff

Mike Wilkins
09-15-2011, 10:39 AM
There is a learning curve making the transition from a cabinet saw to a slider. I did so 2 years ago, going from a Rockwell/Delta Unisaw to a Laguna 6' Sliding saw. I was well aware of the Sawstop, which had been on the market several years prior to getting the slider. But safety is almost built in while using a slider. Ripping is the only difficult operation, but you just have to use a different mind-set. My slider is only 60", but with clamps and a dedicated rip blade, there is no need to use the jointer; glue ready rips are the result, because I use the sliding table to move the board through the blade. Get the best quality your wallet can handle and find a way to keep your cabinet saw. You may need to do some dadoes someday.

Rod Sheridan
09-15-2011, 11:08 AM
I have a Hammer B3 Winner with a 49 inch crosscut capacity.

It has the footprint and shape of a cabinet saw, so ripping is actually easier on it than a cabinet saw for the following reasons;

- it doesn't have the fixed portion of the sliding table projecting beyond the cabinet

- the sliding table can be slid forward and can help support the stock on the infeed side, as well as following through on the outfeed side.

- the multi-position rip fence can provide more infeed guidance than the fence on a cabinet saw

- the flip up stock feeder can be used for ripping

The larger sliders do have different ergonomics, and it does take time to learn new methods of work.

That said you couldn't convince me to go back to a cabinet saw.

Regards, Rod.

Mike Ruggeri
09-15-2011, 2:39 PM
I went from a Unisaw to a MM slider (I'm just a hobbyist). At first I really missed the Unisaw, but now a year and a half later I would hate to be without the MM. I do as much as I can with the sliding table which for me is a huge safety factor as my hands stay far from the blade. Even when ripping against the rip fence (which is pretty rare as I do as much ripping as possible with the slider and the work clamped down), I think safety is better as now I have a saw with a true riving knife that works well. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but the advantages of a slider are great (in my opinion). You should see if you can find somebody locally that will let you see and feel theirs as that will probably help you make a decision.

Mike

Bruce Seidner
10-04-2011, 11:19 PM
I have a Hammer B3 Winner with a 49 inch crosscut capacity.

It has the footprint and shape of a cabinet saw, so ripping is actually easier on it than a cabinet saw for the following reasons;

- it doesn't have the fixed portion of the sliding table projecting beyond the cabinet

- the sliding table can be slid forward and can help support the stock on the infeed side, as well as following through on the outfeed side.


Regards, Rod.

Ron, how long is the actual sliding table and how long are the extensions or rails it rides on? How far do they extend ahead of and behind the stationary table top?
We have no dealers in this area and while I have watched the videos on the Hammer site and downloaded the manuals there are no measurements as such.

I am working with 80/20 extrusions and linear bearings to add a slider to my battle ship of a contractor saw kludge. As a garage amateur this is still in development and Rube Goldberg would be proud. I am just unsure if I really need to cross cut any thing wider than a 48" piece of sheet goods and I have made peace with the limitations of my space in a basement garage. These horizontal panel saws are lovely but you are talking to a guy who routinely throws a piece of ply down on a sheet of insulation on the garage floor, clamps on a cutting guide and uses a 30 year old skill saw to break sheets down.

And another thing, when talking about plywood, how meaningful is it to talk about ripping and cross cutting? At any given lamination it is with or against the grain. As best I can tell, in ripping people are talking about using the guide that is parallel to the blade and pushing the sheet across a stationary table top. Whereas in cross cutting people are talking about pushing a sliding table with the stock riding on top perpendicular to the blade. I have a nice table fence for "ripping" and a miter slider or a sled for cross cutting. But this only only seems meaningful when talking about natural lumber with grain orientation. It seems some operations work better with a stationary top and some with a sliding top when it comes to plywood and I am still figuring out why this is so in the abstract. I should build a modest sliding accessory table myself capable of managing/cutting 48" of plywood and then I can become opinionated. So I look forward to your measurements. Thanking you in advance.

Rod Sheridan
10-05-2011, 7:13 AM
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Hi Bruce, hopefully this answers your question.........Rod

P.S. The base for the sliding table doesn't project past the cast iron table. I suggest you buy it with the outrigger if you plan to do use a lot of sheet goods. When you don't need the support it folds against the saw so it doesn't take any room.

Peter Kelly
10-05-2011, 8:13 AM
Have you ever thought of using a Jessem Master-R-Slide?

I use one for building cabinets, and it's a dream in a small shop. right now I have it on a unisaw, but I am in the process of upgrading to a Sawstop ICS. I build all kinds of Kitchen cabinets, and don't find it limiting at all, plus it takes up next to no room. i always end up ripping my goods to 24" or 12" wide, then crosscutting, so the 36" crosscut is rarely a problem. I would not give mine up for the world!

