Working with Tablesaws (New Best of Fine Woodworking) Paperback – 1 Sep 2005
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Is it a beginner's book? Yes, but it's incomplete at that. Is it an advanced techniques book? Yes, it includes exotic and advanced techniques that you may never use, and is by no means the last word on advanced table saw use, either. They should really have chosen one direction or the other, or better yet, do two different books to cover both directions well.
There isn't a lot here that I have not seen in other books, or the many shop magazines. It fails to cover essential topics. It isn't as well organized as it could be (safety covered in two separate sections, safety combined with dust control, TWO articles on kickback instead of one).
Here is the organization of the book:
1. Tablesaws and blades - a survey of commercially-available saws and blades
2. Techniques - ripping, crosscutting, joint-quality edges, safe procedures, tearout, coves, and pattern cutting
3. Joinery - box joings, dovetails, tenons
4. Dust control and Safety - containing dust in a contractor saw, shop-made table saw guards, causes and prevention of kickback, and kickback again
5. Cross-cutting jigs
6. Shop-made accessories
The sections consist of articles by many different authors - many of them well-known. This brings in the expertise of many but limits the cohesiveness of the book.
If I was the editor, I would have ditched the exotic techniques in favor of including a detailed procedure for aligning a table saw. Sooner or later, you're going to need to learn to do that; it isn't trivial; it has several steps; it requires special measuring guides; it becomes necessary eventually just from using your saw. And it is essential both for getting good cuts as well as for safety reasons. In general, there are advanced topics included here at the expense of essential topics.
I laughed when I saw the part about cutting a 4x8 sheet of plywood. One guy feeding it in the front. Only at the end does he suggest a partner for helping with the outfeed. To my way of thinking, cutting a sheet of plywood on a table saw is only suitable for very large, professional table saws like the 7 HP monster at our specialty plywood store, at least if it is 1/2" or 3/4" thick (or more). A much better approach is to ask for the it to be cut into two pieces at the store (with a bit of excess for you to trim to exact measurements on your own saw), or to use a hand circular saw with a guide.
The one part I really liked was their approach for dust-proofing a contractor saw. I tried to do that, but my approach meant that the blade could not be tilted with the back cover in place, so I have to take it off every time I want to tilt. I plan to try again using the ideas presented here.
BOTTOM LINE: Three Stars - "It's OK". Somewhat useful, but insufficient to be your only table saw reference, whether you are beginner or intermediate.
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