January, 2009

Assembling the tablesaw

In November we moved into a new house with a big, dry basement which is a huge improvement over the old house as far as the workshop is concerned.

After much deliberation I decided to go ahead and get the Ridgid TS3660 table-saw. The Home Depot delivery driver kindly deposited it in the garage so that I could move it piece by piece down to the new basement (since at 300lbs I wasnt going to get the whole box down there by myself).

The box was a bit worse for wear but everything inside seemed to be well protected in two layers of styrofoam. All the bolts and nuts came in blister packs that made it easy to find what you needed during assembly.

The manual was fairly clear. The first step is to assemble the stand.

And then bolt it to the bottom of the table-top.

The next bit was tricky. The instructions indicated that the table wings should be attached with the table still upside down, but that makes it really heavy to turn upright later on. So I decided to try and flip the table on my own and then attach the wings afterwards.

This required building up some support to hold the wings in place in order to get the 4 bolts screwed in with the wings level with the main table.

With the wings attached, I cleaned off the protective oil coating on the cast iron and gave it a coat of paste wax.

The mobile base was puzzling, but after loosening various things up again I was just about able to get everything bolted in place and it seems to work pretty well.

The rails and the fence went on pretty smoothly and I was pleased to see that the fence was perfectly parallel to the miter slot without any adjustment.

One of the features that attracted me to this saw was the easily removable blade-guard and splitter. However, when I installed it, the splitter was about 1/4" offset from the blade which was disturbing since so far everything else had seemed pretty well set up from the factory. It didnt help that the instruction manual did not correspond exactly with the attachment mechanism. However, there was a fairly obvious set-screw (not mentioned in the manual) that allowed me to readjust things.

The final stage of assembly was mounting the motor and the drive-belt. Tensioning the belt was terribly obvious, but I think I ended up with everything where it was supposed to be. I decided to mount the power switch on the front left, which involved routing the cable around the right side and front which was somewhat awkward and I may revisit this in the future.

Until I get an electrician in to wire up the basement, I am using an extension cable to the saw.

I had a moment of trepidation flipping the power switch, but after an initial jerk when it started up, the saw had suprisingly smoothly. For the inaugural cut I built up a temporary outfeed table and ran a piece of plywood through. I got a beautiful clean edge.

It was a bit sobering to see how much sawdust this saw spewed everywhere. After picking up a few attachments I was able to hook up the dust collector, but since it's a contractor's saw with the motor hanging out the back and an open bottom there's bound to be dust. I'm hoping that I can come up with some method of enclosing more of the cabinet so that the dust collection works better, but I'm sure that will take some experimentation.