You'd better not give it up. Jessem seems to have stopped making the Master-R-Slide. :(

Mike Konobeck
10-05-2011, 10:50 AM
I say this a lot but I guess this is one of those questions or advice providing situations where nobody can tell you how you like to work. You just have to try them out and see what you like. Contact Felder or Minimax and they will have a few names for you so you can go visit someone locally that has what you are looking at or at least close. A cabinet shop usually has the large 10' sliders that really don't give you an appreciation for the middle ground.

What I don't understand is that when someone is standing at the decision of spending $3k+ on a saw they would not just buy the Hammer versus X,Y,orZ. (Hammer is on sale right now by the way) The price difference is minimal and the amount of engineering you get is not comparable. Yes, the technology in a Sawstop is pretty cool and worth it if just that one time it saves your fingers or worse but the Sawstop doesn't prevent kickback or reduce exposure to the other injuries that come from a high speed spinning blade anymore than any other reputable brands out there today. Take away the technology of the Sawstop and it is just a cabinet saw.

I have a Felder combo and I have had it for a year. I learn how to use it more efficiently every time I turn the power on or just stop and think that there has to be a better way. Those that don't like sliders for ripping likely have a very large capacity, dedicated sheet cutting saw with the outrigger and massive crosscut fence on all the time so you have to walk a 1/2 mile just to pull the stock off the outfeed side. Rod has a nice setup and had I not found a good deal used I would have gone that route without hesitation. I actually had the A3-31 and was just saving up for the B3 when the deal of a lifetime knocked on my door for a Felder.

Don't think of the slider length as limiting unless you are dead set on using the slider to rip sheet goods lenghtwise. You can build a carrier for hardwood stock ripping to overcome the slider length limitation. As long as you can get 48" of travel (through the blade) out of the slider it should be fine for sheet goods. I have never had to put an 8 foot piece of ply on the saw and cut end to end but I am not a professional either (far from it!). I have made a few cabinets though and never found it limiting. To me it is much easier to rip sheet goods down to width using a circular saw and take it to the slider for refinment. If my saw wasn't in the basement I would have no hesitation throwing the sheet on the saw though and doing the width cuts first and then turning it to do lengthwise cuts. Always using the slider. Fingers far away with stock nicely clamped down. Another nice thing about the sliders is that you can add a lot of stuff to them. Of course at a significant cost but the sky is really the limit. Especially when you get into the partial or full combos.

If you want a slider and dedicate yourself to learning to use it efficiently then you will never look back. If your personality is that you don't like change then pass on a slider because it will only lead to testing your patience and your work will suffer. There is no disrespect meant in that statement to those that have tried and don't like it. It is really a personal preference thing. As long as you can cut wood safely and you enjoy what you are doing then nothing else matters.

Bruce Seidner
10-05-2011, 1:24 PM
As per usual Rod has come through with the dimensions of his B3 Winner (I suppose you are already snowed in up there and you have nothing else to do, but your advice is always on point and accurate; thank you.) I have watched all the video on You Tube of sliding table saws. I went to WoodCraft and played with a Exaktor EX60 they had set up and think I have this pretty well figured out. Well, as much as one would have kicking the tires of a car and sitting in it at the showroom.

My question to those having experience with these ways of moving wood past a blade is this: Where does the improvement in accuracy come from?

For those of you who have had this Damascus transformation and are no longer looking back, I would like to know what the physics or the bio-mechanics are that cause the enthusiasm and witnessing I find as I dig through these types of discussions and the advertising of the manufacturers who herald a new dawn of "turning even large heavy sheet goods into child's play."

One thought I had is that there is no need for the feather boards, rolling hold downs, etc. that stabilize a piece as you push it past the blade on a stationary top along a fence that supports only one edge. With a sliding table the piece is fixed in place and one hopes that the jig is also fixed in relation to the blade. Furthermore you don't have to rely on a factory edge because the jig/sliding table is the reference.

I am going to build one soon, sort of like someone reading about a boat who has never sailed. So any further information on the advantages of this method would be helpful. Something other than "smooth, stable, accurate" which speaks to the experience but not as much to the underlying mechanics of why this is cool beans.

Is there anything else that I am missing?

Gary Curtis
10-05-2011, 2:26 PM
I had the General 350 with their outrigger-style sliding table. Here is where the accuracy comes in: The entire weight of the wood is supported by the slider, so when pushed past the blade the wood position is relatively fixed. And your force is applied to the slider, not to the board itself. It is a little different when ripping long boards.

For ripping, the far end of the board is trapped in a device called a 'shoe', and you do push on the board. The slider supports the full weight of the wood.

When doing crosscuts, you have a crosscut fence which is usually about 30 inches long or more. On the Hammer I believe it is nearly 48". This substitutes for a Miter Gauge on regular saws, and is far superior because the guidance comes from such a long reference surface (compared to a Miter Gauge). Here too, the wood is supported by the slider. You are pushing on the slider, not the wood. This makes a big difference. It is quite easy to set the angles on a Crosscut Fence for fractions of a degree.

