Sliding Table Saw Attachment Review
by: Keith W. Outten, Jr.
eighteen months ago we purchased an Excalibur sliding table as an add-on
for our shop table saw. A particular job required us to rip a 22.5 degree
angle on the edge of plywood pieces that were 60 inches long as well as
cutting 45 degree angles on shelves for a large corner type cabinet.
Grizzly table saw was designed with a right tilt blade which means that
the blade would cut over top of the material, this situation is perfect
for kickback types of accidents. Lumber is rarely perfectly flat and the
same can be said of plywood. The material would have to be perfectly flat
while it passed under the blade to get an accurate angle and to keep it
from binding between the saw blade and the fence, the amount of downward
pressure required to force the plywood against the table would just about
make it impossible to push it through the saw.
contacted every major woodworking machine company and asked to speak with
someone in their engineering department. Our concern was valid as every
engineer we talked to admited that the right tilt saws were not as safe
for this particular cut as a left tilt model would be. The only manufacturer
we contacted that actually buillt a left tilt model was Powermatic, their
engineer said that they were aware of the problem and designed their saws
left tilt to deal with the issue.
had to make a decision to either sell the Grizzly and purchase a
Powermatic or find a way to cut on the left side of the blade. After
several conversations with various experts we were advised to consider
purchasing a sliding table. The only model we could find at the
time that would support our 60 inch requirement was made by Excalibur.
We contacted them and discussed our requirements, they assured us
that their 62 inch model would do the trick. Several days later
we received our new Excalibur 62 inch sliding table and started
the installation. The instructions were easy to follow and the supplied
hardware was excelent quality. The new table fit our Grizzly saw
without a problem, and in under four hours we were putting it through
a series of tests.
new sliding table proved to be very accurate with repetitive cuts
accurate to less than one sixty fourth of an inch over the sixty
two inch table travel. Since we intended to use the table for ripping
we purchased a length of aluminum square tubing for the rip fence
and fastened it to the table with clamps. After several months we
added an Incra Ultra jig so we could adjust our new rip fence accurately
and with minimum setup time. The Incra jig improved the accuracy
and provides an adjustment capability which allows us to fine tune
a cut quickly.
fence supplied with the sliding table was not actually intended for long
rip cuts on narrow panels. The Excalibur fence worked perfectly for squaring
panels and angle cuts up to 45 degrees. In order for us to rip a panel
that is twelve inces wide and 60 inches long a parallel fence was necessary
since the narrow panel would not be wide enough to ride on the sliding
table surface at all. As with most types of saw fences the longest side
of your material should be in contact with the fence for safety reasons.
not sure that Excalibur would approve of our technique for ripping
narrow panels using an alternative fence design. The proof is in
the pudding as they say and we have successfully used this setup
safely ripping hundreds of panels over the last eighteen months.
I did contact them after installing their table and discussed the
situation with them at length. I was told they would look into the
matter, they never contacted us with a resolution.
Excalibur sliding table is an excellent piece of equipment. At $695.00
the price seems a bit steep at first but the results you can obtain
and the accuracy and capability it adds to your table saw will prove
invaluable over time. When production is important this unit really
shines, making repetitive cuts is easy and the unit is a real joy
to use. Be prepared to give up a lot of shop space when adding this
table to your saw, the average table saw with the 62" Excalibur
installed on the left side and a 50 inch table to the right will
consume a lot of real estate. If your table saw has to be mobile
due to limited shop space you should consider alternative solutions.
has dramatically improved their sliding tables since we purchased
ours if we were interested in purchasing a sliding table today we
would consider the Exactor slider over the Excalibur.
(Click thumbnail for larger view)
1 - The Excalibur fence installed and setup for cutting
a cabinet shelf at 45 degrees, viewed from the front left side.
2 - The Excalibur fence installed and setup for cutting
a cabinet shelf at 45 degrees, viewed from the front right side.
3 - Our parallel rip fence setup for cutting a 22.5 degree
angle on the edge of a 26 inch wide by 60 inch long panel. This
particular panel requires that both 60 inch edges be cut at 22.5
degrees. Note that about half of the panel actually rests on the
sliding table. The clamp shown at the rear end of the fence holds
a fender washer which supports the board underneath and acts as
a handle to pull the table back.
4 - This view shows the Incra Ultra jig clamped to the left
side of the Excalibur table.
5 - If production is a concern this picture shows about
half of the material we machined in an eight hour period. Full plywood
sheets are rough cut on a panel saw and then moved on flat carts
to our table saw for final machining.
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©1999 Keith W. Outten, Jr.. All rights reserved.