Author Topic: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?  (Read 7398 times)

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Offline ddr90036

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Hi All,

I'm renovating a home with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and making A LOT of cabinets, vanities, built-ins, etc.  My super talented woodworking friend thinks that I'm crazy to be doing all of it without a table saw, but he's only a little familiar with Festool and router joinery.  He's used them, but he thinks that it will be a very slow process to do everything I want to do.  That said, I've made some cabinets with Festool already and things have gone okay, but not great.  This may due to my space limitations which will be eliminated when I move from my current 12' x 14' space to a 900 square foot basement with 9' ceilings... or it could be that things really are slow.  I'm just looking for whomever to weigh in on  if they think I really need to invest in a Sawstop or get by with my current TS 55, OF 1400, guide rails and lots of other Festool equipment.  I'll be doing all the kitchen cabinets, 3 bathroom vanities, multiple built-ins and after all of that is done fabricating some of the countertops with GFRC techniques.  All input is very appreciated.  Thanks

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Offline scgwhite

  • Posts: 23
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 05:09 AM »
It is perfectly possible to do every table saw task with a track saw - except using a dado stack. Your production will be slower for some tasks - if you have 20 panels of the same time to rip on a table saw you just set the fence and go. With a track saw, each will need to be measured (with tape or a scrap of wood cut to length - better for consistency) before being cut. Despite this, I think a track saw is much safer - I sold my table saw after a small cut to my finger which could have been much worse. Plus, a track saw takes up no space...

Offline kevinculle

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2017, 08:16 AM »
For the "mass production" of sheet goods panels which your cabinet builds will involve I think the table saw is the fastest and most accurate/reproducible approach, particularly if you have a good fence system.  If your cabinet box joinery includes dadoes in the side panels to receive the top, back and bottoms, then doing these with a dado stack on the table saw rather than a router will also substantially increase productivity as the dado stack can remove material at a much faster rate than a router bit.  Over the past 5 years I have been redoing all of the cabinets in our house (27 done, 3 to go) and I have given my table saw quite a workout.

Online Dick Mahany

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2017, 09:34 AM »
I just moved into a new home and built over 20 cabinets and about 36 frame and panel doors.......all with out a table saw (since I sold mine before I moved).  A track saw beautifully broke down sheet goods and ripped 2.5" wide hardwood stock for the door frames.  I used the Euro 32mm method for frameless cabinets and won't look back.  I also built a 12' long x 8' entertainment cabinet wall that included cabinets, drawers and shelves with the same process.

A Domino and a dedicated router table were also used and once I established an optimum work flow, made very quick work.  Never having attempted such an effort without a table saw, I was a little intimidated at first due to the cost of the expensive materials that I was about to mill up.  I quickly realized how accurate and fast cabinets can be made this way and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 09:36 AM by Dick Mahany »

Offline tms0425

  • Posts: 99
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2017, 09:41 AM »
Erock's cabinet video series does a great job to chronicle a kitchen cabinet build with no table saw. Once the plan and flow is together he makes it look very straightforward with beautiful results.

That said, I'm building a bunch of shop cabinets and sysports. Having a Minimax CU300 8.5' slider to do the cabinet and door/drawer parts makes quick work of repetitive steps if you're building a lot of the same things. I just did ~30 domi-drawers and it was very nice to have. The downside is if you screw up one dimension (like I did), you have 30 of the wrong thing to fix [crying]
The guy I bought the combo machine from did exactly what you're doing, finished all of his house cabinets and trim, which had a fair amount of both sheet goods and hardwood, and then sold the machine to me.

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 43
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2017, 10:59 AM »
I think the track saw is great for the sheet goods, but a table saw is much better for doing face frames or rails and stiles from the hardwood.  It find it just much easier to bang out a lot of equal rips or cross cuts on the table saw.

If I want to rip 2.25" pieces down to 2", clamping the rail, etc. is just a real pain compared to having the fence set at 2".  I've got a Sawstop PCS, but you could get a small job site saw (not saw stop) for not too much money/space outlay; and I think it would accelerate your work with the smaller parts and use the track saw for the sheet goods.