A slider is a rolling platform hinged to the tablesaw body. The wood doesn't move independently is it does with either a Rip Fence or Miter Gauge.

Paul Johnstone
10-05-2011, 2:57 PM
You'd better not give it up. Jessem seems to have stopped making the Master-R-Slide. :(

On another forum, someone said that Jessem was going to start making them again in 1-2 months. Of course, I didn't verify, just saying that it is possible.

Hey Jordan, I am not going to stray too much off topic, but if you do a lot of sheet goods and have the space for a slider.. have you considered a CNC that can do a full sheet of plywood. That's the way I went, and now cutting up plywood is a dream, plus you can do a lot of other cool stuff with it.
You'd still want to keep your existing table saw though.

Jordan Lane
10-05-2011, 3:13 PM
Interesting idea!!!

Gary Curtis
10-05-2011, 3:43 PM
If you haven't worked a slider, it would help visiting a shop that has one. Because of the investment. For about a half year when I was starting out, I would go over to Anderson Plywood near my home in West Los Angeles and watch their guys slice plywood sheets on their huge Altendorf slider.

The equipment was so productive, they needed one guy standing to remove the offcuts as the next board was sliced. They could go through a whole stack of 3/4 ply in just minutes. But they had the need for that capacity. That is the question everyone has to ask themselves. A slider capable of ripping an 8x4' sheet of ply has a large footprint, not to mention the clearance for the slider sweep. These are things that you had better see for yourself, because they are not easily explained by statistics on a sheet of paper. The mind doesn't readily grasp the dimensions involved.

And I must say that after a sizeable investment I sold my slider because I didn't need that much machine. If I were crosscutting stiles and rails for 40 cabinet doors, or face frames for a whole kitchen, it would make sense. Great for production work.

Nobody mentioned it here, but one important feature of a slider is safety. Your hands are easily 2 feet away from the blade, and out of the line of fire in case of a kickback.

Jordan Lane
10-05-2011, 4:57 PM
i plan on attending the Felder show Oct. 20 to get some hands on and try and wrap my head around this type of machine...everyone has been very helpful...thanks

Gary Curtis
10-05-2011, 8:20 PM
As a regular cruiser on eBay & C/L, don't overlook the deep savings from a used one. I see Felder and Minimax at firesale prices regularly. Cabinet shops are being hard hit by the economy. Be sure of your power utility choices. Most of these machines run on 3-phase. If you can't get that, you'll have to buy a Phase Convertor, and those run about $1000, I believe.

David Kumm
10-05-2011, 10:00 PM
Mark Duginske has a couple of Felder saw shapers for sale now. A shaper is a great option on a used slider as it is a cheap add on. Dave

Stephen Cherry
10-05-2011, 10:07 PM
i plan on attending the Felder show Oct. 20 to get some hands on and try and wrap my head around this type of machine...everyone has been very helpful...thanks

That's a great group up in Deleware. In my opinion, they redefine the idea of cusomer service, and I'm not talking about handing out free stuff or polite talk on the phone. I had them put together a retrofit for my K975 last year, and what they gave me was put together in a very thoughtful way.

Jordan Lane
10-06-2011, 8:49 AM
where does one go to investigate the sliders mark has for sale??

David Kumm
10-06-2011, 10:06 AM
They are on CL. allofcraigs.com

Gary Curtis
10-06-2011, 5:45 PM
Most of the Felder stuff I see online used is offered both on eBay and Craigslist. Do a Google search for SearchTempest. It searches Craigslist postings throughout North America. If you are looking for Felder, be sure to get the Mobility Kit and whatever tooling the seller has.

Bruce Seidner
10-06-2011, 9:35 PM
They are on CL. allofcraigs.com

I had spent a lot of time drawing up the plans for a DIY sliding table saw jig based on the sound advise and help I found here and before I pulled the trigger on a +$300 order of aluminum from 80/20 checked allofcraigs.com out of curiosity. I quickly saw an Excalibur 60" table saw extension jig for $150 (list is about $900) from a very nice fellow out of state and he is packing it up, depriving me of the frustration and exhilaration of implementing my design. Now all I get to do is figure out what this mode of working is all about and get some actual projects done.

I am unsure if this is what some herald as a gloat or if I should be singing Que Sera, Sera along with Doris Day.

Jim Foster
10-07-2011, 8:01 PM
If you have a bandsaw or RAS, maybe you could rip on one of those and use a slider for everything else. The sawstop is great for one type of injury, and chance of amputations are probably dramatically minimized if you use a slider. A slider might also minimize the Chance of a kickback type accident as well. When I get a bandsaw, if I can, I'll rip everything on it. Since I'm not doing it now, I don't know how feasible it is.

David Kumm
10-07-2011, 9:57 PM
Ripping on a bandsaw is safer, not sure about RAS. I think you are going in the wrong direction. I would rip all day on a tablesaw first. Dave