The next step in fencedom was going to be a bunch of forms to make a 14" square concrete base for each of my lovely posts. This meant a chance to practice cutting dadoes on my new-to-me table saw.
When I went to fire up the saw a couple problems flew in my face.
Problem #1. With each cut the dadoes became progressively deeper. I started off cutting 1/8" dadoes, but by the 6th piece, my dadoes were 1/2" deep. Sonce the dadoes go on both ends of the forms, whatever error there is is doubled. Thats a problem.
Problem #2. My dado blade snagged a nail and went boom. It cost me 2 carbides in the blade. This made me sad.
Problem #3. The belt in the saw made the machine jump around like a jackhammer. The vibration was awful. Despite all this I persevered.
Dado blade all ready to go!
Dadoes cut. These are some of the later ones - much more than 1/8" deep!
Test fitting the boards. Yup, everything looks good!
Yup! Everything looks good once its assembled.
So my solutions...
Solution #1. The depth of the dado varied due to 2 things - the vibration in the saw causing the blade to climb the workpiece as it cut - I could measure the difference between the ends of a cut. And due to the elevator wheel being very loose. I managed to dampen the vibration (see Solution 3) but even with disassembling the elevator wheel assembly and reassembling it, I couldn't figure out how to get more control on the adjustment. I need to get a handle on this.
Solution #2. I was fortunate to have a second dado set hanging around, so I was able to just swap out the setup for the other blade, and continue working. The first set (that I smashed) was a Freud, which is a very good set. The new set cut much rougher, but it still did the job. On advice from a friend I called into Freud and was advised that they have a repair shop for klutzes like me about half an hour from here. I can take the blade there and have it repaired for about $20. Unless the damage is worse than I described on the phone.
Solution #3. Chalk this one up to newbieness... The saw came with a link-belt when I got it. Since the belt was 20+ years old though, it had dried out, and was prone to breaking. The last time it broke, I replaced it with a Vee belt from TSC. I took a guess at the belt size by holding it against the old link belt. With the V-belt the vibration was brutal, so I decided I better go back to the link belt. The good folks at Busy Bee set me up with a properly sized belt for the saw, and presto-change-o, 90% of the vibration in the saw is gone. It turns out the Vee-belt I had bought was not only the wrong thickness, it was also 2" too large. No wonder the machine didn't run properly. Also looking at the belt, you can see that the sheaves are out of alignment, once they are trued to each other, I should have a vibration-free saw. I hope.