Offline curiousdork

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 11:17 AM »
I just moved into a new home and built over 20 cabinets and about 36 frame and panel doors.......all with out a table saw (since I sold mine before I moved).  A track saw beautifully broke down sheet goods and ripped 2.5" wide hardwood stock for the door frames.  I used the Euro 32mm method for frameless cabinets and won't look back.  I also built a 12' long x 8' entertainment cabinet wall that included cabinets, drawers and shelves with the same process.

A Domino and a dedicated router table were also used and once I established an optimum work flow, made very quick work.  Never having attempted such an effort without a table saw, I was a little intimidated at first due to the cost of the expensive materials that I was about to mill up.  I quickly realized how accurate and fast cabinets can be made this way and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

This is good to hear.  I have a TS 75 and a Festool Domino and looking to pick up a few more tools soon.  I already built a crappy track saw bench so I can break down sheet goods.  Either way, it's awesome to read of people who've built whole kitchen cabinets w/o a table saw.  My goal before fall is to gut my kitchen and redo all the cabinets.

Offline ddr90036

  • Posts: 20
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 11:25 AM »
Thanks to everyone for their feedback, particulary Dick.  As a newb, I need the encouragement to do it differently.  The thought of buying one more (expensive, bulky and possibly dangerous) tool really made me think that I was getting in over my head!  I appreciate all of the input! 

Oh and I'm not doing face frame - I'm also the household cook and want to maximize cabinet space as much as possible
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 11:35 AM by ddr90036 »

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2017, 12:18 PM »
The best is to have both.  But track saw can do the whole job. It will be slower for some things and better for others. Same holds true for having only a table saw.

Seth

Offline jaguar36

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2017, 01:07 PM »
I'm in the midst of building kitchen cabinets myself, and I love having the table saw in addition to the track saw.   As others have said its possible to due without, but it makes life alot easier, and less frustrating.   Its also great to be able to leave it setup for one thing, with the MFT setup for another without having to keep redoing the setup all the time. 

I've also found it far easier to get a dado stack dialed in just right vs trying to get a router bit that matches perfectly.

Offline ddr90036

  • Posts: 20
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2017, 01:51 PM »
@Seth.  Okay.  I don't mind the idea of having both.  Can you tell me what might be better for the Track Saw and what might be better for the table saw?  Also, any suggestions on the minimum sort of table saw that I can get by with?  I had a small portable Skilsaw and it was slow and had no power so I know I need slightly bigger/more powerful but beyond that I don't know.  Please - any suggestions are welcome!

Offline Alex

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 02:01 PM »
I would never want to be without a table saw. It just work so much faster in every way. It doesn't have to be a SawStop, a small portable DeWalt or Bosch saw would do great. I'm a bit spoiled with my portable Festool CS70 table saw, it can be folded up to a small package, and expanded with extensions to become much bigger. 

I also have a TS55, great for breaking down full sheets, but not so great for small stuff.

Each saw has its own specific uses. I'd rather have three tools too many than to be short one.

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 02:05 PM »
@Seth.  Okay.  I don't mind the idea of having both.  Can you tell me what might be better for the Track Saw and what might be better for the table saw?  Also, any suggestions on the minimum sort of table saw that I can get by with?  I had a small portable Skilsaw and it was slow and had no power so I know I need slightly bigger/more powerful but beyond that I don't know.  Please - any suggestions are welcome!


In general sheet goods with the track saw.  Small pieces and solid wood on the table saw. However, if you are going frameless, there will be less for the table saw. I really like the track saw for straight lining as well. I will note that at this time I do all of my work with a track saw. But a small table saw has been on my list for a while. Even though I have not been using one it is clear that it is better for some things.

What type of doors are you going to do?

Seth

Online Birdhunter

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2017, 03:03 PM »
This is a Festool forum so you might expect to get track saw slanted responses. I enjoy using my TS55 on a track, but there is no way I would give up my Sawstop table saw. The two tools overlap for some applications, but there are many jobs for which each excels and the other does not. For me, both is far far better than either.
Birdhunter

Offline antss

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2017, 03:04 PM »
Some good advise dispensed so far but............

