Excalibur Sliding Table Saw Attachment Review
Written by: Keith W. Outten, Jr.     January 1999

    Over 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.

    Our 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.

    We 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.

    We 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.

    Our 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.

    The 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.

    I'm 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.

    The 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.

Although Excalibur 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.



Shop Pictures

(Click thumbnail for larger view)

Picture 1 - The Excalibur fence installed and setup for cutting a cabinet shelf at 45 degrees, viewed from the front left side.

Picture 2 - The Excalibur fence installed and setup for cutting a cabinet shelf at 45 degrees, viewed from the front right side.

Picture 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.

Picture 4 - This view shows the Incra Ultra jig clamped to the left side of the Excalibur table.

Picture 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.

Copyright ©1999 Keith W. Outten, Jr.. All rights reserved.
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