Tag Archives: from scratch

Woodworking: First Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 2)

I left off last week ready to make my first cuts with my table saw.

I had purchased maple and walnut that I was ready to crosscut because the table saw is small, and my confidence in ripping (cutting with the grain) was lower than my confidence in crosscutting (against the grain). I figured that ripping smaller pieces would be better in the even of drift.

Should I have practiced with wood I didn’t care about so I could preserve the wood I needed? Probably! Did I? No.

And how could I not use the 3D printed crosscut pusher my cousin printed for me?

I went with the maple first. It was thinner than the walnut, so it would just be smooth going. I practiced a few times with the table saw unplugged to adjust the blade and make sure the pusher moved easily. Then it was time to plug it in and cut.

And then I sustained my first injuries. I knew they were happening, but there was little I could do before it was too late.

Of course, this picture is from later when the mosquito bites became clearly visible.

I was out for vengeance.

I got my vengeance and some of my blood back.

With that mosquito eliminated, it was on to the cutting.

Hooboy was that fun! My first two cuts were smooth and easy with the pusher. Of course, without a crosscut sled, the small table is better suited for smaller pieces for crosscutting.

Crosscutting walnut was more challenging.

The walnut boards were slightly thicker than the cutting depth of the blade. No matter, I had figured. I would just cut through all the way one way and then flip over and cut off the other side.

But I ran into an issue pretty quickly: The riving knife-cover assembly doesn’t provide clearance for a board to pass over it only partially cut. I hadn’t foreseen this. I don’t know how I hadn’t, but I hadn’t.

So it was an exercise in flipping.

When I ran out of room to cut through a board, I flipped it over back and forth and back and forth to cut the newly accessible parts. Absolutely it was sketchy. Using this small setup and the blade guard and everything, it was lower risk of big injury.

While I was proud of myself for the success I’d had, after crosscutting the two boards, I didn’t want to go through that process again.

So I moved to one of my favorite tools.

I took a little bit of material off with the plane at a time, and that took a while. But the alternative was trying to rip and flip and rip and flip. I had zero interest in that.

Finally I got the boards to proper thickness, and I ripped away.

I was proud of the consistency of my ripping work as a first-time solo user of a table saw.

More next week.

Woodworking: First Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 1)

When Calah and I were choosing things to put on our wedding registry, Calah and I debated the legitimacy of adding a table saw. I was in favor of putting it on, as evidenced by me having done so. Calah was opposed.

So I broke down why the table saw (and other tools) were not just reasonable and appropriate.

First I asked what she had against the table saw. She took the position that the gifts on the registry are intended for both the bride and groom. I agreed and said that that’s why the table saw should be on there. She disagreed and said that that’s why it shouldn’t be on there.

So I brought up that kitchenware and cooking appliances are standard items.

I understood that I was at a slight disadvantage with this point because both Calah and I cook, so kitchen items would benefit both of us directly. I had to go the conceptual route: Generally it isn’t the case that both members of the couple are involved in baking and cooking, and that just because we’re nonstandard in that doesn’t change the fact that people are totally cool with that inequity.

“But cookware benefits both of them because food is made for both.”

Well, my woodworking projects benefit both of us. Whether it’s turning junk furniture into something good or making something from scratch, it’s not just for one of us after all.

The table saw stayed on the registry.


Now, I hadn’t owned a table saw before, so I watched a lot of videos on YouTube to make sure I didn’t slice my fingers off. The chance was lower because the table saw has less than a 3/4″ cutting depth, and I was certainly going to install the riving knife assembly with the shield, but I still didn’t want to play it wrong.

What I saw over and over was that it’s beneficial to have a sled for crosscutting. Essentially, you build a tray with skis that fit into the slots on the table so you can push the piece of wood through while never putting your fingers in harm’s way.

That sounded great to me, except that with such a low cutting depth, how could I take up any of that space? I turned to reddit, and I got advice to use hard plastic or 1/8″ high-density fiberboard.

Ultimately, I turned to the world of 3D printing and asked my cousin to print a thing I had found specifically for this table saw:

Proxxon FET Guide by USG on Thingiverse.

Rather than having the board underneath, I’d just have the pusher.

Unfortunately for me, my cousin was prepping to be out of town for a month, so I’d have to wait until his return.

I went to my local hardwood supplier, House of Hardwood in West LA, and I picked up some walnut and maple from the scrap area.

Finally my cousin got back.

He printed out the pusher, and it fit right on. I mean, I had to knock off a little bit of excess plastic, but once I did that, it was perfect.

I set up the my dust collection system (aka my vacmaster), attached the table saw to my coffee table workbench, made sure all moving parts were clear of obstruction, and then I plugged everything in. I was ready to make my first cuts.

More next week.