Table saw question

clg7067February 24, 2009

I'm replacing all the wood trim in my house one room at a time. That's door trim and baseboard. I have a modern house so I'm going with a plain square edge. I'm just using the baseboard measurements for an example. The baseboard dimensions I want is 1/2 inch by 3-1/2 inches.

I went to a custom millwork place and they told me it would be cost prohibitive for them to do the work. They suggested I get the 1x4 from Home Depot, which measure 3/4 x 3-1/2 inches and cut the extra 1/4 inch with a table saw.

So, what do you think? Is this a good option? I'd have to buy a table saw. It will probably come in handy in the future, but I've never needed one up til now.

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I think you do not need a tabke saw for this purpose if that is the only thing you want to do with it, Reason being that a TS capable of ripping that much wood will need to have a good fence, and the minimum saw with a good fence starts at about $450---and is a fairly large contractor type saw(for the necessary weight.) There are portable table saws that possibly could be used, but you would need to make a base and have some infeed and outfeed rollers---and the cost of just a decent portable TS is also around $400---plus the extra stuff.

Using a TS safely requires a bit of experience and some practice. The woodworking machine responsible for the highest percentage of injuries is the table saw. Kickback is probably the most common error and causes the most injuries. Ripping wood on a TS is the most common activity causing kickbacks. The other more debilitating injury is cuts---losing fingers is common with TS cutting accidents.

Why not just leave that 1/4"?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 10:47AM
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This is pretty simple millwork, starting with S4S material you could put the saw cut side to the wall, eliminating the need for a thickness planer. But depending on the type of wood, this is going to be a little tricky to downright dangerous for a beginner or novice woodworker to accomplish with a portable table saw. I assume you are not planning on spending $1,500 for a cabinet saw with Biesemeyer fence. I recommend asking around the neighborhood or town for a woodworker with the proper equipment that could help you for a reasonable price. If you live near Pacifica, CA, give me a shout and I'll help you out.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:05AM
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Pooh Bear

I can't imagine any small shop turning down a gravy job like this one.
You just need a thickness planer.
10 inch planer at Harbor Freight
Ryobi Planer at Home Depot

A table saw will do the job. Even one of those cheap $99 saws.
But it would require considerable setup for repeatable results.
Table Saw from Home Depot

A planer would be the easiest and fastest without too much cost.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 12:10PM
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I thought about the planer, also, but was wondering if that $109 table saw (same one Poohbear listed) would work. I really don't want to spend a lot of money on equipment that I'll never use again. I already have too many tools.

I really only asked one millwork place before getting discouraged. I can check into some more, but is there anything else I should look under in the yellow pages? Another problem I always have is that my jobs are too small and simple for people to bother with, but they aren't simple for me.

Sorry, I'm not in California. :)

BTW, how many passes with a planer to remove 1/4 inch of poplar?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 12:22PM
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No way do you want to do this with a $100 table saw. It would be awkward even with a 'real' table saw, and it would just plain suck to do it with a cheapie.

This should be done with a surface planer, preferably a commercial model. I would look for other millwork / small cabinet / custom woodworking shops, or perhaps a lumber dealer that sells roughsawn lumber but offers surfacing, as they will be able to do it very quickly with their professional-grade equipment. A portable model would require several passes to take off 1/4", and leave you with a lot of shavings to dispose of.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Pooh Bear

With sharp blades on a small planer, 4 passes to remove 1/4 inch.

Try cabinet shops, custom woodwork shops, furniture refinishing,
custom bandmilling, maybe even custom order 1/2 inch stock.

If you were close to me and provided the material
I would do it for the cost of sharpening my planer knives
and a dinner for 2 at Golden Corral. (about $25)
The whole shebang would be about $50.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 2:22PM
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"It would be awkward even with a 'real' table saw, and it would just plain suck to do it with a cheapie."

Ripping 1/4 inch off a piece of 1x???
This is the bread and butter of table saws.

I am surprised the shop would not do the work for a small charge per foot.
You do not even have to worry much about cleaning up the edge. Just make sure the cut edge is down for the baseboard.

A good quality carbide rip blade might need a light touch with a sander (or even a pass with a hand plane) if the cut side will show.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 3:15PM
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Brickeyee, better read more closely. He wants to turn 3/4" stock into 1/2" stock. The 1/4" is coming off the face, not the edge.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 5:03PM
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Yeah, no duh. You can resaw up to 6" wide stock on a 10" table saw. Hint for the imagination impaired: you make two passes; one from each side. So, resaawing a 1x4 is well below the maximum capacity, in fact, to spare the motor, I'd put in an ultra-thin kerf 7 1/4" b;ade, which wuld cut through the stock at full height. A single pass through a planer would then yield a perfect result.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 10:15AM
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Still not a problem.

It would probably look better at 3/4 inch thickness also.

Molding has gotten thinner since the manufacturers like to start with S4S 1x lumber.

The old stuff is often a full inch thick.

It is like quarter round that has shrunk from 3/4 of an inch to 5/8 inch.
A real lumberyard should still have the full size trim.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 11:09AM
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Perhaps I wasn't specific enough. My problem with table saws is not that I can't figure out how to orient a board or to make multiple passes. It's that the $100 saws I've used have been underpowered enough that they bog down when cutting thick stock, overheat and need to be rested frequently, and have tables and fences that are so small as to make ripping stock of any length very awkward. When one is trying to make enough trim for a whole house, there are better ways to get the job done.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 11:12AM
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Pooh Bear

What do you expect to pay to get this job done?
Buy the cheap thickness planer and do the job yourself.
Then clean the machine up and box it back up just like it came.
Then resale it for a little less than you paid for it.
How does the price of the planer minus the resale price
compare to what you expected to pay for job to start with.


Special order the material already at the thickness you want.


Put an ad on craigslist looking for someone to do the job.

This is a very easy job to do with a thickness planer.
Surely someone would be willing to take on the job.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:23PM
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Bench top circular saws need a larger table to be used effectively.

If you have other uses for the saw build a larger table fro wood around it.

If you have no use for the saw then find someone to perform the work.

Cal some other lumber yards and ask what the $$ are to run the wood through a thickness planer, or reconsider why you want undersized trim in the first place.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:39PM
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Actually, there is a much more simple solution----just go to a real lumberyard(not a HD/Lowe's/Menards/etc.) and simply buy the 1/2" thick lumber---no extra tools needed.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Agree with the last post and add, Have you looked at the various moldings at HD and Lowes to see if they have anything suitable or close? If not, there are better yards/dealers that sell a variety of molding, as handymac says.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 11:46AM
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