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One of the first things we noticed about the Bosch saw during initial testing was the vast difference in its appearance against the other saws available for the woodworking market. The company has chosen to integrate a 2-axis multi joint arm system with 12 sealed precision ball bearings which results in awesomely smooth traveling and fine control. Bosch has taken the sliding rail system and gone ballistic with its implementation bringing out a product that can, in our opinion, easily handle 1/32" accuracy. With its sealed ball bearings, you can forget about its performance degrading or the sawing becoming any less smooth over time. The saw also comes with an integrated "glide damper" allowing woodworkers to manoeuvre to different glide actions increasing or decreasing resistance, but the default mode is just fine too. Another key advantage of the kit is its unbelievable space saving capacity: it saves up to 12" of workspace, its arm flush folding into the back of the saw so no matter how small or cramped your shop is you'll always have space for this beauty.
The Rockwell Bladerunner is an economical tool designed for constructing small projects and is, from that perspective, a great tool for home-based woodworkers. Its main function is serving as a bench top machine and with its dimensions (15 ¾" wide by 17" deep), we think it's the perfect size. The table surface measuring 9 ¼" above the surface of the machine is all brushed steel panels and inset T-miter slots, which in turn accept the included miter gauge. One miter slot runs side-to-side meeting the second running front-to-back all across the table. The case comes with rubber soled corners which helps in reducing sound transmissions. With the table edges being square (despite the corners clipped at 45 degree angles), aftermarket shop built jigs, clamp-on fences and other specialty operations can be used with relative ease.
While the Bladerunner's blade guard (with built in dust port) is included and provides rudimentary functionality, it can be adjusted at any height to accommodation different material thicknesses. The lever operated pressure foot keeps the woodpiece down and over all, the port is pretty straightforward. It includes a twist-in connector measuring 1 ½" in diameter which will fit major shop vacuum hoses. Over all, though, the dust collection system does a decent job as long as the guard is down during operation.
When you're working in your workshop and getting frustrated with the constant switches between sawhorses, clamps and supports and feeling the need of help around the shop, look no further than the Rockwell RK9000. This beauty is designed to replace multiple tools in your workshop so even when it's just you it feels like you suddenly have an extra set of hands.
We found the Rockwell 9000 easy enough to assemble straight out of the box and though you can make use of the instructions manual shipped with it, we didn't feel the need to. A bevy of accessories were included in the box along with the jawhorse itself:
When we received the DeWalt DW 788 Scroll Saw it came in a sturdy package measuring 12 x 22 x 30 inches with plenty of insulation for the additional parts: the saw body, cast iron table and a ziplock bag with several blades, mounting screws and a hex wrench. The assembly of the machine is pretty simple and relatively straightforward involving sliding the table's rear onto the cylindrical pin located on the saw's lower arm, attaching it with two hex bolts to the bevel scale. Slide in the saw blade and it's ready to go.
In terms of how the machine is set up, the scroll's base has a 25x10.5" footprint although combined with the table brings the saw's footprint to about 33x16". The saw comes with an optional stand but during operation, we noticed the low center of gravity coupled with its intrinsic weight and a lace of vibration, making bolting down the unit largely unnecessary. Another optional accessory is the work light which can be attached through two screws to the rear left arm.
Woodworking is filled with "special tools" that are only good for one or two jobs. The only problem is they do such a good job for their special design that using alternatives can be tedious at best. Such is the case with dado blades. They are only good for taking out huge chunks wood, but in most cases trying to do this other ways takes so much time, most of us would not bother.
There are basically two kinds of dado blades. The Stacked Dado set is the most popular because in most cases is does the best job of cutting dados and rebates, but there is also something called a dado wobble wheel blade which can also be used for making dados and rebates. The problem with the wobble wheel is that the bottom of the cut is arced somewhat, and more arced as the dado cut gets wider. The problem with this arcing effect is it makes for a less than perfect fit.
Cutting dados using a stacked dado set is not difficult, at least seemingly. The idea with any dado cut is that the piece that is to be fit into the dado cut should fit snugly in order to make it structurally sound and for the glue to work as best it can. It is IMPERATIVE that you make test cuts with your dado set before making the final cuts. If you don't you risk making cuts that are too large, and then you will a whole bunch extra work trying to make up for the mistake. The first time you omit the test cut will be the last time you omit it.
The best way to figure out the width of the cut you need to make is to measure the thickness of the shelf or other structure that you will be inserting into the dado cut. BUT DO NOT take this as the last measurement, make the test cut, try our the fit and work from there. Using a tape measure, will, in most cases not be sufficient enough to get the fit you will need, You will need a more precise measuring instrument. Selecting a dado set can be agony for many woodworkers. There are many to choose from of varying qualities and with different features ... here are some of the things to look for ...
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