You didn't say whether you're looking to construct face frame cabinets or euro construction . 

That'd make a big difference for me as to whether a tablesaw would be warranted. Inset doors would also make a another big difference.  Tell your friend lots of shops make thousands of cabinets per day all without a tables saw.    CNC   And plenty of them are made without dados too.  Dado is just joint that wastes a lot of material and tooling. 

Are you planning on making the doors too ?  Slab doors or cope and stick ?
Do you have a router table for your 1400 ?  Gonna be difficult to make doors with out one with a sled.
Maybe you're outsourcing the doors ?

Did you consider outsourcing the casework too ?

If you're making euro cabs, it could easily be done without a tablesaw.  Just get a set of parallel guides for your ts55 and an LR32 for the of1400 to drill the system holes and bore for the door hinges. The included stop blocks with those sets act just like the rip fence on tablesaw.  Taking the tool to the work instead of the work to the tool is the only difference at the core.

If making 5 piece doors out of hardwood I'd really want a jointer and a planer too, but they were made for centuries with only handtools.

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2017, 03:11 PM »
Thanks to everyone for their feedback, particulary Dick.  As a newb, I need the encouragement to do it differently.  The thought of buying one more (expensive, bulky and possibly dangerous) tool really made me think that I was getting in over my head!  I appreciate all of the input! 

Oh and I'm not doing face frame - I'm also the household cook and want to maximize cabinet space as much as possible

No face frame.


Seth

Offline antss

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2017, 03:20 PM »
"No face frame."

Then the parallel guides and lr32 could easily do the job.

Look at Confirmat screws while you're at it.

Offline Hud

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2017, 03:22 PM »
I rebuilt two cabinets last summer soley with my Festool equipment and it made a believer of me.  It was the first time that the case was square with out coaxing with a clamp and using the case to set the parrelel guides to cut the cabinet back exact to size.  This was another first.  I was totally impressed with the way the sytsem worked.  I used Track Saw, CT 26, 125 ETS EC sander

Offline Arvid

  • Posts: 76
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2017, 03:34 PM »
mafell erika. with the sliding table. Amazing how much can be accomplished with this tool. ripping, cross cutting sheet goods after rips. with the miter gauge you can trim out an entire house.
then the mafell duel doweler for line boring. it drills two holes at a time on the 32mm system with their special rail

Offline antss

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2017, 03:46 PM »
 ???  erika is just a fancy table saw .

Online rst

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2017, 04:18 PM »
Erika is just a (very expensive) fancy table saw.   [wink]

Offline Billedis

  • Posts: 577
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2017, 04:34 PM »
I got rid of my 10" 220v cabinet saw and have the SS contractor saw for the rail and stile work, and use the TS55 and parallel guides by Festool to break down the plywood.  I make a lot of 8' tall cabinets for closet renovations and use face frames in my work.  Even my SS is collecting a lot of dust now that I made the Paulk table.  I haven't graduated to the LR32 system yet, I use the Sommerfeld router table with tongue and groove connections for the face frames.  Once I can afford it, I want to get the Domino 500 for face frame construction, looks much simpler to me.  Good luck in the reno and provide some photos as you go along.  Bill

Offline antss

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2017, 05:49 PM »
Bill - you ever consider a Hoffmann Dovetail machine for face frames ?

Offline ddr90036

  • Posts: 20
Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2017, 07:20 PM »
More awesome feedback and I have to say I like the idea of the Mafell Erika...however I don't like yet another learning curve while managing the renovation, subcontractors, building things and moving my family cross country.  Somewhere in there I'm supposed to make a living too....  :)

Offline Max Fracas

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2017, 07:33 PM »
I love having both a table saw and a track saw.  My table saw is a a 30 year old Craftsman contractor saw.  I put an Incra LS positioner on it and am very happy with the accuracy I get.  As others have said, for some operations it's much faster than the track saw/guide rail alternative.  You can find saws like mine on Craigslist at very reasonable prices. 

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2017, 02:48 AM »
I found with the parallel guides and a few jigs, you can build cabinets just as fast and in some cases faster then using a table saw. Especially if you are a one man show.

As far as ripping rails and styles, Tom and a few others have posted some easy to make jigs which can cut lumber  to correct measurements accurately and repeatable.

Where things tend to slow down for some is during assembly. I just domino and screw the cases together. Easy Peasy, its all about work flow, have your shop drawings, cut list drawn accurately.

Remember you can gang rip ply with a track saw, including trimming the factory edge. Try that with a table saw.

Kitchen cabs are just boxes with shelves thats it nothing more or less.

Dood,ya rip the ply to width, router the groove for the back panel using 1010 and edge guide, edge band the face of the ply, LR 32 for shelf holes,  finish the surfaces, set on MFT, cut to length, assemble.

I dont see a need for a table saw for the boxed.

Doors and drawers, lets discuss door, set rail on lumber, joint using track saw and rail. use kapex to cut to rough length, set on Toms shop made jig,  rip to width using his jig, etc etc...
I still dont see a need for a tables saw.

Now to be honest, I do have a TS 75 CMS module, so I sort of have a tables saw. But as I described, I wouldnt need it for building a kitchen.

heres a link to Toms jig
http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-jigs-tool-enhancements/how-i-rip-ff-and-door-pieces/
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 03:22 AM by jobsworth »
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline Bob D.

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2017, 07:29 AM »
One option might be to buy a TS that has a good fence and is capable of mounting a dado stack, either used or new, then sell it when you are done. The TS would be faster as many have pointed out. And selling afterwards you'll recoup most of your investment especially if you get a used saw. But A SawStop PCS should have a good resell value after only a few hours work.

Know anyone who has a TS they might lend you for the duration of the job? Maybe make a contribution such as give them the dado stack when you're done since you won't have a TS to use it on anyway.

If you're just dead set against using a TS yes it can be done, it will just take a little longer as has been mentioned. As far as having to make multiple setups using the Track Saw vice setting the TS fence once and run everything, both have their downside. Setting the fence on the TS and running multiple pieces of stock will ensure consistency, but could also bring multiple errors if your setup is wrong. But the same can happen with a Track Saw, you could cut three pieces perfect then screw up two or three and what's worse they could be different errors so you end up with three or more pieces with different dimensions. So both have their pros and cons.

I think it will boil down to your tool budget; if time is a factor; and what tools you are most comfortable with using to produce a quality product.

Time, cost, or quality...pick any two but you can't have all three.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Billedis

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2017, 11:29 AM »
@antss I am not familiar with that dovetail machine.  I have the Sommerfeld dovetail jig that i use for drawers only.

Offline Brian Livingstone

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2017, 05:36 PM »
Hi,

I drank the kool aid.  I sold my 10 inch contractors saw, ridged jointer and planer.

I can build cabinets easily with my kapex, ts55 and 1400.

I was looking at the Bosch reaxx saw earlier, could be handy.

Now here is the trick.  I order my wood s4s, in whatever width and thickness I need.

Never felt the love for ripping boards to length.  Unimpressed with the ridgid jointer.

I am a cabinetmaker.  I leave the ripping and planing to others.

Brian
Kapex, TS75, MFT, OF1010, OF1400, DTS400 REQ, Parallel guide rails, 1080, 1400, 3000 guide rail, Domino 500, CT36, ETS 150/3, RS2E, Crown stops, 6 drawer Sortainer, Carvex, Syslite II, Festool safety glasses must start to wear.

Offline Holmz

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2017, 02:00 AM »
... My super talented woodworking friend thinks that I'm crazy to be doing all of it without a table saw...

If he is helping you, then for sure buy a table saw.

Dados can be done with a router or MT26.
Probably a router table is most cost effective, if you even need to do dados...

Nothing worse than wrestling a 4x8 onto tablesaw alone, and nothing worse that not being able to do lots of identical cuts but only having a track saw.

(That is 2 ╦ćnothing worses╦ć)

Offline Naildrivingman

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2017, 06:37 PM »
I'm no track saw expert...So now that disclaimer is out of the way, I will say that I am a track saw believer when it comes to reducing 4x8 to manageable/useable sizes. I personally would do frame stock on a table saw. Dadoes/rabbets in large quantities would also be done on a table saw. If it is one or two cases, I would do them with a router. I think setup and tear down of a dado stack for a few feet of work is not efficient, but for a few hundred feet it is efficient. There is a series of 14 or so vids on YouTube (possibly the same as referenced above) where the individual does all the case work with track and router. It is impressive, but so is his collection of accessories that many may not possess. IMHO, the accessories (parallel guides, edge guides, etc) are what makes the workflow more efficient vs a table saw.
Dance with who brung ya...

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline sheperd80

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2017, 08:00 PM »
I love my tracksaw but I wouldnt even consider a project that size (or any project for that matter) without a tablesaw. Sure it could be done, but its gonna take much much longer. And the tablesaw gives you unmatched repeatability for rips crosscuts, and makes things square automatically.

If you can afford a tablesaw, 100% YES dont even think about it.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk


Offline antss

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2017, 08:25 PM »
"And the tablesaw gives you unmatched repeatability for rips crosscuts, and makes things square automatically."

And so does a TS saw with the parallel guides !  It's no more or less accurate than a table saw with a rip fence.  Arguably it'd be faster than a tablesaw because setup time would be much less, and you wouldn't have to build a crosscut sled.   How long did it take you to ensure that your blade was parallel to your miter gauge and then adjust the rip fence to those ?

Mind you, we are ONLY talking about frameless / euro constructed cabinets here.

It really all boils down to:  do you want to take your tools to the material - or - take your material to the tools.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2017, 09:04 PM »
The success of there project is more about the process than the tools.

I build all my casework without a table saw, all the material is processed with my TS-55's.

Set up to cut all the face frame rails and stiles, door rails and stiles, then move on to the sheet goods. I make sure I process a couple of extra rails and stiles incase I blow a to length cut.

Examine all of the edges of the solid lumber, clean up any saw marks prior to assembly. Track saw or table saw, this is a necessary step.

Ron posted a link to my solid lumber process, I know quite a few guys that now use the process, never firing up their table saws.

Tom

Offline Neal W

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2017, 09:22 PM »
My summer projects include some built ins for my master bedroom and a new vanity for the bathroom.  Started the vanity last weekend.  On Sunday I brought home three sheets of plywood and almost all of the case pieces cut to size in short order (3 boxes total. 

Parallel guides help with the repeatability and set up.  This will speed things along a little.  Set the parallel guides and go. 

I will probably use my table saw (which is a Ryobi bt3000) to do a lot of the ripping of lumber for face frames and door rails and stiles. I'm not real comfortable ripping narrow stock with my TS 55

The guide rail and my 1400 router took care of some dados in the boxes as well

I'll do the assembly with dominoes and pocket screws.  The domino makes things go together very nicely

I will also add the TSO guide rail square also moved things along as well.  It reduces the amount of time to set up each cut, and it is square.  Used it for the first time last weekend.  That combined with a "West Virginia engineered" length stop attached to it, made cutting same sized panels quite quick. 

I'm not a pro, so I'm not all about speed and profitability.  I'm just a weekend warrior who enjoys the journey.  Festool makes the journey much more enjoyable.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 09:31 PM by Neal W »
Turning perfectly good lumber into scrap and sawdust for more than 20 years!

Offline antss

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2017, 09:52 PM »
I'm curious why so many are doing framed cabinets ?

Are these beaded inset doors as well ? A real hallmark of the cabinet maker's craft I might add.

If not, why bother with the frames at all ?

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2017, 10:08 PM »
I'm curious why so many are doing framed cabinets ?

Are these beaded inset doors as well ? A real hallmark of the cabinet maker's craft I might add.

If not, why bother with the frames at all ?

I like the look, be them inset or partial overlay.

Tom

Offline JimD

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Re: Whole house renovation/cabinet building without a table saw?
« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2017, 09:27 PM »
Cutting big pieces of solid wood or sheet goods is track saw work.  Cutting little pieces of wood is better done on the table saw.  Long dados are easier with a router guided by the track.  Shorter ones can be done on the table saw - but setup is quicker for the router.  Repeat cuts with the track saw are simple with the right jig.  Both the track saw and table saw have their place.